You walk through the revolving door of the lobby toward the elevator, soaking in your surroundings—there’s not a familiar face in the building. You straighten out your suit, press #12, and take a deep breath: Once those doors re-open, your first week of work will officially begin.
Whether it’s your first position or your fifth, those first few days on the job can be more than a little intimidating. But with these key rules, you can get comfortable in your new surroundings, get up to speed quickly, and get off on the right foot with your new boss and co-workers
Do: Be a Sponge
One of your most important duties your first week is absorbing everything. Getting to know your company’s culture, the working and communication styles of your teammates, the problem projects, office politics, and department or company-wide goals means that you’ll be able to start your real work sooner (and be more effective when you do).
So, go to the new hire orientation, sign up for professional development classes, and attend all the team and office meetings you can, even if you’re not yet sure what’s going on or they don’t 100% pertain to your work.
Also join in on the informal events. If you get asked to lunch, happy hour, or the office softball league (either as a participant or onlooker), say yes. It’s a great way to meet people, and it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team.
Don’t: Overcommit Yourself
Do be careful, though, to balance your schedule—you want to have plenty of time to learn the ropes from your desk. The last thing you want is to look like you have too much to juggle, seem overwhelmed, or show up late to a commitment because you’re stuck somewhere else.
Do: Ask Questions
As you learn about new processes, projects, and people, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to get up to speed, and people will expect it from the new person on the team. Also take down detailed notes about everything you learn, even if it seems simple. Your brain is going to be on overload this week, and writing everything down will make sure you don’t have to ask the same question twice.
Don’t: Be Afraid to Speak Up
At the same time, don’t be afraid to contribute and add value—you do want to reinforce that you’re the right person for the job! No, you won’t know everything (nor should you act like you do!), but you can make suggestions in team meetings or brainstorming sessions, or ask questions like, “Has this been tried before?” And if you have a skill or ability that you’ve been hired to bring to the team, pipe up and share that knowledge. But be careful to read your audience. You don’t want to come on like gangbusters or step on someone’s toes.
Do: Offer to Help
There may be some down time during your first few days on the job as your boss and team adjust to having you there. But don’t sit around waiting for others to figure out tasks for you—volunteer to help your new teammates on a project. You’ll show initiative, you’ll build rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you’ll learn about expectations, procedures, and how things are done.
Continue reading this article by Laura Katen on The Muse.