New job survival kit

Getting ready

It is a good idea to take some time off between jobs –if possible, maybe a week or two. It is a good time to separate from your previous workplace. At times, leaving colleagues behind can be very difficult. The number of hours spent at work far exceeds the number of hours spent anywhere else. The relationships, good and bad, are usually very strong ones. Sometimes it can be very cosy, and other times it can be like a big dysfunctional family. Taking time off can prepare you mentally for your new job, and meeting your new colleagues.

Get a thorough understanding of the company

Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the company as it will give you greater ease and confidence when you start. With this, that will also mean the dress code. Inquire from the agency if you are not 100% sure of the expectation. Know exactly what time you are supposed to start. Do not presume anything. Be fully prepared!

Have your papers ready

Make sure that you take your ID, bank account details, contact details, drivers license if filling out insurance forms, and anything else that you are aware of that the company will need from you. This gives a very good impression and shows diligence and proactively, and HR/your boss will sure appreciate your co-operation and forethought.

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Your internal dialogue…

Be positive and do not allow yourself to have any negative thoughts. Fear keeps you from being productive and causes unnecessary doubt. You are the person that the company has handpicked for the job. They believe in you and are looking forward to your starting.

Your attitude is very important!

Sure, everyone is nervous on their first day, but do not be overly intense and serious. Here is a perfect opportunity to get to know your colleagues and they will be very interested in getting to know you. Do not be a closed book. Do not be afraid to have a good conversation and ask questions about your colleagues to get to know them. Take a genuine interest and take note of everyone’s name. This will save you from potential future embarrassments having to ask again. See them as your friends. If you are approachable where people feel at ease with you, you are setting yourself up for a great future within the company.

Don’t be Mr Personality

Just as much as it is important not to be a closed book, too serious or intense, the same applies to someone who can conversely, overdo it. How? Start slowly when you’re developing relationships. Yes, you must see your colleagues as your friends, but you need to respect them, and you still need to prove yourself. Getting to know each other takes time. Be pleasant, and be polite. Do not dominate conversations or try to make a joke at every turn. This is unprofessional and shows a lack of focus. Do not try too hard. It really can be embarrassing to all. Do not spout off in meetings. It is very important to listen to others first and think before speaking.

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Be enthusiastic and proactive

Smile, show a keen interest and get stuck in wherever you can.  Be eager to help your colleagues if they need anything. Show your desire to improve whatever you’re working on. Let people know that you are there to help them if they need it. Enthusiasm is highly appreciated by your superiors and especially the person showing you the ropes. Don’t make their job hard. Co-operate and take note, paying attention to everything you are shown. They will appreciate your enthusiasm and it will be a foundation on which to build relationships within the company. Do not site around waiting to be told what to do. If you find yourself in this position, ask where you can help with anything.

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Ask questions

It is okay to ask questions. You’re new and it’s better to do something right the first time around than have to do it over. It is your golden opportunity to ask questions, but really take note so as to not ask again. People generally like to help others and it usually makes them feel good about themselves. Do not ask questions before thinking something through for yourself, but be confident to ask questions where you need to as this will only help you, and help the people around you to assist you to do your job better.  It is OK to hold on to what you have learnt at your previous job, but be open to new methods of doing things, new systems. Be open- minded. Be receptive and teachable. Never say “That’s not how we did it at my old company.” This will annoy your colleagues and they will probably be thinking: “Well, you’re not at your old company and if you liked it so much why didn’t you stay there.”

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Work ethics

  • Don’t complain about your boss, your office mate, any co-workers, or your previous job.
  • Do not get involved in juicy gossip sessions. It is always better to remain neutral, especially when you are new in your job and you do not know the social situation at work.
  • Continue to arrive early and don’t rush out the door at the end of the day.
  • Use your lunch hour to get to know others where possible as opposed to running off to former work colleagues
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Open communication

If you are having a good time and enjoying your job, let your boss know. It is helpful to give feedback.
Likewise, if you feel you are battling or not catching on, be honest about it as well – but do not be negative or complain in anyway. What you should do is explain that you would like to give your best and hope to really prove yourself. With this you can explain that you will need time to grasp everything (if you are in a position like that) and that you are going to continue doing your best to succeed. This is very good for your boss to know in case they do not see you battling, however they will respect your honesty and be conscious to take note of where you are at, and could possibly end up being even more helpful in the training process.

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