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Congratulations! After what seemed like an endless job search, promising phone interviews that went nowhere, and meeting with what seemed like every person in the company, you got the job! It’s easy to assume that the worst is over. After all, you jumped through the hoops and convinced everyone that you were the best candidate. What more can they ask for? A lot, actually. Your first few weeks in a new company are crucial. This isn’t referring to the technical skills of your job, by the way. It should go without saying that you need to excel at that part. How you behave in your new work environment, however, is just as important (if not more so) than your actual skill level when it comes to your new position. So when you’re starting your dream job, be sure to avoid making these deadly, career-killing sins.
Arrogance: Companies often set new employees up for this by treating new hires as though they’re saving the world. Don’t let this go to your head, as it will only work against you in the future. Rather than barging in blindly and insisting that everyone do everything your way, step back. Listen to people. Pay attention to the way they’re doing things and why. Once you take the time to understand the company and its structures, you can make an informed, educated decision that will hopefully impress people rather than cause panic (and dislike).
Ignoring the Culture: It’s true. Acclimating to a new corporate environment can be challenging. It’s like learning a new set of social skills, in fact. How much should you socialize? How does everyone communicate? Phone calls? Emails? Text messages? Instant messages? Face to face? The list of possibilities is endless. Should you dress up everyday or is “casual Friday” not only acceptable but also mandatory? Many aspects of a company’s culture can be easy to overlook, as oftentimes, it’s unspoken. The solution to this comes down to simple observation. If necessary, arrive early and stay late so you can see both sides of the coin. How do people get their coffee? Do they stay in the break room and chat? Where are the popular places for lunch? You’ll need to understand these crucial details in order to fit in.
Hiding: Yes, you have work to do and probably feel overwhelmed because everything is new. However, this can make you seem timid and unsure, which is just as bad as arrogance. Instead of burying yourself in your work (and ignoring others), take some time to interact and network with your colleagues. It only takes a few minutes to have a brief conversation with someone. Not only will it help you learn the company’s culture, it might actually make your job easier in the long run. Not Asking for Feedback: It’s not necessary to wait a year (or even six months) to ask how you’re doing. In fact, waiting that long can actually make things more difficult in the long run. It’s always smart to ask your immediate supervisor to sit down with you after about a month. This will give you the opportunity to hear how you’re doing and to voice any concerns or questions.
Refusing to Admit Errors: Everyone makes mistakes, and new hires are certainly no different. Don’t make the bigger mistake, however, of thinking that if you don’t admit it, no one will notice. Take ownership. Not only will people respect, you’ll learn how to do it correctly. Rocking the Boat: When you’re starting a new position, making a big change without getting any opinions is a huge mistake. You still don’t understand the company’s inner workings, and your decisions can have negative impacts. Before you make any major changes, make sure you completely understand the processes in place so you can make an informed case for why your proposal will be better.
Unclear Expectations: Oftentimes, expectations can be a little murky in the beginning, and it’s difficult to succeed when you don’t know what’s expected. Thus, it’s imperative to meet with your supervisor and discuss your new responsibilities. Make sure you understand the priorities and how your performance will be measured in the future.
Bottom Line: Finding a new job isn’t easy, and starting one definitely isn’t any easier. However, if you take a step back, you can get in front of these mistakes and turn it into success. You definitely want to make a lasting impression at your new company, but it needs to be for the right reasons.