Can I really do this job?
Will my co-workers respect me?
Will my boss be patient and welcoming – or a taskmaster?
How well will I fit in?
When you’re the new guy, it’s natural to wonder about how successful you’ll be. You obviously want to do a great job, but performing your responsibilities well and being professional aren’t enough to guarantee success. To thrive, you need to prevent problems that could potentially derail your progress.
Whether you’re starting an assignment or a new full-time job, avoid these common “new guy” mistakes, and make a great impression during your first few days:
Under- or over-dressing.
Regardless of your personal opinion, your clothes influence the way your boss and co-workers perceive you. Send nonverbal messages that say, “I belong here,” and “I can do this job,” by dressing appropriately for your job (or just a notch above).
Volunteering to take on a little extra work? Good idea. Snatching a choice project out from under another deserving team member? Maybe not such a good idea.
While it’s important to demonstrate your capabilities and enthusiasm when you’re new, be careful not to step on anyone’s toes or act like a suck-up. Your teammates and boss will see right through you. Find appropriate ways to assert yourself, without pushing too hard. Ultimately, you want management to view you as an important asset and co-workers to view you as a positive contributor.
Leaping before you look.
During your first few days, study the corporate culture carefully. You can learn a lot about how the company operates, team dynamics and how you can best fit in. Pay attention to how people interact, get their work done, dress and maintain their work spaces. Get a feel for the natural flow of work throughout the day. Find out who the real decision-makers and most successful employees are – and then take your behavioral cues from them.
Every work environment has its politics, but when you’re the new guy, it’s important to stay out of them (especially if you’re a temporary employee). Your best bet? Establish yourself as a positive person who avoids gossip and subversive behavior. Focus on the job you’re assigned to do, and avoid taking sides on controversial workplace issues.
A great attitude, open mind, solid work ethic and a little common sense will go a long way in ensuring your success as the new guy. These tips will pave your way to being welcomed, respected and productive in your new opportunity.