How To Mess Up Your First Days On The Job - InformationWeek

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7/13/2015
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Kelly Sheridan
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How To Mess Up Your First Days On The Job

Got a new gig? Congratulations. Make sure you start off on the right foot by avoiding these rookie slip-ups during your first few weeks at a new job.
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(Image: Alphaspirit/iStockPhoto)

(Image: Alphaspirit/iStockPhoto)

You nailed the interview and got the job -- congrats! Now it's time to make a strong, positive first impression on your new managers and colleagues.

Nervous? Of course you are. If you're embarking on a new IT role, you have already undergone a painfully lengthy interview process and are likely hoping the effort pays off.

In the days before you start a new job, you're already thinking about the type of work you'll be doing and how you can best impress your boss and co-workers with a strong work ethic and fresh, innovative ideas.

[ What's the talent shortage all about? Read: IT Skills Gap: A Failure to Communicate. ]

That's a good attitude to have, but it's not always the right one. Leaving your comfort zone for another gig is exciting, but it also involves a different culture, different friends, and a different boss to impress. You want to do a good job, but you also want to be a good employee.

From the moment you walk into your new office, you're under a microscope. Your new managers and co-workers will be trying to get a sense of your personality, your approach to collaboration, and whether you fit into the office culture.

As the new worker in the office, the most important thing you can do on day one is meet with your supervisor and get a better understanding of how to get off to a good start, explained John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology, in an interview. What are their expectations? Where are your boundaries?

How you act during your first day -- and in the ensuing weeks -- can have a tremendous impact on your future at a new company. Here, we take a deeper dive into the common mistakes new employees make when starting a job.

What are some slip-ups you've noticed among new employees in your place of work? Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below -- we'd love to hear them.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2015 | 12:48:53 PM
Re: Being Ill
@Whoopty yes, I could not agree more...
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2015 | 10:55:20 AM
Re: Being Ill
Exactly. Although if you've been at a job for a while I'd rather people didn't come in if ill, on that first week I think it shows dedication and can prove that you really are ill. People are likely to just think you're not a hard worker if you take time off that early in a new gig. 
batye
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50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 1:25:59 PM
Re: Great First Couple of Weeks Advice: For New and Old
@Brian.Dean like everything else in life coin do have two sides...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 1:25:11 PM
Re: too early
@kstaron, some people are old school... but this days you rarely see them...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 1:23:46 PM
Re: Being Ill
@Whoopty, agree as learning curve do take time...
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2015 | 1:51:30 PM
too early
I like many of the suggestion for new employees, but If I were told to start at 8am, why would I want to get there an hour early. At that point the building might not even be open. A solid fifteen minutes early should do the trick. If you already see a lot of cars in the parking lot from the coworkers on your team, then you can go in earlier if you want the next day. But spending an hour outside nursing your coffee the first day seems less than an ideal way to start a new position.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2015 | 12:43:52 AM
Re: Great First Couple of Weeks Advice: For New and Old
Every organization is unique, its culture, business model, market position, and its hopes and fears, etc. The first few weeks can be a great time to learn about an organization. However, the learning process does not end in the first few weeks as there will always be lots of new things to learn about in an organization even after 10 years.

The key is to remember the major events, the good and the bad. Because, one day it will help an experienced team player to make a new hire feel at home and grow the team.
BertrandW414
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BertrandW414,
User Rank: Strategist
7/14/2015 | 11:50:47 AM
Re: How To Mess Up Your First Days On The Job
Xerox203, I like how you think!
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
7/13/2015 | 4:10:20 PM
First Impressions are everything

It is great advice for seasoned professional's job switching or new employees to the work force. The first couple of weeks on the job can provide the basis for your career at the organization. It's important to make the impression that will carry your career not hinder it.

zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2015 | 3:28:29 PM
Re: How To Mess Up Your First Days On The Job
This list is pretty general, but I like the way that Mr. Reed phrases his thoughts - it's not that you had no idea these things impacted your first few weeks on the job at all, it's that you might have underestimated the extent to which they did. First impressions can be hard to break, so taking the extra time to be conscientious of these things is time well invested. Likewise, it's not that you have to match your colleagues' attire or work schedules exactly, just that you have to find a healthy medium between how you're used to working, and how you're expected to work here. A friend of mine has a new intern that just started under him recently, and he 'reprimanded' him (jokingly) for wearing a tie to work - but the kid still did the right thing by erring on the side of caution.

I like the question-asking approach to things, even outside work. When you ask someone a question instead of making an assertion, you're deferring to their expertise, you're learning about them and how they think, while making them consider something they hadn't, and likely learning something yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with other tips here; when you find out your new workplace uses that tool you hate with the bad UI, ask your coworker 'what do you think of this UI?' instead of saying 'The UI on this stinks!' - that way, you can find out if they hate it too, without coming off too strong. If you don't like a policy, ask about it's origins earnestly instead of acting skeptical. If you have an idea a la slide 4, present it as 'have you guys ever thought about...?'.  I like this approach because it shows people you value their opinions, while being more productive and instructive at the same time.
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