Don’t Ever Do These 6 Things Once You Get A New Job
For many people, changing jobs is like a change of clothing. It’s just another simple decision to make as they navigate through the challenges of life. No emotional attachment, and certainly no self-sympathy.
For many others, being selected among hundreds of applicants can be a real adrenaline rush.
Can you imagine?
Among the hundreds or thousands of job seekers who sent in a resume, the junk is filtered out leaving on the most seemingly able applicants. Then from the many candidates invited for tough interviews, you carried yourself impressively to be granted a second interview. Next, you survived the onslaught of post interview mistakes. Then from all the most capable and qualified candidates, you were selected between the hiring managers to be the best fit to the requirements.
Against so many odds, you have emerged victorious. It’s not often that we get an opportunity to celebrate something that can be considered a victory. So why not start walking with that fancy swagger and look everyone else in the eye declaring your win?
But just like anybody who has a bad habit of dousing fires in the belly, I’m going to say that getting the job is just the start of a potentially difficult journey. In fact, it could also be the easiest part.
The more difficult challenge is to not lose it just as you got it. Because now, instead of being the top dog among the candidates, you have become the marginalized newbie in the office. That’s a pretty vulnerable position to be in.
Often times, to survive in a workplace, whether with an aggressive culture or not, is to avoid doing things wrong instead of doing things right. Here are some big rookie mistakes to avoid in a new employment.
1) Don’t forget the contacts which got you there
In many job placements, there really is no level playing field. Sometimes, outstanding candidates willing to work for a daily sandwich will not even get a whiff of a chance when they are going up against a friend of a current staff.
There are intangible powers at work here.
It could be that the company prefers to hire someone who is already on friendly terms with current employees so as to retain the clique culture. But HR still needs to put on a show that they have conducted standard hiring protocols before confirming a hire.
It could also be that internal reward systems give existing staff a generous referral fee for every successful placement they refer. So there might be some influences behind the scenes that got you the job.
No matter how clever you were in getting that job, it does not mean that you don’t deserve it. Just do not forget about the extra effort a friendly insider put in to nudge the vacancy your way. A failure to acknowledge such favors is a gross way to show appreciation.
Remember that if someone has enough influence to get you a job, he probably has enough power to make life hell for you as well.
Show a little appreciation. Giving a friend the opportunity to help you could be gratifying itself in their view. You don’t have to buy them a new LED TV set or take them on a vacation in gratitude. But brushing off how much or how little they actually helped you can arouse anger, frustration, or even a feeling of betrayal.
2) Don’t force your will on your new colleagues
Even if you have been hired as a senior manager with headcounts under your tree, getting people to gravitate towards you new ways of work and communication takes time. Remember that you are still new, and you need all the help you can get before getting into the vibe of the new workplace. Stamping your authority all over the place can cause a revolt behind the curtains.
This applies even more so when you are not a superior of others. You could be right that your cheerful nature could be a great addition to the team. But it is better to slowly build your character rather than immerse into it as soon as day 1.
Take a little time to lay low. Recognize who are the influencers in the group and who are the followers. Who likes to tell on others and who are the introverts.
Once you get a feel of the social dynamics within the office, you will get a better idea on how to go around being yourself without pushing the hot buttons of others.
3) Don’t be just an employee
The best way to stand out as a freshie at work is to stop thinking and acting like just an employee. Yes, you need to pay yourself first. But that does not mean to pay yourself only.
For example, whether you know it or not, there will always be someone in the office that balances up the operating cash flow. They track all the money going in and out of the accounts for all kinds of expenses including topping up the pantry with brightly colored snacks, budgeting groceries, requesting indents for stationary, keeping a budget for couriers, etc.
This person could be your direct supervisor, you manager, the office manager, the administrator, or any other executive. Helping them balance the budget by not being wasteful can leave a deep impression.
And as the staff who manages these financial issues are often those that are more established, you never know when they will be able to put in a good word for you when you need it most. Have I mentioned that they loathe those who are wasteful with color printers?
There are many other ways to stop behaving like just an employee. Consider decorating your workstation with personal items, going for nights out with colleagues after office hours, organizing team events for your group, etc.
4) Don’t be late
I personally find it hard to accept when friends humble brag about how they can arrive to work 2 hours late and get away with it 3 times a week. If the terms of employment states clearly that working hours are is 9am to 6pm, how does any staff find that it is alright to come in at 11am? Does that mean that it is acceptable for payroll to give itself a 20% discount on payday?
But that’s just me. I know there’s nothing I can do and I don’t lose sleep over the bad habits of others.
Punctuality however, is absolutely necessary when you are a new employee. There is no worst impression than to be late on any day within the first 2 weeks of employment.
A hirer often thinks “Who have I actually hired?” when they encounter lateness of new staff. You don’t want to give them the opportunity of feeling regret so soon after hiring you.
5) Don’t expect to be spoon-fed
A staff probably had to go through hell and back to learn everything he knows about the office. So don’t expect others to present everything about the work systems and protocols on a plate for you.
It’s not written in stone. But you are expected to learn the ropes like everyone else and go through the crap they had to go through to acquire that knowledge.
Some might be very helpful and offer information and help willingly. But you still need to ASK for them before receiving.
The most annoying part of being around a new colleague is when you have to watch over him all the time, giving away all your wisdom acquired over the years for free. So don’t become the clueless rookie which veterans keep an eye out to avoid.
6) Don’t do the work of others
Old-timers and alpha males in the office love to get in the face of newbies. It is the perfect opportunity to pass on work to the new guy as it is the time when they are most eager to please. It’s the perfect setup for office bullies to thrive.
Learn to recognize what is within your job scope and what is not. If ever in doubt, go clarify with your direct reporting supervisor. Unless your boss is in cahoots with the bullies, he will most likely tell you to decline these weird requests with tact.
Secretaries for example, are well known to not just know everything that is going on in the office, they also very likely are tasked to do everything as well at one time or another. It could be a practice to buy lunch takeaways for managers when there are afternoon meetings. This irritable task will undoubtedly be passed on to the new secretary. You will be in for the long term if you accept gracefully.
There are many more examples of these situations. The office is not a place to become the charitable person.