7 rules for when you’re new on the job

05/23/2014 12:20 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

It doesn’t matter if this is your first job out of school or if it’s another job change in a long career. When you’re new on the job, here are seven guidelines for success:

Understand the job you were hired to do. Are you clear about the duties, expectations, equipment and managerial channels? If not, ask. Don’t stumble around out of ignorance.

Approach your work with a positive attitude. Presumably, you wanted the job. Show it. A smile, a “yes,” or an “I’ll try” will go a long way toward building a good reputation for you, even if you feel overwhelmed at first.

Watch carefully to learn who the real leaders are. Whom does the boss talk to? How are decisions made? How does your job fit in the hierarchy? Figure out the workplace dynamics, the corporate culture.

Listen to gossip, but don’t dish. Yet, anyway. Don’t attach yourself to a single co-worker or lunchroom clique. Be friendly to all. Talk in terms of “we,” meaning the organization or work group. Don’t pipe up about how you did past jobs. You can suggest better ways after you’ve shown you’re worth listening to.

Work to build good communication with your immediate supervisor. Just because people are promoted doesn’t mean they have the skills needed to be good managers. You may need to ask “How am I doing?” to avoid negative surprises later.

Do what’s asked of you as well as you possibly can. Do it in the expected time. Offer to do more if you’re bored or if you’ve finished your assigned tasks. You deserve to be paid for the work you do, not just because you were hired.

And the rock-bottom-basic tip: Show up. On time. As scheduled.

Does all this sound stupid? It is if you know it all and do it all already.

But you wouldn’t believe how many workers fail at work because they don’t know it or don’t do it.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and twitter.com/kcstarstafford.

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