You made it! After a long, stressful, and even nerve-wracking series of steps, you aced the application and landed on your first job. Congratulations!
You are definitely excited to start this new chapter. But you also can’t wait to finish the first few weeks at your first work. Your nerves are telling you that there are some undersides to being a newbie in the workplace. What should you expect? How should your relationship with your boss and workmates be? Will you fit in? Will you be happy?
Before overthinking and overplaying possible scenarios in your head get the best of you, keep your composure and take note of the most common mistakes people do on their first job as to, of course, avoid them!
1. Having too much confidence
“Too much” confidence manifests itself in being a show-off, a know-it-all, and/or simply an insensitive and inconsiderate person. Surely, you would want to establish a strong identity and show what you’ve got to your boss and to your workmates. But proving yourself this early may cause you some heads turning with a frown. The next thing you know, you’ve been known around as the newbie with a false sense of entitlement.
Learn to observe and have a feel of the dynamics of the people in the room. Only then you may introduce your own groove that won’t cause any disruption to anybody’s tempo. Remember that there is already a rhythm your coworkers are moving to even before you came around. Make sure that you are flexible enough to adapt to a pre-coordinated routine, and eventually, contribute to it.
2. Being too passive
On the other side of the spectrum, you may be too shy and timid to even say hi to anyone. You would feel that all you want to do is to finish the work you applied for. Nothing more. Nothing less. The plan to keep to yourself would be the same reason why you would just wait for your authorities to talk to you and give you instructions. This will not only make you a precious pearl keeping to your shell, but one who do not seem to know how to get out of it in the first place.
Be open to engage with new people and to learn new things from them. Even those that you think you already know. Being receptive to new ideas and having the initiative to contribute to conversations show that you can be a team player. Let this be an opportunity to improve your knowledge of your own craft.
3. Not speaking up for yourself
A corollary of being passive is not having the guts to stand up for yourself against any mistreatment such as an overloaded workload or a nagging workmate. You are expected to be nice and friendly, but not at the expense of delivering quality work and more importantly, of your peace of mind. Know what your boundaries are and be able to set them in a very reasonable way. Remember that you can only give as much as what you are able to take.
4. Overlooking grunt work
As a newbie, you may be assigned tasks that may seem to be just part of “paying your dues”. Do not be discouraged or worse, infuriated. Remember that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. No matter how little a task is, it contributes to the success of the scheme of things. Of course, get out of the way and ask how your contribution would help. It is not so wrong to ask for information that will direct the focus in your task.
5. Covering a mistake
Trust, just like in any relationship, is the primary thing you’re building at your new workplace. Be able to trust the people around you by not hesitating to ask questions and for clarifications and instructions. This is the way to avoid committing mistakes along the way. When you admit to not know certain things and ask about them, you show that you care enough to get your work right.
But as nobody’s perfect, do not close the possibility of ever dropping the ball at your work. When this happens, believe that you can own up the consequences of your actions. After all, what earns a person of being trustworthy are his strong sense of integrity and accountability. Keep your good intentions, as this will always show in your work.
You will enter this job as your own self, but you will not leave the workplace as the same as you are today. It is in your hands to change into something better or into the best version of yourself. Good luck, and trust that you will not mess up!