The Best Advice You Need When Starting a New Job

So, you finally got the job you wanted. Congratulations! Now you’re faced with a new set of challenges as you make the transition to a new job, a new environment, new co-workers. It can all be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to make sure you hit the ground running and set the stage for success.

1. Be ready the night before. Prep for anything that may stress you out your first morning. Drive the route to work ahead of time to make sure you know how long it will take and where to park. Lay out your clothes, all the way down to your shoes, and make sure there are no surprise stains or tears. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and assured and that fits the culture of your new workplace. Pack your bag and make sure you have everything you need.

2. Be punctual. From the very first day, establish yourself as someone who’s always on time. Better yet, be early–and, at least the first couple of weeks, stay late. There’s much more to the job than putting in time, but being seen as someone who values time and is willing to work hard is a good first impression.

3. Be friendly. From the first day–the first minute–be nice to everyone. Even if you’re naturally shy, come out of your shell and introduce yourself to people. Ask lots of questions; be friendly and interested but don’t participate in gossip or negativity. Be inclusive–get to know the work group down the hall, the clerical staff, the cleaning people. Take notes to help you remember people’s names if you need to.

4. Get schooled. If your company offers an orientation or training program, try to pay attention–or at least look attentive. It may not be the most interesting content, but try to get us much as you can from the experience.

5. Meet the bureaucracy. On your first day, it’s likely that no one will have expectations of you getting much actual work done. You’ll spend most if not all your time getting an ID card and parking permit, setting up credentials for internet access, and filling out a mountain of forms.

6. Don’t expect a lot of attention. On your first day, don’t fret if you feel like a new kid at school who doesn’t know anybody on the playground. Even with the friendliest of people, it will take some time before you feel like part of the group.

7. Learn the logistics. Another big task the first few days is figuring out the lay of the land. You’ll need to find the restroom and break room, find out how to get office supplies, and discover which doors go where.

8. Keep your eyes open. You want to be observant the first few days and even weeks to learn the culture. What are the unwritten rules? Is the atmosphere serious or light? How do people dress? How are meetings conducted, and how do people communicate? Is it common practice to take work home? What do most people do at lunch? How do people treat each other?

9. Seek out the risers. Be friendly with everybody, but if you can ally yourself with some of the people who are on their way up in the organization–not those who are already there, but the ones with great potential who are starting to achieve–you will be most likely to join their ranks.

10. Get comfortable with your boss. Keep working to make a good impression, but make the transition from the formality of interviewing and hiring to a day-to-day relationship. Get a feel for their management style and ask questions when you need to.

11. Read up. If there’s not a lot to do while your workload is ramping up, spend time reading everything useful you can get your hands on: old documents, marketing and business plans, competitive analysis, the organization’s full website. Learn the names of senior staff and board members.

12. Bring your best. Expectations are probably going to be low as you get up to speed, but do your best and fastest work when a task does come your way. Ask for feedback and take criticism well, making any changes you need immediately.

13. Don’t run out of things to do. If you’ve read every background document you can find and your workload is still low, offer to help out with other people’s projects. Even if that means running the copier or another task that seems menial, do it in good spirit. That’s how good working relationships are built.

14. Never say no to help. Never refuse offers of help. NEVER. Be grateful; have a learner’s heart and a beginner’s mind. In the same vein, never interrupt someone who’s giving you advice–even if it’s something you’ve known for years. Smile, nod and be gracious. You can always ignore it at your leisure, but don’t be rude.

15. Start building good habits. As you start to build new systems for processing information, responding to requests, keeping track of projects and time, work to also build the habits of upkeep that will make those systems work.

If you spend the first week showing people that you care enough to get to know them, learn their practices and processes, listen and work hard, you’re off to a great start. Then all you have to do is keep the momentum going.


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What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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