Graduation time is around and a lot of my young friends are preparing for their placements and their first foray into the big corporate world! Most of my students wrote to me last week sending their queries on various things like resume, interviews etc. on number of points to make sure that they secure their dream job offer. However some of them surprised me by asking me if I had any advices for their first day at work! And so here I am, with important pointers for your first day at work on your first job. (I wish I had known all of these when I went for mine.)
1. First Impression
So you have nailed the interview and secured the job! Excellent! Of course you did great and that is the reason you were hired. Your employers are going to remember that forever! Right? No, wrong! It is not necessary that you will be directly working with the people who interviewed you. So, you do have to start afresh on your first day - meeting seniors, colleagues and subordinates. Remember to leave a great first impression as it will make the going forward easier. (Read my article on SPARK FORMULA for winning first impressions)
2. Know the 'unsaid' & 'unwritten' rules
It is important to familiarize yourself with the working culture of your company. The dress code, the lunch sessions, the code of conduct etc. The sooner you know this, the easier it will be for you to settle down and feel a part of the team. There are bigger things to learn and move ahead with, so make sure you get the basics right.
3. Colleagues, not friends!
Always, always remember that you are at work for your work and not to form great friendships. Your colleagues are your colleagues and not your pals, at least in the beginning. Now, here is the point. I am not asking you to be anti-social. But, being friendly is not same as being friends. We need to realize that there is a fine line between the two. You can't share your personal problems. gossips, or embarrassing moments with your colleagues. There is a certain amount of distance and decorum to be maintained at work. And this takes us to our next point.
4. What not to talk with your colleagues
There are certain things which are best left secrets at work place. The top contenders for this list would be your salary information, your personal ailments, your love life, complaints at work, issues with other colleagues or seniors and most importantly, gossip about any one! Talking about any of these would be a perfect way to destroy your professional image.
5. Write it down!
If ever there is a situation where you are supposed to take an important call at work or carry out a critical task, make sure to confirm it with your seniors in writing. This will be extremely useful for future communication regarding that matter.
6. Find a mentor
Find someone who is more experienced than you are, someone you can trust and someone you are comfortable talking to. Having a mentor will help you take a second opinion on important things and give you another perspective to matters.
Networking at work place is a very important and misunderstood phenomenon. Having a good personal network is as essential as being good at your work. Knowing your colleagues and seniors and having cordial relationships with them will always be helpful going forward.
8. Emotional Quotient
This is a very important point to be remembered by everyone new to workplace dynamics. It is very essential to control your emotions at work. Okay, so you had a bad day and things did not work out the way you wanted to. But you can not vent it out on your co-workers or fly off the handle. It is not at all okay to shout, swear or cry at work. Take a few moments away from the situation to calm yourself down.
9. Stay away from personal emails, phone calls, tasks and networking sites
With a lot of popular personal networking sites on the block with thousands of contacts to manage and socialize with, it can be tempting to keep checking your emails, messages and posts from time to time. However, try to refrain from letting the world know what you are doing or vice-versa during work hours. It will take a lot of your time off work, only increasing the load and decreasing the quality.
10. Art of saying 'No'
It is difficult to emphasize enough, the importance of this point. Saying no when required will not only help you manage your time better, but also help you maintain your work ethics. There will definitely be situations where you will need to be a little diplomatic and refuse the request you are presented with. There can be a number of ways to do this, but be sure to be polite and courteous all the while.
11. Learn as much as you can
Be enthusiastic at your new job and try and learn as much as you can. Ask questions to your seniors and colleagues who have been around for a while. Pick up new skills. Take advantage of any training or workshop which is conducted at work place. It will definitely help you in the long run. It is not sufficient to do, only what you are supposed to do. Learning and knowing more will help you take initiatives which will be key in determining your success in that role.
12. All work and no play
A big mistake which a lot of young professionals commit, is that they forget that work is one part of their life, it is not their life. Often they end up spending most or a lot of their time at office or working from home, which leaves very little time for their personal life. Remember that it is good to be diligent, but not good to be workaholic. Take time to read your favourite book or catch up with friends. You have just began your professional career, you do not want to drain out soon!