The proverb “first impressions are lasting” is for work situations as well as social occasions. The image that a new employee portrays in the critical first weeks and months at work is often remembered long after the person leaves that position. These five tips will help Boomers starting the new year in a different company or new department make a positive first impression.
Unreliable transportation, con-tinuous personal telephone calls and absences can wreak havoc on employee’s first impression. While employers understand that emer-gencies arise, new employees have to create contingency plans to keep interruptions to a minimum. Vacations and days off for personal mat-ters should be discussed after the job offer is extended and before the first day. Many physician offices offer early morning and late ap-pointments to accommodate working professionals.
Being offered a new career op-portunity is generally a time of celebration. It is often followed by “new job jitters” about working for a new manager with new expecta-tions and all the other changes that come from transitioning into a new work environment. Resist the temptation to compare processes to a former job and complain. Those who change positions due to down-sizing may come to a new position with strong emotions about their last employer and it is important to work through those issues and not bring them to a new employer.
ADAPT TO THE CORPORATE CULTURE
Attend orientation sessions if they are offered for new employees even in a senior position. It is an op-portunity to meet others joining the company at the same time and learn about the corporate culture from whomever is leading new employee orientation. Try to learn your co-workers’ names quickly. Maintain professionalism even if the work environment is casual. When there are questions about the norms and expectations ask the hiring manager, a men-tor/coach or human resources. Avoid office politics and gossip as a new hire by not seek-ing out personal information about co-workers or ovesharing personal information. The goal is to do more listening than talking.
Thank employees that help new hires get oriented to the company and learn the tasks of the job. Whether help comes from human resources, the administrative staff or co-workers, make sure their assistance is acknowledged. It can be as simple as sending an e-mail that copies their manager, telling the person personally or utilizing company peer recognition or award programs.
New employees should ask ques-tions, take notes, listen and not act like a know-it-all. Asking for direc-tions is not a sign of weakness or failure. In some cases, it prevents major disasters. Employees from individual contributors to manag-ers should set high goals for them-selves and work hard to accomplish them. It is also important for new employees to read current indus-try literature and join professional organizations (even at their own expense) for networking purposes as well as performing well in their roles.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t track lifetime career changes. No one definitively knows the true average number of careers Americans have before they retire.