6 Things to Avoid Your First Week on the Job

You’re beginning a new job: Congratulations! Being a brand new employee can be an exciting time in which you get to learn the ropes and settle into the office culture. But with all your fresh tasks and responsibilities, it can be hard to remember there are a few things you should avoid doing your first week on the job. Read on for items to add to your “Don’t” list.

not to do

1. Don’t keep quiet

While it may seem daunting, especially to those who naturally prefer to keep to themselves, the first week on the job is the ideal time to show your coworkers who you are and what you can do. Take advantage of every opportunity to interact with those around you: Whether that’s going to lunch with coworkers or chatting over a cup of coffee in the break room. During work discussions, don’t just sit silently. Contribute where you can, and compliment others on their ideas. This will help make you visible without making it look like you’re a know-it-all.

2. Don’t be overconfident

Speaking of being a know-it-all—while you certainly want to begin contributing to your office as quickly as possible, this first week in particular should be spent towing the line between demonstrating confidence and being arrogant. Instead, balance that enthusiasm (which is great!) with a willingness to really get to know how the office functions, including procedures, norms, team dynamics, etc. Let those who have been there a while show you the ropes before jumping in to offer suggestions on how to change things.

3. Don’t rush to judgment

Just like the first episode of a TV show isn’t usually entirely indicative of the full season’s potential, the first week of a new job isn’t an entirely accurate picture of what life will be like in the company. That being said, refrain from judging the work culture or the work itself until you’ve settled in a bit more. Making rash decisions with only a few days’ worth of data isn’t helpful to anyone.

4. Don’t assume you should know everything

Remember that sinking feeling in your stomach when you were expected to know an answer in school but didn’t? Well, there’s no reason to get that feeling at your new job. This is the perfect time to ask for all the help, support, and advice you need to fulfill your job duties to the best of your ability. Most coworkers will be happy to assist you, and you’ll be getting to know them better in the process.

5. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries

While you want to put your best foot forward to show your boss why they hired you, don’t let that enthusiasm bulldoze over your work/life balance. Showing up early and staying late will not only lead to early burnout on your part, but it will set a precedent that everyone expects from you—meaning that if you later start showing up and leaving on time, it may appear as though you’re coming in late and leaving early—even if that’s not the case.

6. Don’t ignore team dynamics

Every office is different, and it’s vital that you spend the first week on the job figuring out how your immediate coworkers fit into their roles. How do your team members prefer to communicate? What are their work styles? How can you and your abilities fit into this well-oiled machine? Knowing your team’s expectations from the get-go can help make communication and collaboration that much easier in the future.

By now it’s probably pretty obvious there are certain things you should do—and should not do—to make your life easier and your transition into the workplace smoother. But just keep in mind that no one expects you to get everything exactly right during your first week on the job. Remember to be yourself while keeping your eyes and ears open. It may not feel like it at first, but you’ll settle into your own groove before you know it.

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