Five Things to Do Your First Week on a New Job

Congratulations! Your resume got you the interview, and your interview got you the job. Now all you have to do is keep the job.  Tenure and retention rates have looked pretty good since 2014. So with that positive boost of confidence, start your first week off with five tips from two career-advice pros: Bucky Keady, Vice President of Talent Management at Time Inc. in New York, NY; and Meredith Bach, the new VP of Marketing and Sales at LSW Chauffeured Transportation in White Plains, NY.

1. Work out your commute

“One of the key things I look at when beginning a new job is the commute,” says Bach.  She says she makes sure she knows how long it twill take her to get there on-time or early, and she figures it all out before her first week of employment. Take test drives or train rides, if you have to. Just eliminate the guesswork, and don’t rely on the information you get from the Internet. “You don’t want to show up late your first week,” Bach advises.

2. Get familiar with faces and job roles

Keady suggests you ask your hiring manager for org charts with names and faces. “This will help you feel more comfortable with how your department is structured,” says Keady. “Then try to meet each person and ask them what they do, and how they view your position, especially if it is a newly created role.” While you’re on what Keady calls “your listening tour,” reaffirm with your new colleagues what the business’ perceived competition is, and what the short and long-term goals are.

3. Source your break time needs

“As I get settled in the first week, I’ll ask my co-workers what they do for lunch,” Bach shares. “Where are the good spots for a sandwich or soup? Is there something close or in the building they recommend? Where to go for the best deal?” She adds, “If coffee is provided at work, I don’t worry about that, but I do like to know if there is an office supply store, pharmacy and a gas station nearby.  When commuting by car, why not get errands done on the way home?”

4. Don’t go into personal deep dive


Keady suggests that you be your friendly, charming self the first week or so, but don’t be too revealing.  Even though we live in an age where a good Google search can tell us a lot about a person, Keady cautions, “You have to develop a relationship of trust with these people and don’t want to reveal everything about your friends and family life. Hopefully, you will find some new friends for life in this new position, but that takes time to build trust.” Keady says go out for drinks if invited, just have one cocktail and drink seltzer the rest of the night. Hang back and observe your colleagues interact, don’t worry about being the life of the party. A first-week hangover is a major no-no.

5. Carefully purge any clutter you’ve inherited

Bach says, at any new job, you need to figure out how to navigate the organization, who is going to help you find the information you need, and how to cut through the old information (paper files, computer files and emails) and keep what is valuable. “I start by asking colleagues to send me emails that they were copied on that might be valuable information to me. I’ll organize those in folders in my Outlook or e-mail.  I create new folders on my desktop for things I am working on and a more general folder on a shared drive for finalized documents or presentations.  I wait to see what patterns develop before I get rid of any past information.”  After about three months, Bach states, it usually becomes very clear what you need and what’s history!

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