How to Be the Office Newbie

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Congratulations, you just landed a great new job!

But as you’re about to walk into the front door to your new office life, it hits you: You have no idea what to expect.

You may be nervous, or you may be one of a few brave souls who finds the thrill of being the newbie a bit of a rush. I think the majority of us fall in the former category, where fear is the predominate feeling we experience walking through that door for the first time..

Being the office newbie is a lot like being the new kid at school. Everyone already has their routine, their friends, and they know what they’re supposed to be doing. You? Well, you not so much. But think of it this way – everyone has been the newbie at least once and we’ve all overcame those first-day jitters. You're not alone, my friends.

So before you spend the day worrying and wishing for the clock to strike 5pm, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper newbie etiquette:

Tip #1:  Show Up Early

In my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career, I interviewed CEOs, entrepreneurs, and entertainers to learn their opinions on unmannerly behavior in the work place. Hands down, lateness was the thing everyone disliked the most. Being late – on day one or day 100 – shows that you are not committed to the company.  When you are habitually late, you are telling everyone around you, “Sorry, the line at Starbucks was out the door! You know how it is.” Maybe being 10-15 minutes late is no big deal to you, but that's 10-15 minutes of productivity lost to the company. It makes you seem unreliable and flippant.

For your first day at work, you should be early.  I'm not saying you have to camp out like teenagers waiting in line for the new Hunger Games premiere, but I highly recommend arriving before the time they asked you to. If everyone starts the day at 9am, arrive at 8:45. There is no excuse why you can't do this. If you get there too early, simply have some breakfast at a coffee shop close by, or just stay in your car and surf the web on your smartphone.  

To ensure that you can arrive on time, I recommend doing a test run of an actual workday prior to starting your job. Wake up and get ready as if you were going to work and leave at the time that you figure will be sufficient for getting there promptly. See how traffic goes, what the delays may be, and adjust your actual commuting time accordingly. This way, you don’t wake up in a panic on day one and blast curses at strangers because you got delayed by traffic or public transportation snafus. 

Once you get inside, the next step is to…