We’ve discussed how to handle your first day on a new job, and even the time leading up to your first day, several times here on our blog. However, there are also some things NOT to do when you’re fresh into the office and haven’t learned the ropes yet. Mistakes made in the first several weeks can affect not only your relationship with your boss, but your career as a whole, since poor marks can make it difficult for you to move up into higher positions later on down the road.
So, what should you avoid during those crucial first few weeks?
- Too much time off. Taking vacation time, or even sick days, can look irresponsible to a new boss. While many positions come with a certain amount of paid vacation time, and slotted sick leave, there is still a trial period during which you should avoid using these benefits. Unless you have discussed needed vacation leave with your new boss before taking the position (i.e., you already had a big trip, wedding and honeymoon, etc. on the calendar before being offered the job), try to give it at least 6-8 weeks before asking to use your vacation time. Sick leave is a little more understandable, but it’s best to limit this as well. If you are sick enough that others in the office will notice (sneezing, coughing excessively, etc.), or if you are contagious, definitely call your boss and let them know you’ll be using a sick day. However, if you think you can tough it out, it’s best to try. If you do have to take a day, let your boss know that you regret it falling during your first few weeks in the position, and ask if there’s any way you can do some work from home, or any way to alleviate the impact of your absence that day. This shows you aren’t just “copping out” of work, but are truly sorry that you are having to miss.
- Bad-Mouthing Your Boss with Co-Workers. We’ve all done it. Sometimes there will be friction with those who are above you at work, and after a while, it can boil over. You’ll likely hear complaints or comments from coworkers about your new boss at some point, but it’s best to keep your own comments to yourself unless you want to start your new job off on the wrong foot. When you’re new on the job, you’re still learning the “hierarchy” of the office and other staff members, and you could end up thrown under the bus if you start bad-mouthing those in command along with your peers.
- Learn the “Culture” of Your Office. Each office has it’s own “culture” of sorts. How long lunches last, where people go for lunch, who makes the coffee (or who shouldn’t make the coffee), who parks in which spot, etc. It can be really easy to offend someone without even realizing it during your first few weeks on the job, so sit back and let yourself learn the ebb and flow of your new coworkers and office. You don’t want to head out for an hour-long lunch, only to come back and find your boss upset because you are only supposed to take a 30-minute lunch at your desk. Our advice? Always opt to be conservative (like staying in the office and bringing your lunch so you’re close by if needed), and when in doubt, ask someone to give you guidance about how certain situations are handled within your specific work environment.
We hope these tips will help you feel confident about what NOT to do when you’re heading into a new job. If you are currently on the hunt for a new job, we can tell you what you SHOULD do. Give us a all! PHR Staffing Solutions provides employees for businesses throughout Polk County, and we can find a position for you.