Starting out on the right foot at a new job can be just as tricky as getting one in the door in the first place. Mary Mitchell, corporate trainer and author of Class Acts: How Good Manners Create Good Relationships and Good Relationships Create Good Business, offers her guidelines for laying a strong foundation in those first weeks:
- It's natural to feel out of place in the beginning, but resist the temptation to engage in office gossip or to get pulled into a clique right away.
- Accept that there's always a learning curve, and own up to what you don't know. "If everyone's using an acronym you don't understand, speak up," Mitchell says. "You actually show an enormous amount of self-confidence when you say, 'I've never heard that term before. Can you explain it to me?'"
- Avoid the chorus of "at my old job, we did it this way." It will only annoy your new colleagues. Instead try saying, "I've seen this approached differently, and here's how."
- It sounds elementary but bears repeating: Thank people when they help you. Don't assume that just because you're the new person, someone is obliged to show you how to use your voicemail or fix the copier.
- Be upbeat, and don't bore people with your personal life. "Your new coworkers don't need to know about your headache or latest dental problem," Mitchell says. "And while you can certainly talk about your husband or kids early on, don't show up with your wedding album or baby pictures."