Starting Your New Job

The euphoria of starting your new job can sometimes be overcome by apprehension about what comes next. After all, you're "the new kid on the block," and there's much to learn--about your new job duties and much more. But here are some things you can do to make the process go smoother.

1. Dress appropriately. When you start your new job, you want to look professional. Consider wearing conservative clothes for the first week. When you have a good idea of what is appropriate for the position, you can adjust your clothing style.

2. Be punctual. You do not want to be starting your new job by being late, so make sure you allow plenty of time for your commute. Plan the most direct route, but be aware of alternates in case of an accident or other traffic snarls.

3. Be friendly. Be polite and get to know everyone you meet, whether it's the receptionist or the owner. Introduce yourself, smile and make eye contact. Make a positive first impression.

4. Ask questions. From "Does anyone else like coffee?" to "How do I find the bathroom?" It's fine to ask for help! Give your coworkers an opportunity to feel good about helping you. It's always better to have to ask the right way to do something than to try to figure it out on your own, mess up, and have to do it all over again.

5. Remember that you're the new person. You may feel "qualified" to tell your new coworkers that there's a better way to do something, but be give it time. Every workplace has its own way of doing things. Be patient and become an accepted member of the team before you make suggestions for improvements.

6. Remember office politics. Pay attention to the grapevine, but don't contribute to it. Do not accept at face value what one employee says about another; form your own opinions based on your own interactions and judgment. Never complain about anyone at your old job or your new one. Figure out who has the real authority to give you work to do, and who is trying to take advantage of your newness.

Above all, keep a positive attitude, do your work to the best of your ability, and keep an open mind. Before you know it, you'll be climbing the career ladder and giving advice to newcomers!