The career etiquette for newcomers on board
Caught the dream job, managed the desired job change, found new career opportunities: One could just be happy – if it weren’t for the darn first day at the new workplace. Being the “newcomer” in an established team and the pressure to make a good impression and not to make a mistake makes even professionals and experienced team players nervous. But with the ManaJump tips you show on day one that you are a real enrichment for every team and every boss – and you will certainly be well received in the new team.
Dress code: What am I wearing?
This question almost always occupies us before the first day. And there is never one universally valid answer. Because every company and often every single department has its own rules. A good clue: How were the people you had your interview with dressed? If that was just the boss, unfortunately that usually does not apply. That’s why it’s best to look inconspicuously at the employees on your way in or out to this interview, paying attention to their dress style. Perhaps the website or other means of communication of the new workplace can also tell you whether and how conservative the climate and style are? Since appearing completely overdressed on the first day is as unpleasant as underdressed, honesty is best for you: ask in doubt. Call the HR manager and ask whether you should bring anything with you for your start – this is harmless and immediately seems committed. Then you can ask casually whether you should adjust to a certain dress code. After the first day, that’s what you do: Orientate yourself to your colleagues, not to your superiors and don’t outdo the others visually.
Hello, here I am: the performance
The best case scenario is, of course, that a colleague, HR member or superior will show you around your new workplace and introduce you to the other employees. Then shake hands with everyone in every office, always say your first and last name and smile friendly. That’s it? Yes. You only say where you come from and what you did before when someone asks you – you don’t have to ask anything yourself. The same works in an open-plan office, you don’t even need to shake hands. It is enough to greet people from the door.
And if you are on your own, e.g. just brought to your desk? Then introduce yourself the same way to people in your field of vision. And just ask: “Is there anyone I should introduce myself to?” Who you should never forget: Secretaries, team assistants, office managers or similar “secret bosses”! You will need their help, knowledge and, kindness often enough – just show them that you know that.
Training: calmly demand
If a team leader, supervisor or colleague does not introduce you to your new tasks on the first day anyway, feel free to ask. The best way would be: “Is there something I can take a look at / get used to?” And better not like this: “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here now”. Proactive is simply better than needy. And it doesn’t sound passive-aggressive. Your colleagues don’t know either? It’s a good thing that you’ve already introduced yourself to the secretaries and the like – you can go to them now and get a helpful answer to your question.
Lunch break: wait or just call?
You’ve just grooved in a bit, and the next challenge is already waiting: your lunch break. When your immediate colleagues go out for dinner, just ask if you can accompany them – if they don’t offer it anyway. In the canteen or in the colleague’s meeting around the corner, you are also free to ask whether you are allowed to sit down. And then? It’s a good opportunity to introduce yourself to unknown colleagues. I’m sure they’re asking you a little bit now. Then you’d better not go too far and always ask counter-questions: “Have you been around for a long time?” Or “What exactly do you do in the company?” Join in small talk – and be busy with chewing on job topics or gossip on the first day. If you don’t go for lunch in larger groups, take the opportunity to have a lunch break with as many members of the core team as possible. This way you show interest in everyone and gradually learn everything important about colleagues and jobs.
Office talk: How much is too much?
Of course, colleagues talk a lot about private matters. Say the smartest thing without being asked: namely nothing. You’ll be asked all kinds of questions soon enough, you shouldn’t start with private. If everyone talks about their last vacation or similar superficial topics, you should of course also get involved without being asked, instead of just attracting attention with eternal silence – but also here: no long debaucheries. If you talk about other colleagues or the boss in the beginning – and it certainly will – stay out of it. Play it safe: going to the toilet or to the coffee supply.
Is extroverted cheeky?
Not when it comes to good ideas, skills and know-how – you can and should show all this right from the start and thus make a positive contribution. This is how you show right away: You are motivated. You should rather not show against it, if you think, without you everything would not have gone so well so far. Even if you’re right: Nobody likes a know-it-all. And if you are actually better qualified than your colleagues, they will find out soon enough. You better carefully make suggestions for improvement bit by bit, best formulated as a question: “Couldn’t you maybe…” or “I have an idea for XY – should I just tell you?” Important: Before you improve, take a really close look at everything. This will take you longer than the first week.
Do you make your debut?
Everybody likes to be invited to something nice, don’t they? This also applies to your new colleagues. When is the right time? Not the first day, some would think that would be a pompousness. Because it usually takes more than a week to get to know everyone, settle in and make a small contribution, the perfect time to make your debut is to celebrate the first month in your new job. But how? You can’t go wrong if you simply bring breakfast snacks or cakes for everyone and best announced this the day before informally or by email to everyone. If you prefer a little drink, talk to your supervisor about what he or she thinks and what he or she suggests – but check beforehand whether alcohol is a taboo even after work. And don’t exclude anyone, you really have to invite everyone you work with, including the nagging colleague and the boss. Are you completely unsure what you should offer at what time of day and in what frame? Then again: Good that you have already become popular with the omniscient secretaries and assistants… And another tip at the end: “Sell” your debut always as a thank you to the colleagues who welcomed you so nicely in the team. Everybody really likes to hear thanks.