A new job = a plate full of new challenges. This is what I discovered during my first month here at WUZZUF.

Although I tried to leave a good impression and stay away from trouble, I realized that some mistakes are inevitable. Those pesky, relatable, first-month mistakes.

The following are what you should not do at a new job:

1- Not knowing who’s who!

What I did:

I kept asking my new colleagues for their names every time I saw them the first 2-3 days (and they kept asking for mine).

Memorizing the names of new people is hard for a lot of people. But as the newcomer in a company, you want to leave a good first impression by remembering at least the names and positions of the people you meet.

What to do instead:

Almost every company now has an application where every employee’s name and title are listed. Use this to familiarize yourself with your colleagues and what each of them does. (Bonus: This is will also help you understand your new company’s organizational structure better.)

If the company doesn’t use such an app, then ask your manager to give you an overview of the different teams in the company and their members and take down some quick notes. This method lessens the stress of meeting your colleagues for the first time.

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2- Not aligning myself with the company’s way

What I did:

I had always thought that doing things my way is how I can impress my new colleagues and boss. That’s why I neglected to take a good look at the policies and processes of the company, which caused a lot of clashes when I started work.

As the new member of the team, you want to prove yourself very quickly, which is understandable. But don’t go about doing it in such a way that will slow everyone down and cause confusion.

What to do instead:

Before you work on any task, make sure you know everything about how you should approach the task and how your team works. Follow and align yourself with the company’s values, culture, and voice mindfully. 

Moreover, don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas on how to improve the process, workflow, etc. This is how you add value to your new job and also impress everyone around you.

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3- Hesitating to ask for clarifications and details

What I did:

I isolated myself, unaware that asking for help is necessary in my case. Thus, I kept all my questions to myself. Projects kept getting complicated and I kept missing deadlines because of the passive state I was in.

It’s expected that you won’t know everything right off the bat. So don’t be afraid to look for answers to your questions about anything and everything when you’re just starting.

What to do instead:

If you like to find out answers on your own, then at least don’t start diving if you don’t know how deep the water is. Find the most experienced coworker around and ask them to mentor you for a while. Ask for detailed emails/slides/documents where there’s full coverage of what you need. The more you ask, the less you wonder.

4- Rushing to prove myself

What I did:

When I first started, I was in such a rush to prove myself that I overloaded it with tasks and projects. I didn’t even have time to understand the background and what has been already done in some of them. I definitely bit off more than I can chew and the result was low-quality output and major frustration when I was asked to start from scratch on some of the tasks.

Again, it’s understandable to want to leave your mark and showcase what you can do rapidly when starting a new job, but taking on every task you come across is not the way to do it.

What to do instead:

Sit with your manager to set a plan that makes delivering the tasks you have actually happen. Discuss with them weekly, monthly, and annual goals and expectations. You can also always use project management applications such as Trello.

5- Not communicating with my new boss

What I did:

I was very hesitant to approach my boss about some questions I had regarding my role, team dynamics, and the context of the work. This created some confusion and misunderstandings those first couple of weeks.

One of the hardest parts about the first month at a new job is communicating with your new boss. You want to impress and establish a rapport with them, but you think this won’t happen if you keep asking a lot of questions.

What to do instead:

Don’t assume anything. It’s your right to ask your boss for any kind of help you might require at first. The fact of the matter is this: asking for help shows you’re willing to collaborate with your boss and coworkers and also lends you credibility.

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6- Letting networking eat up my time

What I did:

Being a people person has an ocean of privileges yet socializing with people around the office as a new employee took up a lot of my workday. Consequently, I burned the midnight oil trying to meet every deadline.

This problem arose from a lack of balance between my needing to make new connections and my haste to stand out.

What to do instead:

The first two weeks or so are all yours so you can get to know everyone and leave the door open for a good impression in what comes next. But don’t waste further time and let your work speak for you.

7- Being ashamed of my slow progress

What I did:

I was worried that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t working hard enough because I was slow in getting comfortable with the new processes, culture, and so on. I absorbed everything, yes. But it took a while to fit in and handle the work at hand smoothly.

This adds to the other sources of pressure one has to deal with when starting a new job.

What to do instead:

Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. When it seems like everyone’s learning and progressing faster than you, that is because they’ve had a head start on you. If something seems effortless now, it’s only because it took a lot of hard work, dedication, and experience. As long as you’re making progress, you’re good, because slow and steady always wins the race.

8-Not setting boundaries and expectations

What I did:

What confused me the most was whether I should always be nice and cooperative and take extra work or refuse it politely and focus on what I have at the time? Finding the balance between both took me quite some time that I could have invested more wisely.

Compromising on your boundaries or values to seem friendlier or to show that you’re a team player isn’t a strategy that can hold up for long. You’ll soon start to burn out and this will take its toll on the quality of your work.

What to do instead:

Learn how and when to say no firmly but politely. Make sure that your manager and teammates are aware of your current workload. And understand that if you don’t set your own boundaries, no one will do it for you.

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Any other mistakes you made during your first month at a new job? Share with us in the comments section below.



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