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Don’t Do THIS at your New Job!

By | Career Advice, Featured, Workplace

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.

Work Like: ElRe7la’s Dalia Said

By | Uncategorized, Work Like

Work Like is a series of articles dedicated to interviewing star performers to find out what they do to stay on top of their game.


Dalia Said


Co-founder, CEO & Learning Director



First of all, tell us about your professional background and how you got to where you are today.

Graduating from Harvard with a Masters in Education and a focus on group learning and adult development helped me pursue my passion: building memorable learning experiences for different communities and unlocking the potential of effective networking.

Since 2005, I’ve been working in curriculum and event design through different organizations, such as AIESEC, Namaa’ Initiative for Sustainable Development, ElMashrou3 and now in ElRe7la.

ElRe7la hosts four-day camping experiences outside of the city, to bring together different communities of leaders, corporate teams and entrepreneurs. The experience is connective, reflective and habit-changing.

'Dalia Said: @ElRe7la 's experience is connective, reflective and habit-changing.'Click To Tweet

Why do you do what you do?

Long ago, what motivated me through every day’s challenges is the starfish story I heard as a student in Namaa’s Summer School for Development. In short, it recounts how a wise man was walking on the beach and saw a little kid bending down and throwing a starfish on the shores back into the ocean. When he asked him why he was doing that although there was thousands of starfish down on the coast and he probably won’t be able to throw them all and make a real difference, the young man just picked up another starfish and said that right now he made a difference to that one.

It made me feel that I don’t need to make a huge change to feel that I matter. Every good deed makes a difference, and that I should try to make a difference whenever it’s possible.

In addition to that, I put in the extra mile at work in order to honor the people that I have lost along the way. The loss ignited a sense of awareness and commitment in me to create projects from which they would have been proud of.

Night owl or early-riser?

Early riser.

I spend the three hours between 6-9 AM in either reading or work that requires focus and creativity; then at 9, I have breakfast. I’m most productive in those early hours because the whole house is asleep, so I try to use them well.

What was the last thing you read?

Throughout the summer, I read 600+ articles relevant to our service at ElRe7la, which gave us enough insight to make some improvements at work.

What is a time-saving shortcut or life hack you use?

Multiple Tabs Search.

I usually need to open many research links while working or search for several topics at the same time; this tool helps me open them all in one go.

What are applications that you cannot live without?

I use “News Feed Eradicator” for Facebook and “Remove Recommendations” for Youtube.

They’re extensions that hide Facebook’s feed and Youtube’s recommendations, so that you can use them for work, but not get distracted for hours.

To-do list, on paper or do you use an app?

I use excel sheets, but my weekly calendar is in a DOTS planner.

Do you listen to music while you’re working, or do you prefer the silence?

I don’t follow specific trends, but I can sometimes put on this background music while working. The following channel puts on movie soundtracks that I like.

Cinemix – Radionomy

How often do you take breaks while working?

Usually, I follow the Pomodoro technique. My focus level is for 45 minutes, then I take 2-5 minute breaks during my peak working hours. After that, breaks prolong or are inconsistent. However, when I’m fully immersed in a project I go through it until it’s done.

How do you avoid burnout?

Every once in a while, I go on consecutive days where I don’t meet people. This helps me get some “me time”, to reset and get ready for the next phase.

What’s your favorite snack?

Carrots..or desserts. It depends on what’s in the fridge, really.

What is your favorite TV show?

Currently, it’s “This Is Us”.

What's your idea of a perfect holiday?

A perfect holiday is visiting a close friend overseas and exploring the city together, while catching up on all the years we’ve missed from each others lives. These conversations are on another level.

What is your superpower?

My edge is my work: retreat design and management, opportunity curation and benchmarking.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Responsibility lies with he who knows”. In Arabic, it’s “المسؤول هو من يَعلم”.

I heard this back in 2007, and it changed so much in me. This saying sums up how I feel about the privileges in my life and the sense of responsibility that accompanies them. Whoever has the knowledge should constantly use it to add value wherever possible.

'Dalia Said: Responsibility lies with he who knows.'Click To Tweet
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