I was in disbelief when a colleague told me that it’s already been one month since I started my current job. It feels like only yesterday I joined the company. A few thoughts came to me while I was on the subway home from work about what it’s like being the new person in an office:
1. Google Is Your Bestfriend.
Once, a sage friend of mine told me about an acronym her JGI, or “Just Google It” for employees to use at their company. When you’re starting out at a new company, it’s normal to have questions. But try to limit yourself to asking about things related to the company’s procedures or information that you can’t find easily online. Here’s an example: What’s the usual time people get to work? (Ask it out loud!) What’s the Excel command for counting how many characters are in a cell? (It’s JGI.)
2. Always Greet People With a Warm “Good Morning” or “Good Evening.”
Being cordial with your co-workers is a great way to make friends and be seen as the nice person you are. When you come into work in the morning, greet those that you see with a “good morning”. Before leaving for the day, say “good evening” to those around you. It’s really that easy – something you learned long ago.
3. Get to Know Every Person by Name.
Calling someone by their name is generally seen as a sign of respect, and can make social interactions smoother. Whenever you’re introduced to somebody new, attempt to remember their name, but if you can’t, look them up on the team page or in company bios (just like in The Devil Wears Prada when Andi and Emily go to a party with Miranda and have to whisper the names of the people she’s about to say hello too). Although I still don’t know everyone’s name, at the last Dip Day event I recommended that people start calling each other by the dip they brought. It would help me learn names faster, and it hasn’t been tried yet so it could be fun. Plus, once I meet a few more people I should know all of their real names anyway.
4. Have Lunch With Co-workers, Friends, or Family to Improve Relationships.
Take advantage of lunchtime to socialize with your coworkers outside of work talk. If people in your office usually go out for lunch, ask someone if they want to join you. If your coworkers usually pack lunch and eat together, join them. If they give you trouble and say something like “you can’t sit with us”, don’t sweat it too many chances are they’re not very nice people, to begin with, if they’re excluding you from such a minor thing.
5. Organize Your Workspace and Your Life so That You Can Focus on What’s Important.
Start your organization journey by getting organized from the get-go. Create Gmail or Outlook folders, create an inbox that would make anyone jealous, and make desktop folders and a document filing system, in other words, go all out.
6. Take Inspiration From Your Boss’s Style.
No, you don’t need to put on a complete power suit, but do take note of what your boss typically wears. If they never wear jeans to work, then it’s probably not the best idea for you to start wearing them either. When unsure, always choose a slightly more formal outfit than necessary.
7. If You Go Out for Coffee, Bring Something Back With You.
Offer to get coffee for the people sitting near you when you go to get yours. Not only is this a kind thing to do, but let’s be honest–who doesn’t love coffee?
8. Demonstrate to Your Employer That You’re a Dedicated Worker.
First impressions are key, so you should always give your best effort at work. But it’s especially important to make a good impression during your first few weeks on the job.
9. Make People’s Day by Smiling and Holding the Door for Them.
It never hurts to be kind. Something as simple as smiling or holding the door open for someone can make a big difference. And this doesn’t just apply to dating – it goes to work, too. People generally prefer working with those who are pleasant to be around, so try and stay on the sunny side.
10. Say Yes to Opportunities, It Opens Yourself Up to Endless Possibilities.
As the wise Tina Fey once said, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterward.” I fully support this statement—unless you’re a surgeon, in which case please disregard it entirely. When I started my job at Levo League, they asked me to be the Social Media Associate. I had no experience managing social media accounts other than my own Facebook and Twitter, but I decided to say yes and figure it out later. (in this case by going to Barnes and Noble and picking up Likeable Social Media, The Social Media Strategist, and just in case those weren’t enough, The Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media.) I quickly learned a lot, and no one knew I was doing so.
Extra Credit: Watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” to see how power posing can increase your confidence. I tried it before my interview at Likeable, and it definitely worked!
This article was republished in The Preppy Post Grad.