You've Got the Job...Now What?
If you are reading this, then a big "CONGRATULATIONS" must be in order! You probably spent many stressful hours preparing for your job interview and it ALL paid off when you received that phone call or email with a job offer. Now that you've been hired, you might be wondering ..."Now what?" Starting a new job can be very exciting but it can also bring on jitters as you go through an adjustment period. The first day at a new job is also very important since it is an opportunity to make a positive impression on your employer and fellow colleagues (talk about pressure, right?!).
To figure out what to expect at a new job, I went to Toronto Reference Library's circulating career books collection to get the most authoritative answer. Browsing the shelves, I came across "Can I Wear My Nose Ring To The Interview?" by Ellen Gordon Reeves. The following points stuck out to me:
First Day Logistics
The first thing you should probably know is the basic logistics of the job like, "when and where do you start?" and "who should you report to on your first day?" If no one has shared these details when you were offered the job, contact the company's Human Resources (HR) department or one of the people who hired you. Do not wait until Sunday morning to realize that you are unsure about when and where you are supposed to be on your first Monday morning at your new job.
When you start a new job, do not be surprised if you are placed on a probationary period. A probation period is common and usually a predetermined time (often three to six months after you start). Your continued employment is contingent on your review at the end of this time period.
If you are new to a job and are feeling very ill or have something contagious, it is best to stay home. Calling in sick is not ideal but your colleagues will be grateful that you aren't spreading any germs in the office.
A lot of workplaces have an employee handbook which provides valuable office rules, as well as information on how to clear vacation time, sick days and personal days. Speak to your employer or HR to find out where you can get one.
Your Work Area, Phone and Email
Your work area is a reflection of you, so try to be neat and discreet. Before you settle into your new work space, take a look to see how your colleagues handle personal paraphernalia. If your desk does not have office supplies, find out the procedure for obtaining supplies so that you can set up your organization system right from the beginning. You may also need passwords and codes for the computer and photocopier and if you are unfamiliar with any office equipment, ask for instructions as early as possible.
Once you've been given an email and phone number, make sure that you've been added to the relevant email and phone circulation lists. Don't forget to record a professional voice mail message where you state your full name and the name of the company. It is also important to figure out how to work your phone, so that you don't hang up on someone accidentally.
Although you may have a good chance at meeting someone you fancy, workplace relationships are dangerous! Yes, if things work out, you will definitely have more motivation to come to work but if they don't, you will be stuck seeing your ex everyday. Some offices have rules against interoffice relationships, check the employee handbook to find out for sure.
Being a Good Colleague and Employee
An office is a shared space and you are part of a community. Keep the following pointers in mind to be a good colleague and employee:
- Take initiative
- Don't be a prima donna
- Be discreet
- Respect the hidden hierarchies
- Listen and learn
- Be humble and helpful
- Don't play the blame game
- Blow your own horn, but not too loudly
- Spread the good word
- Don't say "I don't know." Instead say, "I'll find out."
Toronto Public Library also has books on many more career firsts: