Important Pieces of Advice Not Covered in New Employee Orientation

First job?  New job?

Whether you are starting your first job, second job, third (or more) job, it’s an opportunity to start anew.  Right the wrongs of past employment.  Start good habits, shake off bad ones.

No doubt the orientation period will cover what you need to know to do your job.  The employee handbook will outline rules and regulations, benefits and when you get paid.   But where do you learn those things that you really need to know?  Those things not covered in the orientation or employee handbook, but most important to your job satisfaction:  coworker management.

As a new employee, one of the most important things you will do is make new work acquaintances, meet your colleagues, and develop relationships that will help you do your job, and hopefully, advance in your career.  With a new job, comes an opportunity to align with people who will make your work experience and work hours pleasant, enjoyable and contribute to your sense of workplace satisfaction.  Or not.  Luckily, it is your choice.

As you begin your new position, and get to know your coworkers, figure out who is going to help and who is going to hinder not just your career, but your level of satisfaction with your work and employer.

Use the following advice to help you influence positively your own level of job satisfaction:

  1. Avoid the complainers.  Do not get caught up in any negativity associated with your new job, your new organization and especially your boss.  Why?  Complainers like company, and there is  race to attract the new person to the complainers’ side, so you see things just as negatively as they do.  Instead, take some time to observe your new coworkers and determine who has the best attitude toward the company and its mission.  Develop a working relationship with them, whether they are in your department or not.

  2. Keep quiet.  Don’t get drawn into office gossip.  No matter what. Especially if you haven’t been around long enough to determine fact from fiction.  Don’t listen to it, and don’t repeat it – ever –  as long as you work there, or as long as you work anywhere.  Why?  Not just because gossip has no place in the workplace, whether it is work related or not, but because gossip has a funny way of making its way back to the gossiper and eventually the gossip will be about you.  So unless you want to be gossiped about, don’t participate in conversations that have nothing to do with you, your work, or information related to doing your job.  Period.

  3. Align yourself with the boss.  No matter whether your boss is the best or worst leader, he/she is the boss, and like it or not, has the most influence over your professional future.  Many new employees make the mistake of developing working relationships with their peers, and participating in dissecting why/why not the boss is the best/worst. New employees often take this route instead of studying the boss, knowing his/her goals, understanding his/her leadership style and making sure allegiance is with the company’s leader.   Make sure you are friendly to your coworkers, but an ally and a supporter of the boss.  But what if the boss truly is a terrible leader?  He/she is still the boss, and you can learn a lot from observing their leadership style: like what NOT to do, when you become a boss.  Plus, most likely the boss is the boss for a reason.  Focus on and emulate what they do well, and remember to consider all the stress that they encounter in their job.  Instead of focusing on yourself at work, focus on the big picture of the company and how your position fits in and can contribute to the company goals.

If you are embarking on your first professional job, remember, you don’t have a good vantage point yet for determining what factors contribute to an effective or dysfunctional organization.  You could be working at the best place you will ever work, but listening to your complaining and gossiping co-workers, you won’t know until you work somewhere else.   If this is not your first job, then you have an opportunity to model good behavior, and bring negative employees up to your standards, instead of vice versa.

A new job is a new beginning, and whether it’s your first job, or your third or more, you can impact your level of satisfaction by considering these three pieces of advice:  Avoid complainers, keep quiet and align yourself with the boss.  Remember, only you can make yourself a valuable and satisfied part of your new company.

— by Christine Gardner, who likes to help people tell their professional story through their resume and give job search tips and advice.  She is Executive Director of the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education, a facilitator for the University of Phoenix, and an online instructor with Southern New Hampshire University.

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