First week on the job? Here's how to make it amazing

Published June 1st, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

Your first week at work is a stepping stone for your future career in the organization. No matter what type of personality you have or what job role you’ve got, here are five ways to make your first week at work both pleasant and career-boosting:

1. Learn the name game

You often find yourself observing a colleague speak about something very important but only one thought runs through your mind, “Darn! What’s his name?!” Human beings love their names; names function like unique identities or ’barcodes’.

Names can be difficult to remember, especially if you work in a multi-cultural workplace. However it need not be so, if you attach a special memory with this person or associate their name with something important to you. Create an image in your head about that person’s features or personality, for example “Slim Sally” or “John the Joker”, or associate them with someone you already know such as a friend or sister with the same name. Such a mnemonic device will increase the number of names you remember.

2. Ask many questions

Even if you have a degree and a lot of work experience it may not make up for the fact that you don’t know everything about your new job. 57.5% of professionals in the region feel much challenged in their current job, as per the ‘Work Satisfaction in the MENA’ poll, November 2012. Accept the fact that you are just getting started and ask a lot of questions. You may think that you are being annoying by asking many questions, but that really isn’t the case. People like helping out, and most of all love sharing their knowledge. The trick is to ask intelligent and open-ended questions. Questions which merely result in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will seem like a waste of time for both parties. Direct your questions about how things work in the office to everyone, from your manager to your co-worker. Get back to them when you have doubts. Remember, it is better to ask questions than to make a fatal mistake during your first week at work!

3. Be more than a 'cog in the wheel'

So your company has more than a hundred employees and you are just one of them. You have been assigned a routine 9-to-6 job and before you know it, you’ve become a ‘cog in the wheel’. The way to avoid this is to make it clear from the first day itself that you are ready to take on more than your job description requires. According to the ‘Work Satisfaction in the MENA’ poll, 42.1 % of respondents are not satisfied with their current job. Don’t let that happen to you. Clearly outline your goals and role with your manager, and suggest additional ways through which you can add value. Your suggestions may or may not be taken seriously but at least you have communicated your enthusiasm and interest to your manager. Never stop selling yourself and you will always reap the rewards of your hard work.

4. Build relationships throughout the corporate food chain

There are certain people in the office, such as the admin staff, IT staff and office caretakers, who are often overlooked. These are the unsung superheroes of the office that keep the workplace running smoothly and to ignore them during your very first week is not advisable. When the internet is down or when the pantry is out of coffee, the support staff is likely to help you if you share a good rapport with them. Be genuinely nice and polite to all.

5. Follow the Kaizen principle

‘Kaizen’ means continuous improvement in the Japanese language, and it is a principle you must follow, especially during the first week of work. According to the ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll, April 2014, 52.2 % of professionals in the Middle East always receive feedback to help improve their performance. You should not be afraid to ask your superiors and co-workers for feedback, and take their criticism in good spirits. Set improvement goals for the next week and next month. Let everyone know that you’re not afraid of change, and exude optimism at all times!

By Menaka Ramakrishnan

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