You’re new, and it feels awkward, and it’s probably going to for a little while. But that’s okay. Getting settled into your new job is the ultimate act of multitasking: You’ve got to remember names, make friends, figure out your commute, and start doing the actual work you’ve been hired to do–ideally, as well and as efficiently as possible.
Yes, it will be stressful, but it’s helpful to prioritize in order to manage it all. Here’s a quick (but by no means exhaustive) checklist of some important things you should both do–and avoid doing–within your first 30 days.
Your First Hour Or Two
It’s all about first impressions, which are all about emotional intelligence. Chances are someone will take you around to meet at least some of your new colleagues before the clock strikes “lunchtime” on your first day. Don’t miss your shot at nailing those introductions. How? Fast Company contributor and emotional intelligence expert Harvey Deutschendorf has a couple tips for meeting new people:
- “Show genuine enthusiasm for meeting.” How? “Just be natural. Pretend you’re meeting a sibling’s new significant other at a social occasion,” he advises. “Give your best, authentic smile. Open up your posture so your legs are at a wide stance but you’re relaxed. Make eye contact, offer a firm handshake. It’s that easy.”
- Ideally, you’d want to offer a compliment, says Deutschendorf, but since you may not have enough intel yet to do that, “ask a question or two that can lead to information you can later compliment them on.”
- Say their name before leaving: “Really great meeting you, Shareen.”
Your First Day
Nail down your company’s IT contacts. That’s a tip that Zapier’s Emily Irish shares for remote workers’ first days on the job, but applies to just about anyone. Sure, it may feel low-priority on the day you start, especially since you’ll probably be handed/emailed/Slacked a one-pager with your helpdesk team’s info right away.
The only problem is that you’re likely to stash it away and forget about it until your first tech meltdown. So “make it a priority to know who you should talk to if you need help,” Irish suggests. While you’re getting introduced to your new coworkers, just ask your boss or onboarding buddy to take you past the IT team for some quick hellos.
Your First Week
Grab coffee with a peer. You have a fairly short window when it’s totally not weird (or logistically difficult) to ask random coworkers out for coffee. So do it right away! It shows you’re being proactive about getting to know your new colleagues before hitting them up because you need them urgently for some work-related task. Making friends at work can take some time, but some of those first-week chitchats can plant the seed for social interactions later on.
Your First Month
Be extra careful about how you communicate. That means not getting too comfortable too quickly on Slack and email, i.e., avoiding humor and risqué GIFs, even if your coworkers immediately give off casual vibes; it’s just too early for you to know where the unspoken boundaries might lie. So sit back and observe before loosening up too early.
You might also want to watch your language. Try to avoid expressions like “at my last job, we . . .”–since this isn’t your last job and (sorry!) it frankly doesn’t matter how you’re used to doing things–and “I just assumed” or “my understanding was that . . .” If you’re ever confused, just ask! For your first month at least (and probably longer than that), no one should hold it against you for not knowing the ropes. The only thing they can fault you for is barreling ahead anyway.