Settling Successfully Into Your New Job

The euphoria of getting a new job can sometimes be overcome by apprehension about what comes next. After all, you're "the new kid on the block," and there's much to learn--about your new job duties and much more. But here are some things you can do to make the process go smoother.

1. Dress for success. You'll want to look professional. Dress on the conservative side for the first week. Once you've got a good idea of what's appropriate and what isn't, you can adjust your style.

2. Be on time. You never want to start your new job by being late, so make sure you allow plenty of time for your commute. Plan the most direct route, but be aware of alternates in case of an accident or other traffic snarls.

3. Get to know people. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet, whether it's the receptionist or the general manager. Introduce yourself, smile and make eye contact. Make a positive first impression. Ask about your coworkers' interests.

4. Ask questions. From "Where's the bathroom?" to "Which tool do I use for this task?" It's OK to ask for help! Your coworkers will feel good about doing whatever they can to assist you. Let them. It's always better to have to ask the right way to do something than to try to figure it out on your own, mess up, and have to do it all over again.

5. Remember your place. You may feel "qualified" to tell your new coworkers that there's a better way to do something, but be patient. Every workplace has its own way of doing things. Never say "That's not how we did it at my old company!" (You're coworkers may invite you to return to your old company!) Be patient and become an accepted member of the team before you make suggestions for improvements.

6. Be careful about office politics. Pay attention to the grapevine, but don't contribute to it. Do not accept at face value what one employee says about another; form your own opinions based on your own interactions and judgment. Never complain about anyone at your old job or your new one. Figure out who has the real authority to give you work to do, and who is trying to take advantage of your newness.

Above all, keep a positive attitude, do your work to the best of your ability, and keep an open mind. Before you know it, you'll be climbing the career ladder and giving advice to newcomers!

Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular Job Interview Success System and free information-packed ezine, "Career-Life Times." Find those and other powerful career-building resources and tips at her website:

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