Starting a new job can be overwhelming, but you shouldn’t just close your eyes and hope for the best. Instead, here’s plan of attack for the first week.
Meet with your manager
“Throughout the week, ask for periodic meetings with your boss (instead of popping in her office for every question you have!). In addition to getting her direction on projects and tasks, you should use this time to update her on what you’re learning and who you’re meeting with.
“Ask questions like ‘Are there additional tasks I should be taking on or skills I should be learning?’ and ‘Can you give me feedback on the project I just completed?’ to show initiative, but also do a lot of listening, too. Your boss’ feedback and insight is going to be one of your greatest resources at this point—after all, you’re going to be spending the next weeks, months, and maybe even years working for her, and learning how she thinks early on will serve you well.”
Get to know your new surroundings
Indeed’s online career guide recommends that you “learn how to navigate and enjoy your new workplace:”
“Locate the restrooms, the coffee and water, the stairs and elevators, where you can eat lunch and take breaks, and seek out any other amenities this workplace offers. If you haven’t been given a tour, consider asking a colleague for one. In this first week, you may also want to experiment with your commute: finding the right times to leave home and testing different routes or transportation methods. Identifying and establishing the routines early on will give you peace of mind.”
Put your time in
“During your first few weeks on the job, everyone (not just your boss) is observing how you behave. Learn what the normal work day patterns look like by watching what time your co-workers arrive and leave. You don’t have to be the first person in the office, but you should arrive earlier than most. And don’t just hang out in your cube. Use this time to have a brief chat with a colleague in the break room or offer help to someone who looks stressed.”
She also mentions that you should touch base with your manager before heading out.
Don’t feed the rumor mill
This won’t help your career.
Dawn Rosenberg McKay, an author and career planning professional, writes in The Balance that you should not “get caught up in the office gossip” at the start of a new position:
“Whether it’s over lunch or around the proverbial water cooler, gossip happens in every workplace. Neither ignore or share it. Keep your ears open but your mouth closed. You may learn valuable information, for example, your boss’s foul mood is due to his having a difficult time at home, and he isn’t always like this. Don’t contribute anything to the conversation. Also, keep in mind that not everything you hear is true.”