Congrats young millennial, you just got your first grown up job! Or maybe you are moving from one job to a different one with more power. Sure, you got a lot of great tips on how to conduct yourself in your interview, but what now? You start on Monday…..how should you act? What should you wear….who do you talk to? While your interview was important, your first 30 days at your new job are even more important. As a young person, it’s sometimes tough to fit in, and as a minority it can be even tougher. You will be watched, you will be judged, that’s just how it is. I’m a 6’3 black male. I’ve received more judgmental looks and comments then you could imagine. So let me tell you how to get your ish together and show doubters why you deserved this job.
What Do I Wear?
Did you dress business professional on your interview? Yes? Then dress that way again. You could be meeting some high level superiors, take a company headshot, or be taken out to a nice lunch. So make sure you look nice! The best way to show that you aren’t about shit is to show up to work underdressed. Many older co-workers have probably already made generalizations about you due to age; don’t give them anymore ammo. Now if your company has more of a relaxed attire, it is still smart to overdress on the first day and gradually scale back to the office norms. Personally I wore a suit my first day, and then sport coat with no tie for the rest of the week.
Who Do I Talk To?
This is pretty simple…..EVERYONE! From the guy who cleans your office at night to the CEO, President, Chancellor, or Director. Everybody is important. In my first job out of undergrad, I made sure I become cool with our office assistant. Just by simply being nice to someone who everyone else overlooked I got all the hook ups. Running out of time on a report and need some help formatting it? The assistant took care of me. Needed to finish a purchase order to get credit for a sale before close of business and I’m still on the road? Assistant stepped in right on time. Nobody knows the office culture better than the person who deals with everybody in the office. And most of the time that person is the secretary, office assistant, etc. Be his/her friend. I’m telling you, this will be so helpful to you.
And what about all those new people you are meeting. In my most recent job, I probably met no less than 20-25 new faces on my first day. These were people who I would have to collaborate with very soon. You forget someone’s name the second time you see them, probably not that big of a deal. But after that, you look dumb. My trick? Simply write down everyone’s name after your first day. Miss somebody’s name? Then look online at your company directory if available, and focus on making sure you don’t forget them the next day. You make a great impression to superiors when you show that you truly care about knowing your coworkers and what they do.
Do your best not join any office cliques. When you first start you really don’t know the office politics yet. Don’t pick a side when someone tries to involve you in their office drama. You end up on the wrong side this, and work life will be hell. Remain neutral, be polite to everyone, and you’ll be fine. It’s very easy for youngsters like ourselves to only talk to others our same age. Stay away from this as well. Can’t learn much for someone who has been there two weeks longer than you. It’s great to be friends with someone your age, but don’t forget about the older generation as well. So go to lunch with the other 20somethings, but also make sure you go to lunch with 40 and 50somethings. Just like the office assistant, they will provide valuable insight. One of them could end up being a trusted mentor, and as the old folks say, they might “learn ya something”.
For people who are moving into a new unknown city, it’s really easy to turn your new coworkers into your best friends. Be very careful with this. You fall out with one of your boys/homegirls, it’s cool because you just don’t see them. But you fall out with a new coworker/friend, and then you have to work with them everyday? Have fun with that. I’ve seen this end up poorly at my first job. Makes it every awkward for everyone.
What Do I Do?
Well….you work. Sounds basic enough right? Did you say you want to implement a new program in your interview? Then get started on that. Did you mention wanting to research cost saving methods for an activity already in place? Then get on it. Your company clearly thought you had the ability to perform your new duties. Now it’s time to show them you will actually work. Before I started my most recent position I sent my supervisor my 30/60/90 plan. This planned outlined all the items I wanted to get done in my first 30, 60 and 90 days. Not only did this show I was ready to work and excited for the position, but it showed initiative. I wasn’t asked to do this, I just did it. On my first day we sat down with the plan and talked about every item on there. She was able to add items she wanted to see done, and I was able to get feedback from her on what she really expected from me. This may not work for every single job, but taking initiative and showing that you are excited about your new position before you even start will take you a long way.
Ask questions! We all like to seem like we have it together and know everything. And you know what….that’s what makes millennials look dumb. Don’t let your pride get in the way of job success. If you don’t know how to do something, then ask. It’s much better to ask and get it right, than to mess up and cost your company money. However, don’t ask the same question a million times. In most places you’ll be expected to ask once, and never have to ask again.
But the most important thing to do in your first few weeks? WORK HARD. Does everybody get to the office around 9:00? Then make sure you are there at 8:45. Everyone start to head out around 5:15? Then stay until 5:20. Nothing looks worse, then a new person who is slacking. Stay off Twitter, tell the GroupMe you’ll talk to them after work, and take your #Work or #Grinding selfie after you leave the office. If you get a project assigned to you, work hard on it until it’s done. Show everyone around you that you are ready to work. Show them our generation isn’t all spoiled.
So that’s my step by step booklet for you to get your game on track (shouts to Biggie). You earned this new position, so make sure you do what you need to do to keep it.