21 April 2016

Five things to avoid when starting a new job.

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You made it. You nailed the phone call, handled the first interview like a pro, soared through the second interview and then it came- that glorious phone call saying, 'Congratulations, you got the job.'

But don’t get too comfortable, you can’t kick off your smelly shoes under the desk or jabber away on the phone to Aunt Ida about how much weight Aunt Hilda has put on. You got the job so let’s make sure you keep it.

I wandered around the office to ask our hiring managers what were the worst thing a new employee could do. These are five things not to do when you’re starting a new job.

Wear your comfy jeans

Dress for the job, particularly if you’re working in an office or corporate organisation. By not dressing professionally, you will give your Manager the impression that you aren’t taking the job seriously either. Ladies, get out the pencil skirt. Gents, button up your shirt (Yes, all the way. Unruly chest hair will also lose you points).

Run late

One of our Managers recounted how a new employee had missed his bus and worked himself into such a state that he threw up. Until you’re in the swing of the new job, allow yourself extra time. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. If you ruin your toast or get caught in a traffic jam you’ll be calm knowing that you had the time to spare. 

Not show up

Yes, it sounds ridiculous but more than one person told me that the worst thing a new employee had done was 'not show up'. If you decide the job isn’t for you, you owe them the courtesy of a phone call at the very least. And try not to call in sick. Colds are a fact of life but if you’re well enough to go to the mall for a coffee then sitting at a desk probably wasn’t beyond you.

Be a know-it-all

You might have been your old company’s best researcher. That doesn’t mean your new company does it the same way. Take the opportunity to listen, learn and grow. If it’s your second day and you’re telling your new boss that you’ve finished the project that was meant to take you two weeks, they won’t necessarily be impressed.

Bring your awkward habits

We all have our quirks but try to keep them to a minimum, at least until after you've passed the probation period. Don’t make odd noises (this is something I’m guilty of. It’s easy to forget you’re surrounded by bewildered colleagues). Try to keep your phone voice professional - don’t let your ‘mmm’ noises become too emphatic. Saying 'I like that' can be equally inappropriate - and, don’t talk to yourself, no matter how lonely you feel.

A new job is a daunting prospect; new people, new environment, new rules and a new way of doing things. But it also brings with it a fresh batch of opportunities. So don your best corporate-wear, show up and do so on time, listen and ditch the weird noises.


Today, a new job. Tomorrow, the world.

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire thought it sounded more impressive.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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