Your First Year on the Job:
Some Job Advice
You Arrive on the Job
to do While on the Job
Initial impressions on a new job are important. Here are some guidelines:
You Arrive on the Job
have the job offer and are excited about the opportunity, but don't know
where to start. Begin by thinking about the things that you'll need to do
before you move. Finding an apartment is a good start. There are some
employers who will assist you with this process, so begin by asking if your
new employer will make a referral. Web sites abound on the subject of real
estate, allowing you to conduct on-line apartment searches. However, you
will need to visit the area to secure an apartment, as tiny pictures and
brief descriptions on the internet can often be deceiving. Below are some
general apartment websites:
United States Apartment
to Live-A local real estate agent will be happy to show you property
rentals. Consider location, commuting distance to work, property amenities,
and population demographics. Take some time to closely evaluate your new
salary and create a monthly budget so you know what price range you can
afford when apartment hunting. One commonly used rule of thumb is to spend
no more than 40% of your take-home pay on housing/apartment rent.
creating a budget, be sure to work with your net income - after deducting
things like taxes, insurance, benefits, savings/retirement investments.
Usually, this computes to approximately 30% less than your gross salary.
Begin by making a list of all of your essential expenses - things like rent,
car, insurance, utilities, gas, groceries, clothes, student loans, and
savings. After calculating the net income you have "left over," consider
those additional expenses like parking, newspaper, eating out, cellular
phone, gym membership, doctor visits, birthday/holiday gifts, and credit
card payments. The point being there will always be extra things you want to
spend your money on, but prioritizing your expenses will allow you to get a
better picture of your financial status.
Cards-A word of caution about credit cards. Credit cards are abundantly easy
to obtain while you're in college, so seize the opportunity and obtain one.
However, carefully consider the fine print and analyze terms such as grace
periods, billing dates, late fees, and teaser rates. Realize that it's much
easier to use this piece of plastic recklessly, so a credit card spending
strategy should be considered. A simple strategy is to create a "credit
card" folder. Immediately after you've exercised your "plasticity," write a
check to cover the expense, attach it to your receipt, and place it in your
credit card folder. This will help you build your credit rating, maintain
your bank account, and stay out of credit card misery. Credit cards are
conveniences that have become a necessity in the business world. Be sure to
use them wisely so that you can tame "The Plastic Monster." Belopw are a couple of articles about the college student and credit cars.
"College Student Warnings
"Credit Card Smarts"-by CollegeBoard.com
and Investing-An important, often overlooked item by new college graduates
is saving and investing. To drive home the importance of understanding the
"time value" of money, let's consider this example. Sally and Frank are each
22 years old and plan to work until they are 65. Sally opens a qualified
retirement plan at 12% and invests $2,000 a year for six years, then STOPS.
Frank SPENDS that extra $2,000 a year on himself for the first six years,
then opens a qualified retirement plan at 12% and invests $2,000 a year for
the next 37 years. Sally has invested only $12,000, compared to Frank who
has invested $74,000. However, at 65 years of age, Sally has accumulated
$1,348,440, nearly IDENTICAL to Frank's accumulation of $1,363,780!
Benefits-Understanding your benefits is crucial to getting a good start with
your new employer. Hearing terms such as indemnity, PPO, HMO, POS, PCP,
COBRA, FSA, 401K, and 403B being thrown around at employee orientation as if
they are second nature can be an intimidating experience. Don't worry, a
list of these terms and their basic meanings are provided at the end of this
document. Realize that if something remains unclear to you regarding your
benefits package, you can schedule a time to meet with your friendly human
resources representative. Remember, more often than not, employers aren't
going to spoon-feed you this information. Be proactive - research the terms
to understand meaning, carefully read through your employee handbook, and
develop a list of questions prior to new employee orientation.
First Year Mistakes
First Year is Different
is a transition stage; you are not a college student anymore but not yet
first year is a ďbreaking inĒ stage
how to establish yourself and learn the way things are done
credibility and respect
important time for your career ladder
it Really Matter?
The way you enter an organization will have a major impact on your
depends on impressions you make
suggests how you approach your first year will have major impact on your
salary, advancement, and ability to move within the organization
challenge is to use strategies to establish yourself as a bright,
capable and valuable.
can take years to recover from a bad start
1. Slow Down-Thoughts are you must make a ďBig SplashĒ to impress
your company. If you do this before you have earned acceptance and truly
understand the company, chances are you will embarrass yourself. What
makes the most positive impression is not showing how much you know, but
rather demonstrating the maturity to know how much you donít know!
2. Learn the Culture-Every company has its own personality and
culture and set of rules, often unspoken. Pay attention to the way
things are done. Learn what the norms are and how other behave. For
example, one new hire was quick to criticize a project only to find out
that it was started by one of his senior managers! Remember you canít
change the culture until you are accepted into it.
3. Manage a Good Impression-You are in a fish bowl your first
year. Many will be assessing your ability to succeed. Build a good
professional record. You want your co-workers to notice your
professional maturity, not your college ways. They want to see a
readiness to change and an attitude that is realistic about your role.
4. Learn the Art of Being New-Requires a new way of thinking.
Accept your role as a newcomer. You must learn the tasks of the
organization as well as the ďrites of passage.Ē
5. Manage Your Expectations-Major frustration of new graduates is
their expectations are not met. Keep them realistic and expect to be
surprised. The image the recruiter painted is probably not quite
realistic and it is doubtful you will receive the same attention you did
when you were being recruited. Real world is different than college. The
job probably wonít be as glamorous as you thought. People skills and
teamwork are crucial. Many college grads say the challenges are
different than they expected. More pressure, hrs. and types of tasks
6. Become a Savvy Subordinate-The single most important person is
your new boss. Be sure what you do supports your boss. Learn what your
boss wants and expects and bring solutions not problems. You canít be a
good leader until you have been a good follower. A bad boss is not a
legitimate excuse for a poor performance. It is your responsibility to
make the first year transition a success.
is a Different World
have 17 years in education-hard to let go
be surprised to learn that many of the skills you acquired in college
are rarely the ones needed in the workplace
you have the same expectations of your supervisor as you did your
college professor you will be greatly disappointed
the culture of work and donít embarrass yourself by taking classroom
behavior into the workplace
are taught to argue your point with a college professor-try that with
your supervisor. No syllabus to follow. At work Aís only are accepted.
College was an individual effort and work is a team effort.
go of those old college ways.
Steps to First Year Success
the right attitudes
the impression you make
a good follower
your organizationís culture
your new role
the tasks of your job
the knowledge, skills, and abilities you need
What to do
to work early. You could come in ten minutes late and work one hour late,
but youíll still leave a negative impression. Coming in early makes a much
better impression; ask any supervisor.
to work every day. Donít call in sick, stranded, needed elsewhere or waiting
for a fire truck. Do not miss any work on account of illness ever, if
possible, but especially not during first year. Make dental, doctor, lawyer
and wedding dress fitting appointments after work or during lunch hour. Be
assured that should you ever need a reference or recommendation, the first
two questions asked will be about promptness and attendance.
courteous, friendly and helpful. Smile and say hello to everyone every time
you seen them, whether you know them or not. Remember the names of those to
whom you are introduced; jot down names until you remember them. Open doors;
help finish reports; assist on projects; thank those who help you; and look
for opportunities to offer sincere praise to the boss, the secretary, the
custodian and everyone in between.
friendly, but not friends. Go to lunch with colleagues or boss (remember
that you should never invite your boss out to lunch before he/she invites
you), but donít make it a regular habit, and be especially careful not to
become identified with any cliques. Do not ever go drinking with them. Donít
reveal your weaknesses. Once they realize what your weaknesses are, your
co-workers will begin to exploit them, whether consciously or unconsciously.
This is not cynicism, but a most painful truth. It should go without saying,
but never become romantically entangled with anyone at your office,
especially your boss. This can be suicide for your career.
your personal life private. You will be tempted to share personal
information with friendly, warm and well-meaning colleagues. Unless you want
your private life discussed by all your co-workers, donít open up life to
loyal to the absent. (Donít gossip!) Never talk about anyone in his/her
absence, and when you hear others gossiping or criticizing others behind
their backs, defend the victim. This will offend no one, and you will gain a
reputation as a person of integrity.
as well as or better than your co-workers. Remember that you dressed up for
the interview to create a favorable impression. Consider a professional
wardrobe as an investment rather than an expense. Some people rebel against
dressing for success. They feel that ďsubstanceĒ should count for more than
ďimage.Ē In the perfect world, this may be true, but the workplace is far
from a perfect world. If you want to advance in your career, you must invest
the time, energy and money it takes to dress the part.
and laugh softly, seldom and when appropriate. Never tell off-color, sexist
or racist jokes; if exposed to them, politely excuse yourself. Compulsive
and/or loud talking or laughing annoys others, wastes time and reveals
insecurity. Pay attention to your own talking and laughing habits, and take
move too fast. For the first month or two, say very little, ask a lot of
questions, but donít offer suggestions or opinions unless asked. This is
often the most difficult thing for a recent graduate to do, because in the
academic environment you are taught to debate, offer suggestions and find a
quick solution to problems. The very thing that you have spent years
perfecting becomes the least valuable attribute to the new employee! Listen
and watch for clues as to which behaviors are valued and which will get you
for feedback. As often as you feel it is appropriate, ask how you are doing.
Ask your co-workers and your supervisor for constructive criticism, and then
accept it and use it. Donít get defensive, offer explanations, get angry or
embarrassed. Being able to take criticism and suggestions for improvement is
the mark of a mature person and will go far to cementing your place in the
honest with yourself and others. Telling lies, deliberately misrepresenting
or hiding facts may be the quickest way to the unemployment office. That
goes without saying. But there is another kind of lie that can get you into
just as much trouble, and that is the lie you tell when you make a promise
that you donít keep. If you arenít positive that you can deliver the goods
as promised, donít make the promise.
potential conflict early. If you start feeling stressed, angry, confused or
resentful; if you begin to drink heavily or rely on drugs; if you experience
health problems, especially headaches, stomach problems or back problems,
seek help from a therapist, a member of the clergy, or a trusted friend.
Most companies have either insurance coverage or an employee assistance
program, but even if they donít, get help before you fall into a pattern.
Many lives are turned around by simple techniques for communicating more
effectively. On the other hand, chronic stress may be a signal that your job
is not the right match for you.
for the Future During Your First Year on the Job-By Barbara Mulligan and
the First Year on the Job-From Monstertrak.com.
Critical First Year on the Job-The first year on the job may not be what
you expected. Great easy to use site.