Thinking of making a career move? There can be numerous upsides to starting a new job: a fresh culture, new relationships and colleagues, and (hopefully) exciting pay and benefits. There are plenty of things to do on your first day at a new job to set yourself up for success, too. However, it's important to remember that new beginnings require a fresh perspective, too.
For instance, you may have formed bad habits at your previous job. Maybe you got too comfortable, or maybe you started getting lazy towards the end of it because your morale was low. Whatever the case, a new position is the perfect opportunity to do away with those habits and have a fresh start.
What Should Avoid When Starting a New Job?
There are several obvious things you shouldn't do a new job — like complain about your old job, gossip, come in late, etc. But there are also some not-so-obvious behaviors you should avoid, too. Avoiding the following five behaviors will help set you up for success earlier on in your new job.
1. Acting Impulsively
Landing a new job is exciting, but sometimes it can embolden us to make poor, impulsive decisions. You may, for instance, feel tempted to announce your new job immediately. However, it’s better to wait on these announcements, especially in contract positions. After all, you might receive a counter-offer, or you may realize the new position isn’t what you expected.
If you're wondering if you should give notice before leaving, the answer is a resounding yes. Why? Well, if you don't, you're kissing that professional reference goodbye. Secondly, proper notice promotes stability for your coworkers and manager. Burning bridges, however tempting, isn't the answer. Plus, you may need those bridges in the future.
2. Forming Immediate Relationships
Professional friendships are undoubtedly important, and workplaces with strong communities are thought to be more productive and engaged. So, you may be ready to become friends with people on the first day at your new job.
Don't—at least, not yet. Work should be your highest priority when starting a new job, because those first few weeks will really prove whether or not you're a good fit. The compromise? Meet your colleagues, show you're a diligent worker, and let friendships form organically.
This is also good advice for workplaces with a political nature. After all, you never know what politics are at play when you start a new job. Be polite, and spend time learing about everyone's roles. You'll naturally find your flow in the company culture.
3. Not Asking for Help
Asking for help feels uncomfortable, but it is crucial in any position. Although we’re eager to show our expertise, there's nothing wrong with vulnerability. You’ll never know everything about a new position, so why pretend?
Asking for help will allow you to form relationships with your team built on understanding and trust. If you don't know who to consult, or if you have specific goals in mind, consider finding a mentor. Allow yourself to grow your existing skillsets as well as new ones.
Even if you're an open book with friends, you shouldn't be quite so candid at work, especially with your boss or bosses. You want your leaders to look at you professionally. If you're constantly bringing personal issues to the office, however, your managers may feel you can't adequately handle responsibility. There are just some things you shouldn't share about yourself at work.
On the other hand, if you're managing employees, it’s important to remember they are working for you, instead of looking for a friend. By all means, listen to your employees and give them advice, but as a manager, you have a responsibility to avoid oversharing. Even if your words seem harmless, consider first if they could be perceived in a negative way. Remember, your employees are trusting you to treat them with dignity and respect.
5. Taking Advantage
With the Internet, jobs are far more flexible than they've ever been. Many positions give us the freedom of a healthy work-life balance through nontraditional benefits.
While you should never take advantage of employee privileges, you certainly don’t want to over-utilize your benefits when you begin a new job. Many privileges are created for special circumstances (e.g. remote capabilities, unlimited paid leave, flexible hours, etc.), so it’s important to appreciate these freedoms, rather than abuse them. Then, when you really need them, they'll be available.
The Bottom Line
You may feel you've made mistakes in previous positions. We've all done things we could have done differently, but mistakes do allow us to revise and go into the next job with a renewed sense of self.
If you're about to start a new job, take the lessons you've learned and the tips we've discussed today, and apply them to your new position. Start your dream job on the right foot.
Kaitlin Westbrook is a content writer for Vecteezy.com. She covers business, creative content, professional writing, and more. When she’s not writing, she enjoys movies, baking, and her Pomeranian. You can connect with her on Twitter.