All the right moves

Keep these tips in mind when be­gin­ning a new job

Los Angeles Times - - JOBS - — Marco Buscaglia, Tribune Con­tent Agency

Your col­lege days are fin­ished. No need for “real-world” cliches or di­rec­tives about “big-boy pants.” You know your life has changed. That new job re­in­forces it every day. And it’s not just the job. It’s the of­fice pol­i­tics and of­fice gos­sip and of­fice ro­mance — you get the idea. “That first job can be a real eye­opener,” says Travis New­man, a ca­reer coach in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia. “You feel like fo­cus­ing on the job is enough work on its own, but then you have to deal with a new set of work­place is­sues that re­quire a lit­tle strat­egy.”

New­man of­fers up a few tips for first­time full-timers, hop­ing they’ll help nav­i­gate those first few months on the new job.

1. Be so­cially cau­tious: Don’t be afraid to ask about the lives of your co-work­ers and get in­volved with the post-work events as many re­la­tion­ships are cre­ated out­side of reg­u­lar work­ing hours. Although it’s nice to get along with oth­ers, don’t feel like you have to cre­ate a col­lec­tion of new BFFs. “You don’t have to cre­ate a new in­ner-cir­cle of best friends. You just need to have peo­ple you work with who you trust and know,” New­man says. “It’s a lot eas­ier to go to work every day if you en­joy spend­ing time with your co-work­ers, but you don’t have to be­come life­long bud­dies.”

2. Fo­cus on your work: A lot of bad habits are cre­ated dur­ing the first month on the job. “New em­ploy­ees learn what is ex­pected of them and soon re­al­ize the hours of the day that they can spend fo­cus­ing on some­thing else,” New­man says. “Whether it’s fan­tasy foot­ball or emails to friends, you’ll set a bad prece­dent when you fill a chunk of your day with tasks that have noth­ing to do with work.” While New­man ac­knowl­edges that no one is ex­pected to fo­cus on their work from the very mo­ment they en­ter the of­fice to the time they leave, he says that if you start spend­ing an hour or more check­ing on sta­tuses of your Face­book friends, your work will be­gin to suf­fer.

3. De­velop a healthy re­la­tion­ship

with tech­nol­ogy: Use the lat­est apps and de­vices to your ben­e­fit but don’t be­come too re­liant on them. You’ll have plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to use the lat­est tech­nol­ogy at work but don’t let that be­come a hin­der­ance to what you need to ac­com­plish. “It’s OK to leave your cell phone be­hind every once in awhile when head­ing to a meet­ing or head over to a co-worker’s desk to talk about a project in­stead of com­mu­ni­cat­ing via only email,” New­man says. “Use tech­nol­ogy to en­hance your re­la­tion­ships and your pro­duc­tiv­ity. Don’t let it take over.”

4. Show up early: While many em­ploy­ees start their first few weeks by show­ing up 30 min­utes ahead be­fore their work­day be­gins, it’s usu­ally one of the first good habit that fades into mem­ory, es­pe­cially when those em­ploy­ees re­al­ize they’re the only peo­ple walk­ing into the of­fice at 8 a.m. “Get­ting into the of­fice early can have a pro­found ef­fect on your day. Not only will you have some time get caught up on your emails and to fin­ish those small tasks, you’ll ac­tu­ally get to gather your thoughts and map out a game plan for the day ahead,” New­man says. “You might be sur­prised how ef­fec­tive it can be to sim­ply type out a po­ten­tial sched­ule for the day once you see all of your work in front of you.”

5. Don’t en­gage in of­fice gos­sip. “It’s toxic and it can be­gin to af­fect you in ways you may not even re­al­ize,” New­man says. “You may not care that John Smith is get­ting a free pass on some of his work like your co-work­ers do but if you start to com­pare your work­load to his, and then no­tice how many trips he takes to the man­ager’s of­fice, how they of­ten go out for lunch to­gether — re­ally triv­ial stuff like that — it can be­come some­thing that con­sumes you. And then if you start talk­ing about it with oth­ers, you’re go­ing to rub some­one the wrong way. No one likes the of­fice gos­sip hound, es­pe­cially the one who has only been on the job for a few months.”

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