We’ve all been there—you land boots on the ground, your first day in a new job, and suddenly you feel like George or Georgette of the Jungle in concrete filled New York. Starting off in a new company is like traveling to a foreign country filled with bizarre animals, weird customs, and trees that seem too large to scale. You have no idea how anything works and everyone seems to be speaking in acronyms and hashtag tongues. Luckily, we’ve compiled this awesome guide to help you conquer the corporate jungle in your first week at a new job.
- Make friends with a Veteran.
This is the King to your Kong, a person with the wisdom and experience to help you navigate office politics so you learn the company lingo and inside jokes.
- Find the nearest watering hole.
Speaking of making friends, figure out the coffee situation pronto, and use the water cooler flow to engage in dialogue with coworkers. This is also a great place to befriend the office manager or receptionist (likely the person restocking the coffee) who can let you know where to find important tools in your corporate jungle arsenal like fresh pens and pencils or who to befriend in IT.
- Figure out your tree planting metrics.
The first day and week at a new job you will likely get a fair amount of time with your boss and/or new employees while being trained. Make sure to use this initial meeting to clarify expectations of how they view success, and set up regularly check-ins to ensure that those tree planting goals are met a week, a month, and three months out.
- Keep good hunting records.
Keep a brag file of your accomplishments and contributions from day one, including thank you emails, performance reports, and positive feedback. When it is time for your performance review, these hunting records will be an important part of your arsenal for negotiating a raise or promotion.
- Learn the jungle rhythm.
In the spirit of making a good first impression, make sure to be on time. Is this an early bird office? If so, don’t stroll in at 11 am and expect to stay until 9 pm. Or are your fellow night owls more than happy to greet you later in the day as long as you’re staying up to date with your work load? Figure out what the flock is doing and fly suit. Also stay mindful of taking time off from work especially in the first few weeks when it is important to be present and learn as much as you can. Which brings us to lesson number 6.
- Learn the canopy ropes by asking tons of questions.
You might be the new hire but don’t sit in silence. Ask questions, learn as much as you can about the company workflow, policies, and goals, and start contributing feedback from the beginning.
- Focus on learning the pecking order.
Questions are an important way to learn as much as you can in a new job (see #5 above), but don’t critique or question anyone’s authority in the first few weeks of a new job. You don’t want to seem threatening to the established hierarchy. Instead, focus on questions about process, and if you do make a suggestion don’t be bullheaded about it being implemented.
- Have fun and enjoy your new “workground.”
Mostly importantly, focus on being present by listening to what your colleagues and new environment have to offer. And have fun! You’ve earned this next step in your professional journey. Now enjoy the climb!