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Okay be honest with me now: how awkward are you? Are we talking fun-awkward, like going in for a high-fve when someone wants a handshake? Or is it an I-accidentally-left-the-house-with-two-different-shoes kinda awkward? Don’t worry, we’ve all (OK, I have) been there.
Wherever you sit on the awkward spectrum, meeting and getting to know new people can vary from being walk-in-the-park easy, to a little stressful, to a sweaty kind of challenging. Especially when it involves making a good impression at a new job.
You know the phrase: first impressions are important. They dictate how people will treat you for the rest of your working days, and (unfortunately) a bad first impression can even impact on future friendships, relationships and job opportunities.
No one ever wants to come across as a suck up, so it’s important not to overdo it on your first day. Here’s a few tips that will help get you through it.
Don’t bring treats
For people-pleasers like myself, it’s always hard to stop yourself from going overboard. I know it’s tempting to bake an entire batch of mint chocolate chip brownies for everyone on your first day, but TBH, it kinda makes you look a little too keen.
If you’re worried that not bringing anything on your first day might make you come across a little cold, try this solution: offer them gum instead. It’s an undisputed fact that everyone likes someone who has gum, and if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to whip out your 14-pack of Wrigley’s Extra Peppermint Gum and help soothe the masses. They’re bound to be grateful.
Even though it might seem intimidating as hell – and you’d rather crawl into a corner and recite the lyrics to Justin Beiber’s ‘Sorry’ for all eternity – you should really try to be vocal in your first meeting.
Setting yourself up as a diligent person who starts initiatives is always a winning strategy. When another colleague is yammering on about a problem they’re facing, try and think laterally and offer some solutions. Speaking up on that first day is guaranteed to put you in the good books, especially if you’ve got something choice to add to the conversation.
To help get out of your shell on your first day (and to distract yourself from the onslaught of information you’ve just been given) start by asking your colleagues for good lunch spot recommendations.
Nothing gets people more excited than talking about food, especially food that’s in a two-block radius to the office. And if you’re lucky, you might even snag a lunch buddy in the process. Bonus!
And your boss?
Yeah, so, winning over your new boss is an entirely different mountain to climb.
A good place to start is by figuring out their communication preference. Is it by email? Is it face-to-face? Via text? Gchat? Snapchat? While I can only imagine the issues you’re facing using Snapchat as your sole means to contact your boss, at least you’ll be communicating. And that’s key.
Once you figure out which way your boss likes to go about their business, it’ll save time in the long run.
I know it sounds wanky, but honour your commitments! If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t forget about it and make someone chase you for it.
Treat your first day at a new job like the first day of school. Hit up Officeworks and grab all the stationery, folders and notepads you’ll need to keep your shit together. This means that when people start asking you to do stuff, you can write it down and remember it.
Also, over-deliver on promises. That project isn’t due ’til next week? Deliver it early and reap the rewards.
Keep calm and repeat after me
“I am strong, independent and sassy. All I can be is myself.” Unless you can be Beyoncé, then always be Beyoncé.
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