5 Job Survival Tips

Okay, so you finally found a job. Now what? Well, you show up for work and do your job, right? Yes, but that’s only half of it. Too many times new hires believe that once they land their first career-oriented job, the hard part is over. After all, if you’re qualified for the job then you should have no trouble doing the work.

But to be successful at a job takes more than just having the technical skills to do it. How you act (and re-act) at work is just as important as knowing how to build widgets (or whatever it is that you do). So to help you fine-tune your position at your new career digs here are 5 survival tips that are sure to keep you employed.

  1. Don’t Disregard the Culture
  2. Some people call it company culture, some call it politics or tradition, others are just so clueless they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. Regardless, every company has its own culture and it’s up to you to not only acknowledge it, but also figure out how you fit in. This includes adhering to the dress code at work, communicating the way everyone expects (i.e. emails over phone calls), participating in meetings, coming in early, leaving late, taking lunches together, socializing outside of work (i.e. joining the company softball team). These are the subtle things that aren’t usually described in a company handbook because they just tend to form organically over time. Be aware of every nuance when you start your job and then decide how you’ll retrofit yourself in. Whatever you do, DON’T ignore the fact that there is a company culture. You’ll be looked at as a non-team player.

  3. Avoid Being a Know-it-all
  4. Even if technically you know more than your boss don’t come into a new job with an egotistical attitude that you know more than everyone else. Because guess what? You really don’t. Just because you graduated in the top of your class doesn’t mean you know how to immediately incorporate your brilliant ideas into a company that’s been in operation since you were in diapers. Instead keep your ears and mind open and learn everything you can before you initiate change. If you’re expected to put in your two cents, do so humbly by prefacing it with something like, “Given what I know about the company so far…” Being humble wins fans way faster than being a jerk.

  5. Be Clear and Accountable
  6. Many times new hires are afraid to ask questions or admit mistakes because they don’t want to appear inept. But in reality everyone makes mistakes, so when they happen don’t try to avoid owning up to them. Take responsibility, be accountable and move on.

    But to avoid mistakes in the first place ask what’s expected of you up front. Make it clear from the get go what you understand going in to your new job. Don’t pretend like you know what’s going on even if you don’t. No one is going to think you’re incompetent for asking questions. And when possible, ask for feedback. Even when you do something right, you can still learn from it.

  7. Don’t Hibernate
  8. If you tend to be shy, your first instinct after you start your new job will be to hunker down and hibernate. Although you might think this makes you look like a hard worker, on the contrary you will appear to be stand-offish, timid, or maybe even a little arrogant (even though that’s not your intention at all).

    Instead force yourself to get acquainted with your co-workers. Have lunch in the company lunchroom, join the company softball team, volunteer for a committee. Use the same networking techniques to learn about the company culture and employees that you used to get your job. Just because you landed your new position doesn’t mean your networking is over.

  9. Put a Lid on the Chatter
  10. On the flipside of that, don’t go around talking everyone’s ear off to the point where people suddenly avoid you like you had Swine Flu. Be open and cordial without being overbearing. And please, don’t unveil your whole life’s story in the first five minutes of conversation. Save the really juicy parts for when you’re finally invited to join everyone for happy hour.

Having the right attitude and being able to adjust to the company culture can determine whether you’re going to have a long and happy tenure or if you’ll soon be beating the street looking for work again. Don’t make the mistake of coasting after you’ve landed your first big job. After all, you don’t want to have to update your resume again so soon, right?

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