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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A New Job

10 April 2019
Zara Woodcock
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Starting a new job can be both exciting and terrifying. With the opportunity to start something new, it’s best to make sure you don’t make obvious mistakes that could affect your work life and relationships. You want to start off on the right foot and make a positive impression on your new boss and colleagues so here are five things you should avoid at your new job:

1. Don’t Show Up Late

It might sound obvious, but there are little things that could end up making you late. If it takes you 30 minutes for you to get to work, give yourself an extra 20 minutes. You never know where and when there are road works, delays, and closures. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Showing up late of the first day (or even the first month) is going to make a negative impression, even if it was out of your hands. Your employer will not care about excuses, just the fact that you are late. To ensure you won’t be late, test drive the route to your new job. If you don’t drive, test the buses and trains as the estimated travel times you find on Google Maps and Citymapper isn’t always accurate.


2. Don’t Get Involved In Office Gossip/Politics

Although making new friends is extremely important, try not to take part when colleagues start complaining, talking about other people, or discussing rumours about your bosses. It might be the easiest way to feel relatable but can backfire if colleagues and bosses overhear. Some of your colleagues will have grown cynical after being in the company for years, so it’s better to keep an open mind when you only just started.

Beginning your new career by gossiping and getting political will surely leave a bad impression on your boss. People may begin to assume you are a slacker or untrustworthy. You may learn some valuable information about your boss or your role but keep that information to yourself.


3. Don’t Dress Unprofessionally

If your new company has a dress code, follow it. You may notice that other colleagues are not following the dress code as seriously but keep to the code until you are no longer a new colleague and maybe beginning to change your uniform. Nowadays, a lot of companies have a very casual dress code, which makes life a little easier and a little more comfortable. However, don’t take advantage of this by showing up in slippers and khakis just because it is hot outside. You still need to keep a level of professionalism that not only leaves a good impression on other people but will make you feel good as well.

Smart casual might be the best approach. For example, outfits like jeans and a sweater, a mid-length dress, trousers and a casual shirt may be professional enough to wear to work every day. If you’re still unsure, check your contract or ask your boss to make sure you understand what constitutes acceptable attire for your new workplace.


4. Not Appreciating The New Opportunity

A lot of the time, your first actual job is not going to be your dream job. That doesn’t mean you should put in half the effort or treat it as a temporary situation (even if it is). An opportunity is an opportunity and if it’s really that bad, you’re still getting paid, right? The skills you learn from this job will most likely be useful and transferable for your next job and having new things on your CV could potentially land you the job you actually want.

Running meetings, putting together presentations/projects, dealing with clients, or even just getting on with your work at the new company will look great on your CV and improve your professionalism. Not putting in your all can only affect you negatively as leaving a bad impression would mean possibly not getting a good reference when looking for a new job opportunity. Furthermore, when colleagues and managers assume you don’t care, they will stop involving you in important things. How are you supposed to learn?


5. Not Asking Questions

Most likely, when you start your new job, there will be a lot of vital information that your boss will forget to tell you. You can’t expect to begin a role and know how to do everything immediately. Furthermore, every company has a different style and way of completing tasks. It might seem like basic questions, but if you don’t know the answer, is it really a basic question? Rather than making extreme mistakes that could cost you your job or cost your company time, ask the questions that has been brewing in your mind.

Additionally, your boss may have not mentioned when the work day finishes, where the toilets are and even how to access the building. Save yourself the trouble and ask away. No one will expect you to know everything. It’s not taboo to admit you need help or clarification as everyone has once been in your shoes and will be happy to share their expertise.


More information on new jobs

Looking for more information on starting a new career?  Check out the mistakes to avoid when applying for a job, which lists the common and not-so-common mistakes people make when writing CV’s and cover letters.