Dear Barb – Fitting in at a new job

Dear Barb;

I will be starting a new job next week. In my last job I had problems with my boss right from the beginning. I can’t say specifically what the problems were, but they seemed to begin on day one. I’d like to avoid problems in this job. Are there any suggestions you can make that would help me start this job out on the right path? I will be looking forward to your reply.

Jeremy in Kingsville.

Hi Jeremy. Congratulations on your new job.

Beginning a new job can be very stressful. For this reason many people spend years at jobs they hate, since they know what to expect every day when they go to work. As you know your first days and weeks at a job will leave a lasting impact on your coworkers and especially your boss. Therefore you are right in acknowledging the importance of first impressions.

There are several tips I can suggest to assist you in starting out on the right path with your new employer. First of all, be confident and show it. There is nothing more impressive than a person who portrays confidence. As a result they are seen as capable, knowledgeable individuals. Along the same line, smile often and exhibit a positive attitude. Enthusiasm is catchy. Also dress appropriately. It is important that you fit in, don’t over dress or under dress. If you dress in a careless manner, you may be perceived as being careless and sloppy in your work habits. Another good practice is when introduced to coworkers to strive to remember their names as quickly as possible. Taking into consideration how many coworkers you have, you may not accomplish this immediately, but you should be able to at least know the names of your direct coworkers within a short time. Another good practice is not to participate in office gossip. Do your best to stay neutral in any ongoing conflict in your work place.

If you are in doubt about some aspect of your job, ask questions. You will find people generally respond favorably to being asked for help. On the other hand beginning a new job with an arrogant or know-it-all attitude, will immediately rub coworkers the wrong way and put them on the defensive.

Try not to complain about your present or previous supervisors. This will reflect badly on your character. Moreover, you never know what type of relationship your coworkers have with your boss. A blunder here could definitely start you off on the wrong path.

Punctuality is important. Don’t be the last to arrive in the morning or the first to leave at the end of the day. In addition, try to include yourself in after hours social activities. This is an opportunity to become a part of the team and get to know your coworkers on a more personal level. However, when you are out socially, it’s a good idea to only have one or two drinks. You don’t want to do something that will cause your coworkers, or your boss, to view you in an unfavorable manner as this memory will not be erased easily.

Finally Jeremy it is a good idea to set up regular meetings with your boss, at least initially until you are confident you are doing what is expected of you.

Good luck Jeremy. I hope these tips will help you to begin your new job on the right foot.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.