How To Start Off Well at Your New Job

Rookie of the Year

Being a rookie is never easy. And when it’s on the job, it’s not like school, where a shrug or a non-response is an acceptable excuse for mistakes. This is real life!

So, it’s your first time on the job. What do you do? Think! Yes, and think hard! Because what you exude will make or break you.

This is where the adage--First impressions last--holds true. Thus, it is crucial to carefully choose your words, gestures and even choice of conversation topics. So, what are the right steps to becoming the best and not the beast rookie?

Here are a few points:

  1. Treat everyone well. This simply means that you should be polite. Don’t be overly nice, though, especially not to your boss. Or this may catapult you to the top of the list of people your office mates despise.
  2. Don’t be a yenta. Avoid crowds where idle talk takes place. Instead, create a culture of not commenting about a topic that would not cultivate a good atmosphere for everyone. Though gossip is tempting, don’t say anything when you have nothing good to say.
  3. Come on time. Never be late! Your boss is most likely to notice people who are punctual. Punctuality refers not only to attendance, but also to a respect for deadlines and prompt responses to requests.
  4. Walk an extra mile. Take on tasks above and beyond the ordinary. And stay in the office later when tasks need to be accomplished ASAP. A boss always recognizes extra effort and this will lead him to think that you are intelligent, smart and trustworthy. Develop a sincere commitment to your work and this will naturally shine through.
  5. Express your thoughts. The only way that your boss is going to find out what you are capable of doing is when you perform or say your thoughts out loud. Shyness will not take you anywhere but if you push yourself a little more to suggest a brilliant idea you have come up with, then it might get you places. And you will not be tagged as the ‘silent one’ – now, you don’t want to be called that or do you?
  6. Volunteer! Although this may not sound very appealing to most, one good way to get noticed when you are a novice is to be seen. A great way to do this is to volunteer to take on a new task. However, here’s a word of caution: Don’t volunteer if you are not sure you can handle the situation. The whole point of volunteering is to let them know that you are capable of doing something beneficial. And that they need you. You don’t want to give them the impression that they made a mistake in hiring you.
  7. Don’t be a deadbeat employee. Avoid being a liability. If your boss is always late, that is not reason enough for you to be late, too. Well, he’s the leader and you just follow, you say? Then, you are no better than him and do not deserve more than what you have now. Remember: No pain, no gain.
  8. Avoid complaining. If you can help it, don’t complain. Instead, give solutions and do not present problems as you see them.
  9. Learn to communicate. Communicate politely, properly and clearly, not just to people in authority, but also to your colleagues. Being rude will never help. Choose good timing for a conversation (depending on your topic). Talk with ease and calm. A good communicator will always be understood and is most likely to be tapped when ideas are solicited.
  10. Dress your dream post. A strong hint of what you want to be ten years from now is best shown through the way you dress. If you dress down all the time, your capacity for authority and responsibility may not show through the clothes. Dressing well suggests leadership and responsibility. And don’t show cleavage unless your position calls for you to do that.

All I'm really saying is: "Don't just be a rookie." Instead, be someone worth keeping.


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Thanks for all your comments. Waheed, you are right. It's no good being too extreme about things.

By Cherry Ozoa

What has more helped me in all my new assignments is that I keep a balance between being an observer and an active performer in those first days of daily office tasks. Going too far in either direction in the very beginning leads to trouble, but after you get familiar with everything, it is a good idea to consider point No. 4 (Walk an extra mile, as you have rightly put it.). Very good points indeed. Thanks.

By Waheedullah Aleko

I find your article very clear and easy to follow. We often find ourselves in a new situation not just the office and this applies too.

By Mary Norton