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First week at work? Make a GREAT impression!

Last updated on: September 23, 2013 15:52 IST

First week at work? Make a GREAT impression!

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Sandeep Goyal and Carol Goyal

Authors of the book You're Hired! tell you what you must do and avoid in your first few days of work. Click here to read an excerpt from the book!

Authors of the book You're Hired! Sandip Goyal and Carol Goyal tell you all that you must do and everything you should avoid in your first few days of work.

The first few days at a new job are always tricky. New colleagues, new work culture and the excitement of the uncertain. How do you reach out to your colleagues and not come across as being an eager beaver? What conversations should you engage in and what are the ones you must totally avoid? What constitutes as gossip and what doesn’t?

Sandip Goyal and Carol Goyal address all these issues and more in their book You're Hired!

In a guest column, the Goyals write about the dos and don’ts of the first few days at a new workplace.


A new job. A new workplace.

A new environment. A new daily routine.

A new set of colleagues. A new boss.

It's a transition, actually metamorphosis, from student life to work life

If you've recently been hired and are about to join the organisation, here are just a few things you need to watch out for.

The most important, never-to-forget idiom is: Do in Rome as the Romans do.

Just try to blend in -- see what is the normal, accepted etiquette of your new work place and just do what the others are doing.

That is the easiest way to settle in. And, you must be quick at it.

Still anxious? Follow these five DOs and DON’Ts and ensure that the first few months will turn out to be a breeze.

(Sandeep Goyal and Carol Goyal recently co-authored You’re Hired!, a book on simulated interviews for first time job seekers. Sandeep is Chairman Mogae Media, while Carol his daughter is a law student at Symbiosis Pune.)

Please click NEXT to continue reading...

Purchase a copy of the book here!


Photographs: Anicaps Le Forum/Creative Commons

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The DOs to follow in your first week of work

1. Be yourself!

Neither too outgoing (talkative) nor too quiet

Just behave normally.

Don’t put on an accent (very important!).

Don’t talk too much (either out of nervousness, or sheer excitement or both).

Speak when spoken to.

Don’t give monosyllabic answers or get too long winded. Engage in normal conversation.

Also don’t go out of your way to go and say ‘hullo’ to everyone.

By and by you will meet everyone, get to know them. There is no hurry.

Barging into cabins of senior colleagues or randomly shaking everyone’s hands at the cafeteria will not earn you any brownies.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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2. Be communicative

Have a short intro, a firm handshake and a smile always ready.

It is best to have a short intro.

"Hi ! I am Rahul Gupta, Management Trainee in the Marketing department."

A firm handshake, and a smile is all that is needed.

Avoid stuff like, "I am an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Bombay, and Stephens Delhi before that.”

No need to proffer at first go. Say so only if asked.

Ditto for, "I am from Indore. Our family though originally hails from Punjab."

No need to state unnecessary personal details when not asked for.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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3. Be appropriately dressed

Your student days are over, so are the sneakers'.

It is time to be dressed right, groomed right.

After all first impressions count!

No tees, no sneakers, no floaters for sure (except ad agencies perhaps?!).

No loud shirts too.

In some banks, if everyone is wearing a jacket and / or tie, then that is the norm: You too wear one.

In most sales jobs and management jobs, an overnight stubble is frowned at. Avoid.

Tips for ladies : Dress smart. Westerns don’t mean tees and jeans.

A Punjabi suit is formal enough if you are comfortable in it. Or else, get yourself a nice set of Western formals.

Greys, dark blue, black, brown are all formal colours.

Avoid loud reds, or heavy prints. Also, light make-up please. No chunky jewelry, no jangling bangles!

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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4. Be punctual

Buy a watch if you don’t have one. And an alarm clock too!

One of the worst ways to start on your career journey is by reporting late to work.

This is the surest way to earn yourself a black mark.

Structured organisations, especially those in manufacturing or service domains, mark this out as a sure sign of indiscipline.

Think of it : Suppose you work at a bank.

The bank opens to public at 10 am. You report to work half an hour late.

Customers are already queuing up; what do you think your boss will have to say?

Coming late is bad enough; making lame excuses -- too much traffic, the rain, Ganesh processions, VIP movement etc etc --- only moves you to an even more slippery situation.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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5. Be participative

Raise your hand when asked. Be counted.

We will repeat here what we said earlier -- just behave normally.

In a work situation, in a new team, talk and behave just normally.

Being too quiet or shy won’t help.

You are expected to open up, speak up and contribute to a discussion. Yes, of course, don’t speak just for the sake of speaking.

There are no marks here or internal assessment for class participation. Also, don’t over-reach beyond your station in the organisation.

Speak when asked. Observe. Listen.

Say your bit wherever necessary. No more. No less.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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Meanwhile, beware of the following in your first week:

1. Don’t be smart-alecky

Smart alecs or loud mouths tend to get into problems, sooner rather than later.

We know of a case where a newcomer made a wisecrack on someone’s dress sense in the office cafeteria.

The subject of the sneer was the Technical Director of the company.

He complained to the HR department.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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2. Don’t be pushy

Recently, a new Management Trainee made six trips in a week to the HR department seeking ‘clarifications’ on his appointment letter.

He was back every other day wanting to know where he would be posted after the initial training at the factory.

He was told he would be informed when everyone else was.

As if that was not enough, he went scurrying to see the Sales Head almost every other hour with ‘thoughts’ and ‘ideas’.

Word got around very quickly.

Soon every department, every branch office informed the HR department that they would rather not have the new MT on their team.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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3. Don’t be nosy

A young lady MBA who joined a multinational bank soon became good pals with the bevy of secretaries, and started to gossip with them at lunch, and in the ladies.

She enjoyed the easy banter.

Soon those kind of loose conversations was initiated with other colleagues: Your boss' salary? Does he have a girl friend? Why does that lady manager spend so much time with the MD?

The HR head soon summoned our young lady MBA and read out the riot act to her.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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4. Don’t be negative

Don't take it upon yourself to be the voice of pessimism or negativism.

"A product similar to this one failed in the US."

“The dollar will kill our company.”

"Management is not watching the Sensex."

You may actually be right sometimes but to look or sound like you are full of negative thoughts is hardly likely to win you friends in your new work place.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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5. Don’t be absent

You will be surprised at the number of newcomers who play truant from office!

This new Sales Trainee was absent last month for six days -- unwell one day; sister had a baby boy -- gone for two days; uncle passed away another day; friend’s wedding on yet another day; Ganesh puja at home for one more day of absentations.

Leave-without-pay was a natural corollary.

More importantly, his boss asked for him to be transferred or sacked as he had been missing from assigned work for far too many days.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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