By Caroline Levchuck
Starting a new job can be exciting -- and a bit nerve-racking. In addition to having to master new tasks and understand new procedures, you'll have to navigate an often complex social network that exists at the company.
Use these five dos and five don'ts to make your transition from new hire to trusted colleague.
1. Act friendly at all times, even if you're feeling frazzled from all the new information you're trying to process.
2. Be inquisitive with your coworkers. Make small talk about popular television shows ("Did anyone watch 'The Office' last night?") or sporting events to spark conversations that are cordial without being too personal.
3. Ask your new coworkers to recommend good places to grab a cup of coffee, buy breakfast, eat lunch and shop. This will help you gain common social ground with colleagues and may also spark an invitation to one of the venues.
4. Give colleagues time to warm up to you gradually.
5. Bring in a tasty treat from home to leave in the lunchroom for all to enjoy. Cupcakes, cookies or fresh fruit are always crowd-pleasers.
1. Don't insinuate yourself into other people's personal conversations. If you're perceived as invasive, it will be hard to win your coworkers' trust.
2. Don't expect to immediately hear all the strange-but-true tales that involve your colleagues. You'll learn all about the infamous holiday party of 2007 soon enough.
3. Don't constantly reference your former place of employment. ("At my last job, we did things this way.") You'll cause coworkers to wonder why you don't go back to work there.
4. Don't start inviting people to come see your band play or watch your off-off-off-Broadway debut. Wait for others to express an interest in your extracurricular pursuits before assuming they want to be in the audience.
5. Don't immediately ask people to join your online network (BeKnown, Facebook, Plaxo). Your network should consist of people with whom you have a relationship rather than just someone who happens to have the same employer as you.
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