If you’re kicking off a new career in an office but you’ve never worked in an office environment, you probably have a lot of questions. Learning the ropes at any new job can be intimidating, so here are tips you can use to navigate a career in an office position.
“Clarify and don’t make assumptions. Ask for feedback continuously and know how your being measured for success. Learn how your role impacts the companies strategic goals. Avoid the water cooler gossip.” Says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.
Ask Questions Before Your First Day
First impressions can be impossible to overcome, so make sure you’re clear on what’s expected of you on the first day. Ask questions about your start time, end time, dress code, parking, security and other protocols.
Observe the Power Structure
Office politics and power often run much deeper than someone’s job title. You never know who is really pulling the strings, so for your first few weeks do your best to stay quiet and observe. Get a feel for who has the boss’s ear, who the office gossips are (avoid these people), who gets things done, who pretends to get things done, etc. Be friendly but don’t form friendships or alliances too quickly, because you don’t want to earn the wrong reputation.
Accept Advice, But Don’t Take Shortcuts
Pay attention throughout training and make sure that you’re doing everything the way you were taught. Inevitably, “helpful” coworkers will offer advice on how to do things faster or better, but until you have a firm grasp of which shortcuts and workaround are truly acceptable, take the advice, thank them kindly, but continue on as you were taught.
When You Need Help, Ask
It can be intimidating to ask for help at a new job, but remember that no one expects you to know everything. If you need help or if you have a question, speak up. Asking for help and doing something correctly is always better than trying to figure it out on your own and making a grave mistake. Write down the answer so that you don’t have to repeat yourself later on – people are happy to help you once, but if you ask the same questions over and over, you’ll look incompetent.
Admit Mistakes Immediately
You will make mistakes from time to time and the best course of action is to speak up immediately. Ignoring mistakes can have far-reaching impacts across the department, and you don’t want to be the reason someone else ends up looking bad. Mistakes can be corrected so speak up, ask for help, and commit to correcting the issue moving forward.
If you want to have a successful career, you need to build a reputation as a teammate people can rely on, an employee who can be trusted with responsibility and a resource for people who have questions. Starting on day one, commit to getting your work done early, getting it done correctly, helping others when they could use a boost and volunteering for projects and tasks that may fall outside your core set of responsibilities.
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Contemporary Staffing connects job seekers to hiring managers nationally in the following professions: Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, IT, Salesforce, and Sales & Marketing.