The other day a coworker mentioned that today would be my one month anniversary at my job. I couldn’t believe it. In some ways it seems like I just started yesterday. When I was on the subway home from work tonight I jotted down a few reflections about being the new person in the office:
1. Just Google it.
A wise friend of mine once told me about an acronym her coworkers use, JGI, otherwise known as Just Google It. You should ask questions when you’re new, but save your questions for those that have to do with company procedures and things that you can’t Google. Example: What time do people usually get to work? (Ask it!) What’s the Excel command for counting the number of characters in a cell? (JGI.)
2. Say “good morning” and “good evening.”
This is a very simple way to get to know people and come off as the friendly person you (hopefully) are. When you get into work in the morning, say “good morning” to people that you see. When you leave, say “good evening” to people you see. Simple. You learned it at a young age.
3. Learn every person’s name.
People really like it when you call them by their name. Life is less awkward when you know people’s names. Try to remember people’s names when you’re introduced to them on their first day, but, when in doubt, use the team page or company bios to learn people’s names (similar to the Devil Wears Prada scene where Andi and Emily go to the party with Miranda and have to whisper the names of the people she’s about to greet). I must admit that I still don’t know everyone’s name, but at Dip Day I recommended that I start calling people by the dip they brought in. I haven’t tried it yet and think that once I meet a few more people I’ll know all of their real names (sorry, Skinny Hot Spinach Dip aka Samantha).
4. Eat lunch with people.
Lunchtime is a great time to get to know your coworkers without talking about work. If people usually go out to lunch ask someone if they want to go to lunch with you. If people usually pack lunch and eat together go join them. They probably won’t pull a Mean Girls and say, “You can’t sit with us.” If they do, you have bigger problems then who to sit with because your coworkers aren’t very nice.
5. Get organized.
The best way to stay organized is to get organized right from the beginning. Create Gmail or Outlook folders, create the organized email inbox you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl, make desktop folders and a document filing system—in short, go crazy.
6. Take outfit cues from your boss.
No, this doesn’t mean you need to wear a pantsuit and a headband, but take cues based on what you see your boss (or someone higher up than you) wears. If your boss never wears jeans, don’t wear jeans. When in doubt be a bit overdressed.
7. If you leave for coffee offer to bring something back.
If you’re leaving for coffee ask the people who sit near you if they want coffee. This is a polite thing to do. Plus, who doesn’t love coffee?
8. Make it clear you’re a hard worker.
You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. You should always work hard at work, but you should work especially hard during your first few weeks.
9. Smile and hold the door for people.
Be nice. Smile. Hold the door for people. Little gestures can go a long way. You may think that I’m writing this to future people I date (which it does apply to), but it also applies at work. People like to work with nice people. Be nice.
10. Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.
A wise woman named Tina Fey once said, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” I agree with this statement (except if you’re a surgeon, in which case please dismiss this). When I worked at Levo League, I was asked to be the Social Media Associate on my first day. I hadn’t managed any social media other than my own Facebook and Twitter, but I said yes and figured it out afterwards (in this case by going to Barnes and Noble and picking up Likeable Social Media, The Social Media Strategist, and just in case those weren’t enough, The Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media.) I ended up learning a lot really quickly, and no one knew that I was learning along the way.
Extra Credit: Watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” to learn the benefits of “Power Posing.” I have to admit that before my interview at Likeable I went into the bathroom and did the “Power Pose” for a few minutes—it worked!
This article was originally published on The Preppy Post Grad.
About the Author
Elana Lyn Gross is the author of the career advice and lifestyle blog, Elana Lyn Her work has appeared in Time, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post. When she is not writing, she can be found taking long walks in Central Park.