Starting Out: Avoid These Three Mistakes

The first few weeks in a new position are often daunting. After the tours, training modules, and orientation speeches, may be feeling overwhelmed. On top of that, many workplaces must set aside an already busy worker to train and mentor new hires.

You may never quite know what to expect from a new workplace. You can, however, always take an important first step towards success by avoiding the following common mistakes:

1) Arriving Late

We will start with the most obvious mistake: late arrival. Sadly, this is an all-too-common occurrence throughout many workplaces. You may not even be late because of wilful negligence. Late arrival can be the product of a combination of changes to your daily routine.

Starting a new job typically means a new route to work, which means new demands on preparation time. Keep in mind that your routine may change with new road conditions as the seasons change. In addition, you may have to contend with meal preparation, childcare requirements, etc.

Give yourself time to adjust to a new pre-work routine. Generally, aim to be at least 10 minutes early to accommodate unforeseen complications.

Do not panic if an emergency keeps you from arriving on time once. If you are normally diligent with your arrival, your supervisor will likely chalk it up to a one-off occurrence. Just take ownership of the late arrival and take reasonable steps to avoid it in the future.

2) Neglecting Notes

Always arrive with a pen and a pad for taking notes. Most workplaces will supply you with these tools, but you may not get them right away. Bring your own set on day one to avoid scrambling while you are on the clock.

As your trainer is explaining your new responsibilities, make sure you are taking detailed notes.

During the first few weeks, you may have some lulls in the workday, as your trainer will be otherwise occupied. Use this downtime to review what you have written and rearrange the information so that it is easier to reference down the road.

Do not make the mistake of thinking you can manage without notes. Not only is taking notes important for information retention, but it also provides you with a record of what you have been trained on. A well-kept notebook can keep you from asking the same questions repeatedly.

3) Keeping Quiet

The last thing you want is to seem like dead weight. You may see requests for clarification as a display of your own ignorance. This can steer you away from asking important questions.

The truth is that effective training is a two-way street. The more open you are with communication, the quicker you will get up to speed.

Your trainer may have neglected an important explanation because it seemed obvious after all their experience. As a result, your trainer can be blinded by their own knowledge.

So long as you are respecting them enough to show up on time and take detailed notes, they will likely be much more helpful and understanding.

Avoiding these three mistakes shows one important trait: respect. By being on time, prepared, and engaged, you are showing your colleagues that you respect their knowledge and contributions enough to want to be a productive member of their team. By building on this foundation, you can grow your network and encourage others to help you succeed.

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