Carry a notebook
Yes. Seriously! Take a diary and a pen wherever you go. Jot down answers offered by people. Which means that you are asking tons of questions. This is the right time to ask since no question is too dumb when it comes from a new joiner. Secondly, when there is an information overload in the first few days, pen down relevant data as it comes along. This will free up your mind to pay attention to the next lot without having to remember everything simultaneously. Finally, during the first few days, you will get to generate a number of new ideas. Write them down as they occur. After you learn the ropes, refer back to your notebook to pick and implement the best ones.
Smell the coffee
Where is the coffee machine? Where is the mop in case you spill the coffee? How do you get a printout? Who do you go to if you cannot log in? Where can you go for a quick takeaway lunch? Where is the closest medicine store? What are alternate routes to work? Figure your way around the office during the day and the neighbourhood after work to get logistically sorted before the real action begins.
Chase the blue monkey
The blue monkey is a rare species. When you join your new job you will notice a number of blue monkeys distinguished by different communication styles, approaches to work and ways of getting stuff done. Chase them down to comprehend them. Restrain your judgment while you embrace the diversity in views. Later, as you gain acceptance, you can contribute to everyone’s learning.
Catch up daily
Make it a point to catch up with your immediate boss every day during the first week. If your boss is away, call her. If she is super busy, meet her for a minute. Use that time to keep her updated on your progress. This helps your boss suggest a course correction in case you are barking up the wrong tree, appreciate you for your initiative and keep you in her radar.
Keep a promise
This is a golden opportunity to make that life-changing habit you always wanted. Since no one knows your old work-place reputation, there is no baggage. Feel free to create your new public image. Since your daily routine changes with a new job, it’s a great time to piggy back a chosen habit into it. Want to start exercising? Walk to the third stop and then board the bus home. Want to overcome poor time management? Craft a time table on day one and follow it meticulously one day at a time.
Find your future
How will success be measured for you? Fathom out prospects from your role and what constitutes a gold medal. This knowledge is meaningless unless you identify the line of authority and people who hold the keys to your success. Next what are the challenges you are likely to face in your quest. How will you get the resources released to overcome obstacles? Make sure you steer clear of second-hand opinions and double check conclusions.
Make a plan
Take time during your first weekend to absorb experiences from the week. Now set specific professional goals for the year and write them down. Never mind if you haven’t yet received a target sheet from your boss. You can always incorporate that. Break down each goal into quarterly or monthly chunks. Work backwords to figure where you want to be at the end of your first month at work. Now make a clear action plan and take it forward one month at a time.