Learning the ropes in a new job
When you start a new job it may take some time for you to learn the ropes and settle in properly to your role; but with the right planning that awkward 'lost' feeling can soon be overcome.
It's worth taking some time during the first few weeks to get yourself accustomed to your workplace, learn the daily routines and get a clear understanding of what you are there to do.
While much of this will become apparent the longer you work for your chosen company, you will find that you can get a head start if you actively seek out the answers and learn how things work.
Go through any induction packages you have been given with a fine tooth comb. Many of us are guilty of putting our information packs down to one side, getting bogged down with work and immediately forgetting to read through them. But do this at your peril.
You will find that many of the niggling little questions you have when you start work are answered in the documents you were given on your first day. Employers don't just print this stuff out for the fun of it, they want you to read it and doing so will prove that you are motivated and interested in your new employers.
If you haven't actually been given much information - ask for it! Your boss may have forgotten to give it to you, or the company simply may not be in the habit of giving out much in the way of information packs. If the latter is the case, then there are still plenty of ways for you to get a better understanding of the company you are working for.
Have a read through the annual report (the mission statement or foreword at the front is usually a good indication of the company's goals and 'personality') or take some time to browse the company website and flick through some of their brochures. Even if you will not be working directly on many aspects of the company mentioned in the literature you will feel much more confident with this added knowledge of how things work; which is invaluable in helping new employees settle in.
Aside from your new company itself, learning a little bit about the industry in which it operates is also a good way of enhancing your familiarity with your new position. This will also help you handle any questions you may encounter when answering the phone for a colleague - there is nothing worse than having to say "err, sorry, I'm new here, I don't really know how to direct your call" and having to ask the caller to ring back later. You will not only feel embarrassed but probably won't impress your new employer who may guess that you haven't made much effort to learn more about the company.
When recruiting new staff, most companies will have prepared an induction period where they will assign somebody to show the 'newbie' the ropes and give them a tour of the building. When your induction comes around you will probably meet many other people on the way who will each tell you their name and what they do, but don't attempt to remember all of it off by heart - instead take a notepad round with you and write down a brief summary of what everybody says, along with a description of the person themselves.
You will find this invaluable as the weeks go by and you start forgetting everything you were told when you started!
Next, learn to tackle the little things - the everyday bits and pieces you need to contend with during your daily work routine. The most important part of this is getting organised first. Everybody has their own way of organising their work so if you have taken over the role directly from somebody else, take time out to understand their computer filing systems and folders or if it will make it easier for you, set up your own. This will enable you to concentrate on your work rather than wasting time searching for files.
The same goes for your desk. Whilst you will hopefully not find it full of documents or folders belonging to somebody else, it is worth taking time on your first day to ensure that your desk is organised in a logical way with everything you need to do your job within easy reach. It's important to feel comfortable in your surroundings as you are much more likely to settle in quickly and do a good job.
While many of these hints and tips to help you learn the ropes may not be rocket-science; they are important and are often overlooked by people keen to 'get stuck in' and impress the boss.
You are much more likely to impress your new boss by being organised and one step ahead of the game through your careful planning and research!
Remember, if ever you are unsure of something, ask someone!