In the honeymoon period of a new job, any and everything feels possible. You’re meeting new people, settling into your office, and the luster surrounding the work that you’ll be doing is as radiant as ever. Colleagues invite you to lunch, onboarding meetings abound, and your boss still cannot believe that they managed to land a talent quite like you.
While it may seem like the work world is your oyster in the first month of a new gig, there are some limits. Sure, you’re the new kid on the block and the team is lucky to have you, but this introductory period doesn’t give you carte blanche to act or do as you wish, says life and career coach Jenn DeWall. The first 30 days of a job should be dedicated to listening, learning and getting acclimated to the office culture and your role. It’s not the time to drop proverbial bombs, institute a slew of overhauling changes or blindly assert your expertise.
As you temper your desire to become head honcho during week one, here are 11 things you should avoid doing in your first 30 days in a new job — especially if you want to stay employed!
1. Don’t Bash Your Old Job on Social Media
Sure you're ecstatic to start a new job and kick off a new chapter of your career, but before gloating on social media and snapping "I'm free" selfies on Instagram, remember to be gracious. No matter the reason for leaving your old company, resist the urge to bash your old job on social media. Not only is a tacky and rude to your former employer, it could tarnish your reputation at your new job. "First impressions are everything," says DeWall, insisting that how you present yourself both in person and online matters big time. "The perception that is being created in the first 30 days can ultimately make or break your career in the long run with the company."
2. Don’t Forget to Set Up Your 401K, Health Insurance, and Life Insurance Plans
"Most companies give you a limited time to apply to their healthcare so make that your first priority," advises DeWall. " As for the 401K, too often newbies fail at properly planning their 401K and understanding how it's set up." Instead of avoiding what you don't know, ask questions. "Ask about employee matching and hire a one-time session with a financial planner so you can understand how to set up you investments. The small amount that you invest in the short run can yield larger financial gains in the long run."
3. Don’t Friend All of Your New Coworkers on Facebook, LinkedIn
Friending the entire team in the first week of working at a new job can come off as insincere or disingenuous. Before adding and tagging up a storm, slow down and be smart. "Feel free to use LinkedIn to connect with your new co-workers and peers that you have established relationships with," says DeWall. However, do not friend your superior on social media. That's a no-no, for the most part. "A rule of thumb, the more personal information that's revealed on the social media platform, the more time you should wait before engaging with your colleagues."
4. Don’t Ask For A Raise or Promotion
Some people start a new gig only to realize that they low-balled themselves during the salary negotiation process. However while you may be kicking yourself about under-negotiating, DeWall says, "do not renegotiate until your annual review. If you do renegotiate make sure that you have proof that shows the value added you're providing that warrants a raise. If you can't provide a list of proof, wait until your review and just chalk it up as a career lesson.
5. Don’t Go Home Early
This one should be a no-brainer but in your first month, fight the urge to break out of the office. "Yes, it might be disappointing but this is your first job and first impressions matter."
6. Don’t Forget to Set Up One-on-One Meetings With Coworkers
"Think of your co-workers as your power team," says DeWall. "You can learn from them, utilize their expertise and get to know the ins and outs of the workplace culture that aren't covered in orientation. The benefits of setting up meetings early on is that you have the opportunity to set up a relationship and get to know their personalities."
7. Don’t Hesitate to Get Clarity on Your Role
Think of the first 30 days as an "Ask Anything" period at the new job. Make sure you're getting clarity on the team dynamic, structure, expectations and challenges. "You are also showing vulnerability which often times creates a relationship of empathy and partnership versus one of competing. Make sure in the first meeting to ask them if it's okay to ask for help and what you can do to be successful. Show that you're a team player."
8. Don’t Put In For Vacation Time
While there are some exceptions to this rule (like requesting time off during the initial offer negotiation process), for the most part, don't plan on taking vacation days in your first month of a new role. Unless your manager asks for future planning in your one-on-one, the safe thing is to hold off on talking about vacation time until you've settled in.
9. Don’t Be Unprepared for Meetings
In month number one, you should straddle the line between "hitting the ground running" and "ease in slow" says DeWall. That means that in meetings you should do a healthy dose of listening while still contributing your insights and volunteering for new projects. "Hitting the ground running doesn't have to mean taking on every task that comes your way. It can also mean just being very curious and informed. Learn everything that you can, ask questions, observe leaders that you respect and try to emulate them. Remember first impressions are everything, you want to show effort, enthusiasm, and engagement. If you don't, it could damage your reputation and people might make assumptions that you're aloof or lazy."
10. Don’t Reject Company Culture
Instead of bucking the trend or working outside of the box, be mindful to align with company values and culture. DeWall advises, "New hires should be mindful of dress code, times to be in and out of work, and the Internet and music policies. Ask your boss what the norms are, don't assume that because no one has told you what to do you get to blaze your own trail." At the same time, be sure to bring your full self to work. Don't be afraid to be yourself and leave your mark on the team. But before suggesting group outings to tequila tasting or circulating a petition for casual Fridays, DeWall says, "get to know the WHY! Why does the company do things in a certain way? Why do they have a certain dress code? Why do you have to do certain tasks in a certain way? Learn it, live it and understand it before you suggest new and or better ways to do things."
11. Don’t Miss The Opportunity to Ask Informed Questions
"It's very important to ask informed questions. Think of this as the time where everyone expects you to ask questions and encourages it. You have a grace period to ask questions and make mistakes. If you don't utilize this early on you could hurt your credibility down the road. When you are asking questions, make sure are being curious and not passive or condescending. Don't ask to try and show that you have a better solution without knowing the full context and reason behind why things are done the way they are."