New job in information technology? Follow this advice
Everyone gets nervous about starting something new, it is natural, it is OK. It is often overlooked how important making a good first impression can be. There can be anxiety, nervousness, even depression. Every workplace can be a little different as well. The world of information technology is made up of people from all walks of life. If you plan out ahead of time what you will do it should make it easier. Trying to learn your new role is hard enough without worrying about the small stuff too. I was given the first piece of advice early on in my career. The second I learned throughout my career. I’ve been working professionally for 18 years and have made plenty of mistakes. Follow three tips and hopefully you can avoid making the same mistakes as me.
On your first day
First day at every job in my adult life I’ve always worn my best suit jacket, tie, suit pants, and fancy shoes. Look like a million bucks. Dress to impress. Personally, I think it’s silly but it isn’t about me, it’s about convincing everyone else right? I often receive compliments from bosses and co-workers about my appearance the first day. I’ve always been told ‘Look the part and people won’t question’. If you look like you belong there, people will instantly treat you better. I never wear my suit past the first day. Dress code can vary from job to job, and sometimes day to day. You don’t want to be under dressed for your first impression. Dressing up for the occasion tells people that this is important to you.
Throughout your first few weeks
Second piece of advice is to keep your ears and eyes open. Take in your new surroundings in order to learn who is the top performers and who are the duds. Learn the office gossip, learn the work patterns and lunch patterns your first few days/weeks. Figure out who the sports fans are, what teams they enjoy, etc. You might find people that share your interests and that is great. You can learn a lot about their likes and dislikes from their cubicle. Many people have pictures of family or pets in their desk area. Others have sports memorabilia like a hockey puck, banner or signed football.
Make small talk, keep it positive
Fostering a positive attitude makes people like you, and want to help succeed. This is the most important advice. Just a simple smile, saying good morning or good afternoon can go a long way. Use this knowledge you gain your first few days to make meaningful small talk. Saying things like ‘Wow, Lebron looked great last night!’ to a Cleveland fan, makes the world of difference in attitudes. I like dogs, and therefore always have great conversations about them with other people who like dogs too. There is a common ground you can meet at with almost everyone. If you find it and engage on it people will like you.
The workplace is just like high school
The real world is still a popularity contest. Having people like you can go a long way towards helping you succeed. Many people are attracted to information technology or information security because of the partial isolation. Many of us are shy, or introverts. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, however following these three pieces of advice can help you out in the long run. Dress for success as the saying goes, listen to your co-workers and engage with them in small talk. You don’t have to become their best friends, but being friendly enough can help. Finally, when people get to know you, they will care more about you.