Tag Archives: career

First Few Days At Work – What You Need To Know

The first day of a new job is a very daunting task and a good first impression is vital. You don’t want to appear needy and helpless by constantly asking questions, but you want to make sure you are doing the right thing. You want to show that you can operate independently, but you can’t be a recluse and not socialise with your co-workers.

The balance between social and work life is very delicate, and needs to be monitored carefully so that one can live a healthy life. So when starting a new job, there are certain manners and conducts that are frequently looked over, that need to be followed in order to succeed.

Right Mindset

The worst mindset you can have when starting a new job, especially in a graduate position, is that you are above the tasks that your co-workers ask of you. In order to succeed in a new job you need to be prepared for the hard part that your job requires. Whether that is working late, starting early, or even menial tasks, you need to show initiative in that you are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in your position.

There is a very common mindset that the bare minimum is satisfactory, and this is a plague on the workplace environment. This idea of working the lowest possible amount is the perfect example of a horrible work ethic, and will never lead to success.

In order to be successful you need to be passionate and take pride in your work.

No Personal Issues at work

Another most important thing to know, never discuss personal stuff with other colleagues. Whether it’s your family issues, health troubles or financial issues, its best not talk about your issues at work. You never it might be misinterpreted and can even be taken as excuses for not wanting to work enough.

Social Aspect

The social aspect of work is something that is often forgotten when discussing a strong work ethic. However, social interactions are a key element of overall well being, and a healthy life is vital for productive workplace performance.

Networking

Furthermore, the contacts you develop through these interactions will help you in the future. The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” rings true in the modern world. Obviously to be successful you need to have a great knowledge of your field, but you could be the best at what you do in your field and without the right contacts your career could be held back.

Beware what you share on Social Media

Moreover, due to many technological advances, the world is becoming a much smaller place. With the emergence of Facebook, Twitter and various other forms of social media , it is much easier for things said in private to leak. One must be careful what they say and not burn any bridges, so to speak. Maintaining contacts can be one of the biggest factors in work place success.

There are many aspects that form a strong work ethic. Determination, passion and the drive to succeed are just some of these aspects. There are various other components, that are often forgotten, when discussing the concept of a good work ethic. When starting a new job, these forgotten concepts can be the difference between success and failure.

 

5 things to Avoid at Work

Expectations vary across workplaces, which can be confusing if you’re starting a new job. But wherever you work, there are still some basic principles you can apply. Below are five starting points for your list of ‘What not to do’.

1. Disrupting Others

Bank-Security-Guard-Sleeping-Cropped

Many employees have been affected by the disruptive actions of others. Some commonly identified disruptive behaviour include being too loud, having a negative attitude, distracting others from their work and arriving late to meetings.

If someone indicates that your actions are bothering them, don’t take it as a personal insult. Most people do not go out of their way to make others feel bad- they just want to be able to do their job.

Apologise, take the information on board and think about how you can avoid doing it in future.  Continuing one of more of these habits over a long period of time can lead to conflict, reduced productivity and eventually dismissal.

2. Being Messier than Everyone Else

Some people feel perfectly comfortable in cluttered environments. If you are one of these people, then this is probably reflected in parts of your home. If you happen to own you house and live on your own, you are perfectly free to create absolute chaos, leaving all your possessions wherever you want, whenever you want.

But workplace it is an entirely different story. Offices and other work environments are shared by large groups of people. Every workplace will be organised to a different standard of tidiness, but it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain this state. If you walk into an immaculate office, keep it that way.

A 2013 study published in Management Decision suggests that consciences people commit more errors in messy environments and that tidier workplaces increase overall accuracy.

So a little bit of effort effort putting things back in their place and clearing space makes it easier for everyone else.

On a similar note, you don’t want to be that person who always leaves spilt coffee or empty food wrappers on the bench. Consider everyone working around you and maintain a neat, hygienic space.

And not to mention, avoid being lazy in any way, avoid sleeping at work and try to stay active so people see you contributing at work in every bits and pieces. Having said that, small smoke/coffee breaks or occasional chats with your colleagues is acceptable at most work places.

3. Getting too Personal

It’s not uncommon for employees to socialise after work or have conversations in the lunch room.

Personal details about your family, health or sex life can make others uncomfortable and asking others about these kinds of information can be seen as nosy.

While it is good to learn things about others, it’s important to respect others’ privacy and recognise what kinds of conversations are not suitable.

Remember that some things are also considered controversial. Bringing up religion and politics can lead to heated debates.

If you have been socialising with a co-worker outside of work for long enough to consider them a friend, you become the judge of when, if ever, these topics become appropriate.

But always err on the side of caution and avoid continuing these personal discussions in the workplace.

4. Unprofessional Behaviour

With the increasing number of large businesses adopting a more ‘laid-back’ work atmosphere and the rise of social media, you may find yourself misjudging your employer’s expectations.  This will be different in each work-place but it is important to make sure you don’t cross the line.

A major part of this is following the workplace dress-code. Don’t assume it is okay to waltz into work wearing jeans and a pair of sneakers. Often, workplaces will require business shirts, ties and dress shoes.

‘Dress-Down-Friday’  is practiced in many workplaces around the world, offering employees a reprieve from the dress norm. ‘Dress-down’ days are not completely free-for-all.  In most cases, there will be clear guidelines about what is appropriate.

It’s also important to avoid communicating in an unprofessional manner. Generally, spelling errors and colourful fonts do not belong in your work emails. Steer clear of using slang, particularly when contacting new people.

Some other examples of unprofessional practices include starting rumours, gossiping, sending personal messages through your work email account and complaining about your job on Facebook.

These things can send the message that you don’t take your job seriously.

5. Being disrespectful

During meetings, refrain from texting your friends, talking over another or responding to co-workers with condescending remarks.

Know what terms are considered discriminatory and avoid making jokes or forwarding emails that are racist, sexist or homophobic. Remember- the fact that you are not offended by something does not mean it won’t offend others.

This includes bullying, humiliating or sexually harassing co-workers. Familiarise yourself with these policies and realise that your words have consequences.

Another way to show others respect is to return phone calls and emails as soon as possible.

Do not be caught zoning out when your boss or another staff member is trying to pass on important information. Give others your full attention.

Regardless of any personal opinions you might have about your colleagues, showing everyone general courtesy will give managers a good impression. It will also help minimise conflict, which allows you to work toward your goals in a more peaceful environment.

Workplace Politics – 9 Ways To Deal With It

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While the phrase ‘workplace politics’ has a negative connotation, it is a reality for many employees. It describes a range of concepts, from networking and team-orientated goals to gossip, rivalry and personal conflicts.

While nobody wants to be labelled as a ‘push-over’, few people are inclined to mimic destructive behaviour. Luckily, dealing with workplace politics doesn’t have to be a choice between these two extremes. It’s important to evaluate the range of options available to you.

Here are 9 simple habits you can incorporate into your work-life.

1.  Be a good Listener

Being a good listener has two major advantages.  The more information you absorb about the networks and relationships operating in the workplace, the more equip you are to respond to difficult situations.

Learn how your colleagues view each other and their work environment. Cliques can sometimes be a dominant part of workplace culture. Recognise the friendships and alliances formed and how they impact on collective decision-making. This can give you insight to the different levels of formal and informal power.

The other flip side to being a good listener is that people like to be listened to. A colleague is more likely to form a positive opinion about someone who demonstrates an interest in what they have to say.

2. Understand the Work Culture

A clearer understanding of what yourself and others are trying to achieve can boost your chance of achieving your goals. If someone suggests a new idea, ask yourself :

Who benefits from this? , Who might be disadvantaged? , Does your colleague have their eye on a promotion? Get into the habit of asking yourself these questions but realising that your analysis of the situation might not always be correct.

Identify individuals who are trying to gain recognition, while also taking notice of those who are the least expressive. Everyone will have a range of motivations- both personal and business-related. It’s not always going to be straight forward.

3. Expand Your Networks

In many workplaces, friendship groups are quick to form. It can be hard to step outside your comfort zone and interact with different people.

But getting to know people across a wide range of factions is an effective way of boosting your ability to influence decisions. Aim to find common grounds with individuals across each department.

Approach and welcome new staff members. If you’re balancing your career with other commitments, after- work drinks and other social gatherings might feel like a disruption to your schedule.

However, these events provide a perfect opportunity to get to know others.  Try to find the time to attend one or two of these events on a regular basis.

4. Avoid Gossip

Most people are guilty of gossip in some form or another. Human beings like to be understood.

On the surface, sharing your discontent for a particular person’s behaviour can feel like a safe way to affirm your feelings. But gossip is not a not a constructive response to conflicts.

While listening to others bicker can be a useful way of collecting information, participating can backfire and damage your reputation. It also has consequences on a wider scale.

Author and researcher Shawn Archor argues that team members’ feelings about one another have a significant effect on the team’s success.

Contributing to gossip sessions could create unnecessary conflicts and is of no long-term benifit to yourself or others.  If there is a general consensus among yourself and others that a colleague is acting in a nasty or unconstructive way, the person should be approached politely.

Many experts suggest that confronting bullies privately in a respectful manner should be the first course of action. Be careful not to speak on another’s behalf without their consent.

5. Learn to Speak Up

Knowing when and how to speak up is crucial.  You don’t want to be the come off as arrogant by criticising the way everything is done or constantly suggesting improvements with little background knowledge.  But it is important to demonstrate that you are engaged with the issues at hand.

If you strongly disagree with an idea that has been made open for discussion, always take a respectful and diplomatic approach.

It is possible that others may have similar concerns but feel uncomfortable communicating them. Therefore by speaking up, you might insight contribution from others who normally remain silent.

6. Ensure you have Visibility

Getting noticed can further your opportunities to have your voice heard. Some people enjoy standing out from the crowd, while others cringe at the thought.  But most people feel they deserve some form of recognition for their hard work.

The challenge is building the confidence and communication skills to highlight your accomplishments.  Many people fear coming off as obnoxious, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Idealist editor Alison Jones shares methods of bringing up achievements in meetings with your boss by framing them within a wider discussion about team progress.

She suggests reporting on the success of a particular project and what this means for the organisation, before mentioning your specific tasks that you performed successfully.

Taking on extra responsibilities wherever possible is another great way of gaining recognition among managers and senior staff.

It is also valuable to start a journal to track your goals and accomplishments? This ensures that you are always prepared to provide examples of your contributions when asked.

7. Focus on Business Objectives

Everyone is influenced by a range of personal motivations, such as their career goals and relationships with their peers. But employers want someone they can trust to act in the best interest of the organisation.

You can make this principle work in your favour by finding compatibilities between your goals and the ‘greater good’ of the organisation.

Ideally, you want to be seen as a team player, and not as someone acting out of pure self-interest or aligning all of your decisions with a small group of friends.

Make sure you can justify your ideas and actions on the grounds of how it contributes to the aims of the organisation.

8. Be Helpful

Helping others is a great way to build trust and loyalty. While you should continue to prioritise your own tasks, there are often things you can do for others that won’t take too much of your time.

For example, if someone needs a lift in your direction, if a co-worker is struggling with new software, or if a photo-copier needs fixing, sparing a few minutes is well worthwhile.

This strengthens your connections with others and helps establish yourself as a highly valuable member of the team.

9. Stay Rational

During a hectic week, a combination of work-related stress and personal issues can cloud your sense of judgement. Do not allow tension to build up or resort to sudden outbursts- you want your thoughts to be taken seriously.

When proposing a new idea or expressing a critical view on a topic, ask consider how your words and actions will be perceived by other staff. Most of this comes down to factors such as timing, delivery and body language.

It is perfectly human to feel impatient and annoyed over immediate differences. But practicing refrain and deciding what issues really matter put you in a better position to have more impact on the bigger picture.