Get Through Your First Months on the Job

Edited by Lor777, Charmed, Eng, Jonathan and 1 other

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Your first months on the job set the stage for your long-term success with your job and your company. Even before you arrive, you will probably receive literature to describe the company's benefits and/or an employee manual or handbook. The first few days offer several opportunities for you to become well established. A more in-depth training period, usually lasting one to three months, will follow. Some companies also implement a probationary period of one to three months to help confirm you are the right match for the job. Perhaps the most significant indicators and guides to knowing how well you are doing in your new job are periodic performance reviews and assessments. All of these programs are in place to help you and your employer establish a productive and successful relationship.

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Your orientation actually begins with your pre-arrival period. Use the time between acceptance of the job offer and the first day of employment to maintain contact with the company. Be sure you have taken care of as many final arrangements as you can before your fist day. For example, ask if any benefit forms can be completed, and be sure to ask if there are any organizational procedures you should be aware of before you start your job. Most often the company will provide you with literature that describes the company's benefits or otherwise welcomes you to the company. Read all this material carefully, and ask any questions you may have so there will be fewer question on your fist day. Know where and to whom to report on your first day.

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Your First Day

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You can relieve anxiety usually associated with your fist day on the job by following some basic guidelines. Arrive early so that you are sure you are reporting to the right place. You may still have some paperwork to fill out before you start work, and an early arrival can give you more time to do this properly. Someone in the company will probably be responsible for guiding you through the day. While you should focus more on listening the first day, do not be afraid to ask any questions you may have. Part of your day will probably be spent touring the area you are working in and meeting people in the organization. Focus on remembering the names of the people you will be working with most often. You may also be shown your work area and where and how to access the resources and supplies you need to get your job done. Someone may offer to take you to lunch as part of your welcome. If so, be sure to stick to your scheduled lunch time and avoid overindulging in food or drinks, so that you will still feel alert throughout the afternoon. You will probably get a feeling for the company and the people who work there by the end of the first day. If something left you feeling unsure or uncomfortable, don't panic. This is normal. There is so much to get used to in a new job that you certainly will not feel totally adjusted after your fist day. While you should feel excited about all that lies ahead, be sure to keep your goals and expectations realistic and stay focused on learning.

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Employee Handbook

Most companies publish an employee handbook to help employees understand their relationship with the company in a variety of areas. The major objectives of an employee handbook are to present information on company policies and practices and to explain company standards for performance. By pointing out the company's strong reputation and commitment to its employees, the employee handbook can help build morale and team spirit. Finally, an employee can answer routine questions and can be designed to comply with certain legal and procedural requirements.

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Some Topics Covered in an Employee Handbook

  1. 1
    Introduction to the company.{
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  2. 2
    General communications.
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  3. 3
    Hiring policies.
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  4. 4
    The disciplinary program.
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  5. 5
    Performance appraisals.
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  6. 6
    Discharge procedures
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  7. 7
    Work rules and standards.
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  8. 8
    Pay policies.
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  9. 9
    Benefits.
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While the employee handbook is a good introduction to the company, it is also a handy reference guide for employees throughout their time with the company. The employee handbook is the most comprehensive tool used by employers to communicate company values and polices to employees.

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First Few Days and Weeks

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After your first day, your orientation may last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the company. Some examples of information provided during these extended orientation periods are the following:

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  • Job safety instructions.
  • An overview of the company's background, present operations, and products or services.
  • How to get involved with employee programs.

Remember that your orientation period is mostly focused on getting you acquainted with your new environment and how it works. This differs from actual training programs, which may be longer (30-90 days) and aimed at giving you the tools to actually perform your job better. For your employer, a well-run orientation program can help reduce employee turnover.

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First One to Three Months

Training programs may be administered individually for new employees as they are hired or may be conducted periodically for small groups of employees who begin their new jobs at approximately the same time. Training may be hands-on to reach or refine technical skills (drafting, machine operations), or classroom style to reinforce interpersonal skills (teamwork, customer service).

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Some companies have a period of formal probation for new employees. A probationary period is meant to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills, abilities, and overall fit with the company. Probationary periods may range from 30 to 90 days, depending on company policy. If your job involves this testing period, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and positive attitude.

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Periodic Review and Assessments

During your first three to six months on the job, it would be helpful to you for your employer to conduct periodic reviews and assessments of your job performance. This will help you know whether or not you are on the right track and give both you and the employer a chance to discuss your strengths and weaknesses so that you can set immediate goals for improvement. Periodic reviews and assessments can help you adjust to your job during the first few months by setting and keeping you on a successful course. If these are not formally planned by your employer, you might want to ask your immediate supervisor to conduct these sessions because you think they may be helpful to both of you.

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In the long run, after one to two years, what is your direction?

Are you thinking of being with the company for the long haul, up until retirement? Or are you thinking of making your experience in this company count as a launching pad for another more lucrative job somewhere else? Or are you thinking of establishing your own business? After one to two years, you might have set your mind on something that will occupy you for the next ten years. If you are in your comfort zone in your present company, chances are you will be there for a long time. But if you feel uncomfortable, and you think your supervisors and your colleagues are breathing down your neck all the time, then it is time to look elsewhere.

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Are you aware of the reality right now that companies are closing left and right and that employment is hard to come by? What are you doing about this?

Yes, you heard it right. So called long term employment which is a big part of the so called classic American Dream together with the family with the pretty wife, 2 nice children, a nice house in the suburbs, is just becoming that - a dream. Life is becoming a little harsher. This is what you can do. Marry a little bit later, maybe in your forties. Save up for the rainy days. This is your chance to save because you are single and only your basic necessities are your expenses. Invest in value-laden things that only appreciate in value - like land and gold. Stock market investment is a little bit tricky, but you invest some in blue chip stocks. Better still, using whatever expertise you have, partner with some trusted friends to build up your own business. Even when you are still employed in a company, you can start your own business with your partners. It is a bit tiring, but it is worth the effort if you are thinking of your future in a harsh business environment.

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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Having a good start can make a big difference to both you and your employer.
  • If you learn early what is important to functioning well in your organization, the chances of your feeling comfortable and doing well may be greater.
  • The goal is to use the first few months to become a productive member of the company.
  • You should focus on your contribution to company goals and objectives as well as on your own professional development.

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Categories : Job & Work Ethics

Recent edits by: Jonathan, Eng, Charmed

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