how do I start a new job on the right foot?

A reader writes:

I’m starting a new job in 12 days. I am leaving my current company of five years (half of my post-college career) on good terms, but it’s time to go somewhere I can grow, and frankly, make more money. My new job is a huge, national corporation, with hundreds of people in the building. My current office, and most jobs in my past, have been in offices of fewer than 40 people. This is going to be a big change for me.

Can you offer any tips on starting out in a new job, specifically in a new environment? I haven’t done this “starting fresh” in a new place in a really, really long time, and I’m a little intimidated. Anything new or exciting in the world of office etiquette I should know about? What’s the best way to introduce myself? Are there informational “no-no’s,” like stuff about kids, or why I left my old company, or…? What topics should I avoid as I meet new people? On the flip side, is there anything considered a “must tell” when meeting the team? How do I get my new colleagues to like me!?

I talk with this letter-writer on today’s podcast. The show is 36 minutes long, and you can listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts (or here’s the direct RSS feed). Or you can listen above.

Or, if you prefer, here’s the transcript.

{ 22 comments… read them below }

  1. Arctic*

    In my experience, when starting in a new place you pick out the most assertive person there, the real alpha, and punch them right in the face. That way everyone knows you are the Big Dog now.

        1. Arctic*

          Honestly the advice would be a lot easier if you could just apply prison rules to every situation…

  2. Melissa*

    Sometimes the timing of your pods is scary relevant for me. I am starting a new position later this month. I will be in training in DC for 7 weeks and then sent abroad for 2 years at a time. So this pod will come in super handy fairly frequently for me!

    1. More Coffee, Please*

      That sounds wonderful, Melissa! If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of job is it?

  3. Peachywithasideofkeen*

    Loved this episode! I’m starting a new position in 2 weeks and the timing was perfect!

  4. Cassandra*

    This is such a wonderful, thoughtful question. I look forward to reading the transcript when it’s ready.

  5. Laura H.*

    Even in different locations of the same company has different cultural dynamics. I’m still gauging that in my new location.

    Good luck OP. :)

  6. Sally*

    I started a new job at the end of August, but I still feel like I’m learning how things are done here. I have asked my manager some direct questions about things that were making me anxious (like “is it really OK to tell you I need to work from home at the last minute?” – answer was yes), and that was a great relief! But there are other tips in this podcast that I had not thought of and that will be very helpful.

    As an aside: For the first time, I laughed out loud in the office while listening to the podcast with headphones (it was when the OP said, “I love science”). I didn’t realize that I’ve only listened before at home or in the car. So now I understand the embarrassment that other commenters have mentioned in this situation!

  7. bigcompanysmalldog*

    If your new employer is a big nationwide company, I’d bet its onboarding process will help you with all of that.

  8. NDC*

    Alison, how much control do you have over the ads that play during your podcast? This time, they were about a serial killer and child abuse, and I found it really disturbing to be unexpectedly confronted with these topics when I’d only been prepared to listen to workplace advice. I hope you can pass this feedback on to your producers.

  9. Those Flowers Are an Institution*

    This episode is very timely as I’m also starting a new job in a month. Thank you!

  10. Rivers*

    Timely for me as well! Hunting after 5 years in one position, and leaving an increasingly toxic workplace. Need help clearing my head and resetting my attitude!

Comments are closed.