Making the move from a lecture hall to an office is a massive transition. Spending the majority of your day in one office, rather than moving from class to class will be a difficult adjustment at first. You need to think before you act in the workplace. Your new employer and colleagues are probably going to be watching closely over the first few days to make sure you aren’t doing anything inappropriate or just plain rude. These are the types of things which could end with you seeking legal advice and new employment. Lie about your skills One of the worst things you can do in the workplace is lie about your skills or qualifications. Your employer will soon realise that you’re not capable of completing the tasks which you had promised to do. Rather, tell your employer that you’re not able to complete that task at the moment but will research the correct way to go about it. They will likely be impressed by your tenacity and willingness to go the extra mile. Leave early No one likes that person who shows up late every morning but is the first to leave in the afternoon. If you do this it’s an obvious indication that you don’t value your job. It shows your employer that you’re doing the bare minimum, that you aren’t willing to put in additional time and don’t see a future for yourself there. Make a point of watching your colleagues for a few days to see what time they leave. In this case, it’s safe to follow the crowd. Be disorganised Don’t be the person who never knows what projects they’re working on, doesn’t know what stage the various projects are at and can’t tell you what they worked on yesterday or will work on tomorrow. This shows your employer that you are unable to organise your time and tasks. Rather, keep a to-do list and check off tasks as you go. A big advocate for these lists is Virgin Group founder Richard Branson: “Without to-do lists, I would use my time far less effectively, and have a lot less fun. People wonder how I fit in kitesurfing and tennis every day alongside business meetings – the answer is good planning and to-do lists. “My habit has also rubbed off on many of our team, who are also avid note-takers and to-do list makers.” If it’s good enough for him, it should be good enough for you. Show up late for meetings This tells your colleagues that you think your time is more important than theirs. If you’re willing to let them sit in a meeting room while waiting for you, you’re showing a level of disrespect which won’t soon be forgotten. Instead, be the first in the room and the most eager to contribute valuable insights. Long, loud personal phone calls Your colleagues don’t want to listen as you make plans for the upcoming weekend or discuss the latest episode of The Fixer. Modern workplaces are open plan and working in a shared space means you have to be respectful of your colleagues. Would you want to listen to Aisha discuss her family issues or Xolani talk about his jealous girlfriend? Of course you wouldn't. So show them that same courtesy. When your phone rings, simply get up and walk outside or to an empty meeting room. The correct way to act in the workplace isn’t obvious at first, so don’t worry too much about getting it right immediately. But keep in mind that you’re likely being watched, especially at first. Image: Pexels

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