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What not to do? [For starters]

Posted by | April 10, 2015 | Advice, Career

Via LinkedIn : This article is just me sharing personal experience with new people who are starting work or are going to and its named very appropriately as there are people in the industry who will tell you how things are done but there’s little help when it comes to what not to do.

Let me go pointwise

  • What to do on the first day/month/year?
    The first step is the hardest especially if you interpret the environment wrongly; first thing to do is to know people in the team. You need to meet people all at once and one by one. Most importantly don’t be judgmental and don’t judge the person based on their looks in office or how they talk. Not everyone will open to you in the first meeting but you can talk to them daily to improve your relation and finally get to know them properly.
  • You don’t have to be working on the same thing to know a person; you can know the personality by taking normal things like how was your day? Or how’s home, everything alright? These are the things to ask to start conversations. Most important thing is you won’t be working all day when you’re just a starter so making right connections at this time is very important. You can understand what a person works on, their behavior, attitude etc..
  • After you make these connections you will come to know during work whom to ask what if you don’t know something, most importantly you’ll find someone who is more than willing to help or at least more than what others could offer you. This is crucial.
  • Apart from making connections start working on the assigned tasks and make sure you read through given documents meticulously.
  • For starters going through documentation is really important especially when you’re out of college it’s your first job.
  • If your job is technical most important thing will be the first environment setup and understanding the “technical work environment”. For example you know some language like TCL but have never worked with Linux setting up the basic environment; work area will take more time than you think. What I have observed is tasks are easier then setting environment sometimes.

So what not to do?

  • Don’t hesitate to go to someone’s cube and greet them, they will not bite you. Being mindful of someone’s organizational status is good but letting this organizational status come in your way of greeting them or saying hello is not good. Introducing yourself to cross team members is also good if you can manage it. Someone’s cube is right next to you and they are not in your team it doesn’t mean you never talk to them say hello good morning etc. make them feel free.
  • Don’t hesitate in asking someone for tea or don’t think they will reject, there is no harm is asking and there is no problem if they reject. Tea times or snack times are times to interact.
  • Well before asking questions about your work or their work do a little research on the topic, if you run blindly and ask complicated questions or silly questions without you having any knowledge of the topic is a big NO NO, you may irritate the person you’re asking the questions to. This does not mean you should not ask questions but be aware of what you’re asking. People might ask you questions before they answer yours just to check your knowledge or your understanding on the topic, at this moment if you don’t know anything your standing is others mind will decrease.
  • Extending the above point I’ve seen some newbies doing very bad mistake of not attempting a given task and giving up easily without trying. If you give up without attempting a task person who as assigned the task is not going to be happy, and soon you will find that you will be nothing but annoyance to him/her. Best thing to do with an assigned task is to definitely attempt it and do the following
    Understand the given problem and make a proper note of it.[The most important]

Write down the approach you are going to follow to do it.

  • Attempt it
  • Write down the number of issues you encountered while attempting.
  • Write down the number of questions you will ask the superior who assigned the task.
  • Make sure [really important] you have asked same questions to yourself; sometimes you might find answers before asking them.
  • Common Sense: read user guide properly if given, there might a case where user guide is 1000 pages long and you can’t read it all in a month or 2 months it’s useful to ask someone for pointers “what are the most important points to read for newbies?”.
  • For email communications I would say is write to the point and highlight important points if necessary, but if you feel adding extra information might be helpful do it. Very important here to be mindful about organizational status here, don’t make an e-mail complicated which might raise multiple questions and confuse people. Not everyone will be aware of the work you’ve done and the minute details about the project, best thing to do here is to read through the e-mail again putting yourself in others position and see what questions will be raised. Revising the e-mail before sending it crucial, while spell check is available in hurry I’ve done some spelling mistakes which I’ve regretted later.
  • Common Sense: Don’t lie at any point, you know you will be caught and that’s more embarrassing than accepting the mistake. Why not just accept the mistake and learn, people appreciate who accept mistakes and learn from that rather than liars.
  • Do not demean a given task, you might feel it’s stupid to do that task but it might be something that person requires and in turn helps the company overall, you aim should be to gain anything you can from that given task.[Attitude Matters here.]

Apart from this I think being positive, polite, maintain ethical standards and gaining immense knowledge during your first year is what you should be aiming for. If you do this correctly you will build a trustful long lasting relationship with team and will grow your career in the right direction.

Any more comments or tips for starters will be highly appreciated.

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