Some sage advise for your first day at a new job.

On our first day, we typically want to “prove ourselves”. We want to show that they made a great decision in hiring us. We feel the need to jump in and be productive right away. Although our intentions are very good, in our zeal to impress, we can even go a little overboard. These strategies come from Don Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. It’s a great book and an easy/fast read. I recommend it to everyone. The agreement were written for life in general. But I’ve adopted them for the first day on a new job.

We covered the first 2 in yesterday’s article.

1) Be impeccable in word and action  and  2) Don’t assume.

Let’ s continue….

3) Don’t take anything personally.

When you first arrive in the office as a “new employee” – you can’t have done anything wrong.   Any negative issues that you may be encountering today is simply residue from other peoples’ lives. Don’t take anything that is happening personally.  I know this from personal experience.  I was hired by a small firm with 4 partners.    I was interviewed by 3 of the 4 partners and was hired on the spot.   They offered me the job before I walked out of the interview.    I was very excited.

The following week I was called into the 4th partner’s office. He started instructing me on honesty, loyalty, integrity, etc.   His delivery was not the best.   It sounded like he was accusing me of things and suggesting that I would be “caught” if I tried anything disloyal.   As you can imagine, in normal circumstances I may have been really, really upset to be accused like this.    But, as I was sitting there — I was very relaxed in the knowing that “hey — I’m not the kind of person that would do these things he is suggesting.   And if I were — I haven’t been here long enough to do any of these things he is suggesting.”   I knew from the start that he was carrying some baggage from a previous encounter with someone else.    And that, perhaps, venting to me was his way of releasing this.   It really had nothing to do with me at all.

This was a great illustration of Don Ruiz’s 3rd point.

4) Always do your best.

The forth agreement by Don Ruiz is to always do your best.  Your best will be different depending upon the task, your energy level and even the people you are working with.  Your best will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Make your best decisions with the information that you currently have and in the situation that you are currently in.  Acknowledge that things will change, new information will come in, new schedules and deadlines will appear.  This is very natural in our ever-changing, fast-paced work environment.  Be at ease with change.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best and just keep the big picture in mind.

As a new employee, acknowledge that you don’t have all the information in front of you.  Often times, the rules and procedures are more “experienced” than written down.  Many of your colleagues have been in this environment for many years.  They have lived through the unwritten procedures and perhaps it’s “obvious” to them.   It is inevitable that you will trip on some of these invisible understandings.  Just continue to do your best and write them down for the next unsuspecting victim — I mean new employee.  Take this as a challenge to document and create a nice orientation packet for your future mentee.  This is the perfect time to write an effective orientation guide because you will be writing it as a “new employee”.  You will understand exactly how you need to know at the time you need to know it.

Let me know if this helps.  And, if you do peruse the original The Four Agreement book, please let me know your thoughts about it.


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