Adopt the Right Attitudes

Humility – Graduation can leave you with a false sense of importance/capability; be proud of your accomplishments; have confidence, but realize its not the end of your learning ‘Be a Good Rookie.’

Work Ethic – Professional life can be much more demanding than training; be early, stay late, volunteer, learn what you can. ‘Go the extra mile’ and do whatever is asked of you.

Readiness to Learn – All are life long learners; take training seriously, ask questions. Research when things are slow, ie. day cares often have a resource library – read up on child development, develop more creative ideas/working with children based on your on-the-job experience.

Change – Be flexible, adaptive and open-minded; leave preconceived notions behind, now you’re in the real world, ‘this isn’t what they told me it would be….’

Respect – Things happen for a reason in your new job; understand WHY before you criticize, realize you will not gain respect until you give it to others.

Long Term Perspective – Students are conditioned for 15 week time lines; your learning on the job is viewed as ongoing – over many years. Although you feel you may not be doing exciting work; your first year lays the foundation for the future.

Adjust your Expectations

Be realistic; ‘student thinking’ or expectations that college experience/society has shaped may include ‘this work is boring, this is just grunt work, nobody will tell me how things work around here.’ These are normal feelings; accept it and move on.

Basic ‘Rookie Rules’ – Breaking in Skills:

  • You’re an outsider until you prove otherwise; do your best and be patient……
  • Earn acceptance by fitting in, not challenging the system
  • Admit what you don’t know; sit back, listen and learn, ask questions
  • Build a good track record; look for opportunities to be successful, master the way to get results, figure out what the organization wants you to do – and do it

Most Common Mistakes Made by New Employees

  • Didn’t follow the rules – cell phone use – 25%
  • Misunderstood work culture – 19%
  • Lacked integrity/good work ethic – 18%
  • Didn’t ask enough questions – 16%
  • Lacked attention to detail – 5%
  • Made job-related errors – 5%
  • Communicated poorly – 4%
  • Misinterpreted job description – 4%

Make a Good Impression

-Take the time to develop the professional maturity/understand what your employer wants/what role your organization plays in the community; avoid demeaning behaviours, ie. complaining, inappropriate emails to co-workers/friends, stay off your phone.

Build Effective Relationships

  • Watch/learn from others how to get things done effectively; be helpful/develop a
  • good rel’p with co-workers
  • Understand the nature of a work rel’p; you don’t have to be friends-personal level
  • Develop good communication/rel’p skills – learn/respect one another’s communication styles, manage conflict/negotiate differences
  • Be an effective team player; be respectful, open minded to new ideas, remember all are there for a common goal; everyone must work together to achieve success
  • Network!! Who you know is as important as what you know; take advantage of social functions, seminars, outside events; widen your network – get business cards
  • Find a work mentor/coach; seek out an older, more respected employee to learn from

Develop Work Savvy

Develop professional skills; understand the Mission statement of your organization, learn work policies/work within them, learn effective time management, set/meet deadlines, make effective presentations, set priorities and keep yourself motivated.        

What Every Employee Needs to Know…………

  • Be mindful of your work reputation; arrive on time, return phone calls/emails, stay organized, follow through on commitments, be a team player
  • Learn work jargon/terminology; use it with co-workers, avoid it at home
  • Assume that your email is not private/often monitored by your employer
  • Keep your personal life in order; watch your Facebook, what impression does it create of you?
  • Start saving for a rainy day with the first pay of your new job (even $20/wk)
  • Have ‘Plan B’ ready in case you lose your job