Whether it's your first day at your first job or your first day at your tenth job there are basic rules to that can help you get along with (most) coworkers. There are cases, though, where nothing you can do can help you build a relationship with coworkers and I will address those (usually) outlier situations in a future post. If you have advice or anecdotes about working in impossible coworker situation, let me know in the comments or via email, text or chat.
My quick prof rules are below:
1) Be Professional
Arrive to the office on time or early but not too early maybe a good rule of thumb is no more than 30minutes early. Be ready for the day - until you get acclimated do not assume everyone eats breakfast at their desk - maybe there is a meeting every morning where eating is not done so wait and see how things go and then follow the herd accordingly. You do not want to be the only person eating at their desk each morning. When it comes time to have assignments, do them on time and well. If you are having trouble, try to solve it on your own first but if needed, ask for help. Try not to have to ask for help every time but it is better to have help than to make too many mistakes.
2) Be Private (but not too private)
Do not talk too much about your personal life - if you are young or just cooler than me, you might be tempted to mention you are hung over from the weekend - try not to be hung over from the weekend on your first day or any day for that matter and if you are do not bring attention to it. If you have a personal life, keep it that way. Do not let it encroach on your work place from day one but at some point, you will find that it helps to have conversational tidbits about you to make you seem human and to potentially find some friends at your work place.
3) Know the difference between work friends and work colleagues
The bulk of your fellow employees will probably fall into the colleague category - someone who you share work with but not private thoughts with. Know the difference between these two types. You can find friends at work - I have been blessed with some who continue to be friends today - but it is not everyone. Some people need to be kept at arms length for various reasons - jealousies, weird feelings, etc.
4) Be polite
While being professional should cover this it just includes being respectful of everyone - if someone is not respectful to you, do your best to not react. Always try to "let it roll off your back" - I think the saying is like a duck lets water roll off their back. If someone is mean or nasty to you, chances are they are like that to everyone. That does not make it right but it usually means karma will take care of that person and they will not be at the company for long. Do your best work and try to remember that bringing your emotions into the work force can be too tricky and can make you look worse than the people who are the ones who are the problem.
5) Beware the office romance
Seriously, run away from this. Of course, I guess, sometimes you find your soulmate at work but it can be so tricky and tough. Most companies now will make you sign a romance agreement if you find love on the job and it includes rules and usually an instant transfer if you and your beloved are in the same department.
What do you think of my rules to get along with your coworkers? Do you agree/disagree? What would you add or change? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen