The #1 Rule to Follow as a New Hire: When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

One thing I’ve discovered about working at Turner and Intel is that if you want to fit in then you must do as the Romans do. This ranges from all aspects of your job from the way you dress, the hours you show up to work, the main form of communication, how to greet one another, the level of “closeness” among coworkers, the boundary between personal life and professional life, and everything else. As soon as you get started with your company keep your eyes open for how everyone conducts themselves because these will be pointers on how you should act. With time you will learn what is appropriate for your company and what is not. When you’re unsure then err on the side of caution until you get confirmation either from your supervisor or empirical observations that your behavior/choices are acceptable. Time is the best teacher but there are other ways that you can prepare yourself like reading the company handbook. Your human resources manager will also be a great starting block as well. For example, before my first day I asked the HR manager what time should I report to work and what the dress code is. These small questions allowed me to come prepared for the first day without looking foolish like wearing a full suit onto the job site. Here are a few tips to getting adjusted as a new hire.

Follow the Dress Code, both informal and formal. One thing I’m always worried about whenever I enter a new place is dress code because that can lead to embarrassment and make you uncomfortable in your surrounding. From my previous experiences, when you’re not comfortable in the clothes you’re wearing then you have a more difficult time opening up and relaxing. As I mentioned before, ask your HR manager what the dress code is before you get on the project site or start your first day. If you want to get some first hand experience, ask them if your able to come in real quick to introduce yourself or perhaps if she can send you some pictures of your future employees at work in their normal attire. If your working for a big company and visiting a different office, realize that their dress code can differ from yours even if you are part of the same company. For example, employees at Turner’s New York business unit is expected to wear a tie, no exceptions. That is not a requirement in the Portland business unit but it’s little things like these that can really create a strong first impression. Look around at what your coworkers are wearing and dress to that level. I’ve heard people say dress for the job you want to have, but be cautious because if your boss dresses in a suit but nobody else does and you begin to then that might make you look bad in your coworkers eyes. Just always be conscious of your surroundings.

Always ask questions if you’re unsure of the norm. When I started working at the Intel campus I started to come in at work around 7 AM, take a half hour lunch then leave around 3:30 PM to hit my 8 hour limit; as a level one, we were only allowed to work 40 hours per week as part of a new hire policy Turner incorporated. I thought this was fine until I started getting some weird looks from my supervisor when I was leaving at 3:30 and luckily one of my coworkers told me that she was asking about my hours and suggested that I talk to my supervisor about my schedule. So I spoke to her the next day and told her my reasoning behind my current schedule. She explained to me that engineers usually get in at 8 AM then leave at 5 PM with a one hour lunch but she let me know that since it was slow I could keep my current schedule. She also warned me that when things picked up, I will need to adjust my schedule. This short conversation cleared up the air between us and now she knows why I leave early and I found her expectations. Over time I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t matter what time I leave as long as I get my work done and I let her know ahead of time if I’m going to leave earlier than usual.

Don’t rock the boat until you are the captain. Coming in as a new hire I know you want to change things up and show that you can make an immediate impact to the team. But for the first months or maybe even year, it’s best to sit back and just observe how your coworkers and bosses conduct themselves. Don’t be a know-it-all when it comes to changing processes or making suggestions. You will find out that many of your coworkers have been doing things the same way for years and they have a certain way they like to proceed with tasks. Follow their instructions and if you want to deviate from their plan, make sure you have a more valid reason than just wanting to try something new. I believe this piece of advice is very important because you don’t want to upset your supervisor. Demonstrate to them that you can follow directions and when you start to fully understand the workings behind the process then you will be in a better position to make suggestions.

New hires will always be eager to impress their new employers but sometimes it’s just best to sit back and observe and put your best foot forward when you’re asked to. Be prepared before you enter the job site and always be looking around at your coworkers and surroundings. Learn how to conduct yourself in meetings, informal discussions, how to greet others, and how your office is run. When you start your career just remember that you are in Rome and you should do as the Romans do.

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