Citizen of the World Guides
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chapter 12
the start

Yes, on your first day of work you need to make a positive, friendly, co-operative impression on everyone you meet. Good first impressions have a way of establishing the tone of future relationships. Poor first impressions are hard to shake off.
Do your homework so you are clear beforehand on the start time, dress code and any security issues you will face in your job. Observe good manners with everyone you encounter. Do not forget to use the words “please” and “thank you”.
Your biggest and most important challenge on the first day is to meet with your immediate supervisor to gain a sound understanding of his or her specific expectations for you in your position and what is really important to your supervisor results-wise. You need to find out what your role is in making your department or TEAM a success. You also have to know the basis on which your future performance is going to be evaluated.
If it is possible to do so, take an 8 ½” x 11” notepad with you to this meeting and make notes on the key points discussed. Formal job descriptions are just the starting point in defining any position. Do not be afraid to ask questions to clarify your responsibilities and assignments. After your supervisor covers an important subject, consider repeating back your understanding of it by saying, “May I summarize what you said were my priorities [action items or main responsibilities]? You want me to …” This will provide you with more acknowledgment or greater clarity.
In addition, it is always helpful to hear your supervisor’s views on “the big picture”. What is your supervisor’s vision for what he or she wants your department or area of the organization to achieve in terms of medium- to long-term objectives? How does this relate to the rest of the organization? What does your supervisor regard as the biggest challenges facing his or her department and the organization as a whole? Some of this information from your supervisor may have to be covered at a subsequent meeting but the sooner you know it, the better.
Following this initial meeting with your supervisor, sit down and expand your notes on what was said. Review them to identify any issues on which you may need further clarification from either your supervisor or co-workers. Keep these notes for future reference.
Now you are ready to “make it happen” in your job.


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