Remember that first impression you made when you first interviewed: that, figuratively, is your initial workplace aura. Got the job: well, from that point on your workplace reputation begins, and it moves in many ways ahead of you. Brian Koslow put is very succinctly,” “There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.”
Take a few days to relax and comfortably focus in on everything you noticed before during and after you interviewed. Recreate a mental picture of the physicality of the office: décor, colors, if there were any flowers, perhaps a dish of sweets by the receptionist. Then picture the flow of people, their interactions: is it quiet in the reception area, are people friendly or at least courteous to one another, who gives deference to whom, how do they dress; and, did they react to you with a smile hello nod of their head. All of this will give you an inkling of your new workplace ambiance. You are the one with the “incoming” reputation to-be. The workplace you are coming into has an established reputation: there will be adjustments and compromises expected of you. How you deal with them, how you interact with the staff you will be meeting and working with and/or for, all this will contribute to your workplace reputation now in-the-making.
After you’ve gone over the things you visually noticed it’s time to do some more research on the company. Add to the preliminary information you gathered: become more knowledgeable about the company, its CEO – its hierarchy. Try to learn something about your department, your supervisor/manager, and those you will be working most closely with. Better yet, if you got the job through a personal referral speak with him/her and find out what you can through them especially if your referrer works at the company. But, be very mindful of your “connection:” though most of your co-workers will be nice and want to help there are always the one or two who will be resentful and even jealous. They’ll want to know why you got the job rather than their friend or family member: tread softly, tread carefully. Their workplace reputations follow them around: yours is a work-in-progress – for now.
First few-day jitters are common, probably even expected by your co-workers most of whom will understand them – they’ve been there however long ago that might be. Let them work themselves out. Don’t play on them, and do not use them as an excuse for anything. You are starting to build your workplace reputation: in this case negative is out.
Become accustomed to your “space,” recognize who walks there freely and who may keep a certain distance, you’ll find out the “why” soon enough. Ask light questions, avoid coming across as nosy. In any instance even if you may know more than someone else, don’t interrupt and do not be condescending to anyone: attitude will always label you and it is not a label you want as part of your workplace reputation. If/when you are asked your opinion give it a few seconds of thought and give it considerately and with honestly wrapped in tact.
When you are tasked with a project do your best to figure it out without asking some else to explain it to you, but don’t belabor if you get confused or stuck that’s when you ask straight-forward and with confidence and always express your thanks and appreciation. Don’t be too impatient to ask and don’t be too patient not to ask. Always use good judgement no matter the situation: at times it’s wise to defer to someone else as long as it is not detrimental to the company or another person. You will earn respect from that person: word travels – it travels fast and it travels hand-in-hand with building your workplace reputation.
When it has to do with being tech-savvy accept it when something is new for you and ask for guidance/help: major, avoidable, mistakes can be made if you don’t. Also, if you see someone struggling with a technical problem/question and you are savvy offer your assistance in a very informal manner.
Whatever comes up during work remember it is business not personal. That’s not to say some people don’t’ get personal, they can and they do – you stay polite, show respect even if it’s a one-sided show, and keep your distance.
You define your workplace reputation. Communicate and treat your co-workers attentively, intelligently, clearly and perceptively. Respect every staff member no matter their position; show that you are willing and ready to give assistance and to acceptance assistance. Keep your attitude thoughtful and demeanor courteous; take your work, your responsibilities, seriously and diligently. Don’t speak too loudly or too softly; maintain an even light sense of humor; and show up for work every day.
You are on an unspoken probationary period for a while. It’s unlikely you’ll find it any official company policy, but it will shadow you initially. What will precede the workplace reputation you are about to establish are the references given you: they will to varying degrees describe your past workplaces’ reputation. Whoever you ask for a reference, make sure you know pretty well what they will say about you: ask them to be supportive, truthful and positive in their representation of you. References are a pre-contributory factor to your workplace reputation: they are, I believe, trace elements among those “fast traveling advertisements.”
“Curtains up, light the lights, you got nothing to hit but the heights …” You decide on the height(s) you want to reach and build your reputation on trust, credibility and honor and you will get there.