How To Ace The First 30 Days At A New Job

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During my first 30 days at a new job, I walked into the break room to get a cup of coffee. I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between two of my colleagues. Both complaining about the uselessness of the ‘young bucks’ who had recently joined the organization. According to them, millennials are unmotivated, entitled, lazy and unproductive. I was one of the new guys and as a millennial myself, I quickly felt offended. I worked hard, and as far as I could tell, was doing well in my first three weeks. However, while reflecting on the conversation, it dawned on me, they were right. In fact, the millennials around me were not the people I would recommend for a job.

For millennials, the definition of hard work must go beyond all-nighters on a project while pounding energy drinks and listening to Ed Sheeran. Baby Boomers and Gen X grew up in a different environment and although they spend hours in meeting rooms discussing ways to relate to us millennials, their expectations of a good employee still reflect their upbringing.

The exchange got me wondering, how can millennials step into a new job and prove themselves? It is time to stand outside of the crowd. Here are five steps to ace the first thirty days at your new job:

Arrive Early & Stay Late

Nothing will get you noticed in a negative light quicker than arriving late. Horatio Nelson said: “I owe all my success in life to having been always a quarter of an hour before my time.” Take that as your new motto in your first thirty days. This will show your supervisor that you are disciplined and that you can be counted on. Resist the urge to clock out right at 5. Instead try staying 15 minutes later than the majority of your colleagues, getting a job start on the next day. By the end of the week, you will have worked 75 more minutes than the guy in the next to you. When staying late, don't just be a warm seat, if you've completed your work, brainstorm new ideas to optimize the company or garner new business.

Turn Your Cellphone Off

Millennials spend an average of 17.8 hours per day using diverse media platforms. How do you expect to be productive spending that much time on social media? While people gripe about your millennial coworkers who can’t keep their hands and eyes off their mobile devices, you will stand out (in a good way) by keeping your phone away. Turn it off, keep it in your backpack or purse or for those addicted, leave it in your car. Try it for a couple days and see how more productive and efficient your work becomes.

[RELATED]: 7 Ways To Stop Letting Personal Issues Affect Your Work

Use The Break Room To Make ‘Friends’

If you’ve read Wired That Way by Florence Littauer and have met me, you would know that I am primarily a ‘peaceful phlegmatic’. This means that unless you approach me, I would not talk to you or make eye contact with you. However, I’ve realized that networking is an indispensable ingredient to success. Thus, I make it a point to get out of my comfort zone and continuously expand my sphere of influence. After you’ve kept your phone away all morning, your first instinct might be to check Facebook or Instagram during your lunch hour. However, I recommend taking 10 or 15 minutes to start up conversations and meet your coworkers. What are their titles? How long have they been with the organization? What are their daily roles? Then take initiative and lead your office team-building activities. Show your boss that you can create relations and lead others. Once the time comes to fill a leadership position, your name will be added to the list of candidates.

Ask For Permission To Make Suggestions

Businesses grow by reinventing themselves, by ameliorating and streamlining processes. Suggest more effective and efficient ways to achieve the same goals. In fact, most managers will welcome the feedback. However, proceed with caution, this is where most millennials get the “entitled” label. If you're anything like me, you're bursting with passion. Sometimes, that can come off as a “better than” attitude. Millennials are notorious for thinking their ideas are “revolutionary” and better than anything that has ever been done.

The key to do this effective: wait until you have a good understanding of the daily processes, ask your supervisor for permission to offer a suggestion in the future in case an opportunity arises. Most will feel respected and likely more open to your ideas. Prepare for your presentation, practice it multiple times and be confident. Then, deliver results. This will set you apart and give you an edge when the time comes to ask for a raise.

Own Your Mistakes

But don't be sloppy.

In your first month, you will mess up. Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes. Leaders takes ownership of their actions and their mistakes. Show your team and your boss that you are a leader by immediately voicing your faux-pas or by accepting constructive criticism. In fact, my recommendation is to learn as much as you can during the first 30 days and try new tasks that you’re not comfortable with. Most employers are more lenient with gaffes during the first 30 days. This period of time is to try, fail and adjust. Take full advantage of it.


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34 thoughts on “How To Ace The First 30 Days At A New Job”

  1. Making friends is a good suggestion. New jobs are so hard at first getting your bearings! These tips are perfect.

  2. These are great tips for navigating a new job! I think every single one of these is so important!

  3. Christine Celine

    I love these tips. I always have a hard time navigating the first few weeks at a new job

  4. Two years at my job and I still don’t use my phone at all! Not only does it help me focus, but it shows that I am committed. There’s a newer employee and he’s always on his phone and it immediately raised questions about professionalism!

  5. I’m in my first 30 days of my job and I’ve already been trying most of these! Since I work in broadcasting my field is a bit different so I do use my phone a lot to find things to keep updating my station’s social media channels, but I definitely try and avoid using my phone for personal reasons during work hours!

    xoxo A

  6. My favorite tip about this is to ask for permission to make suggestions… Being that I’m a Type A personality, I’ve realized (through much trial and error) that there’s a wrong way to take initiative and just jumping in can actually burn bridges before they’re even built.

  7. Stacey Billingsley

    This is a good article for my high school students. I plan to share it with them. We have been doing some college prep., so now we can throw in some career prep.!

    1. Lionel Hounkanrin

      I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the article, Stacey. And it’s definitely a great time to start career prep.

  8. Elizabeth Johnson

    This is a great post! These tips are spot on! I completely agree with the cell phone tip. It is crazy how much time people spend on their phone. That is sure to make you stand out!

  9. Such a great post and I think something that every millennial needs to learn when starting out in the real world! Especially the arriving on time tip, nothing makes a bad first impression like being late. I always strive to be a few minutes early to each meeting, this way I can prepare a little more before the meeting starts and get set up to take notes.

    Thank you again for all of the tips, they are wonderful!

  10. I co-sign them all! When I started working in advertising straight out of my first degree, I did all these things and they really paid off. Staying off your phone might be the hardest thing for a young person, but being glued to your phone all the time really does leave a bad impression in the working world. Especially to management. Focus on the tasks ahead.

    And yuppp to getting to know people during a coffee break. A little chit-chat goes a long way!

  11. I’m actually within the first 30 days of a new internship so this article is very fitting! Thanks for the useful tips!

  12. Love these tips! Making an effort and staying longer than your clocked time is a great one!

  13. These are really great tips! I remember starting one of my previous jobs where I was one of the youngest people there. The millennial hate talk wasn’t bad at all, but there all the same. I still had to prove that I earned my place. But that little effort made such a difference!

  14. I love this. You definitely need to prove yourself that first month! Coming early and staying late is SO important.

  15. I just started a new job and I must say doing all of this made the transition 10x easier. Especially the part about asking permission to make suggestions.

    1. Lionel Hounkanrin

      Alexis, I’m glad this helped

      Lionel Hounkanrin – author of Money-Smart Millennials

  16. This post came at a perfect time for me since I will be starting an internship very soon!! Great tips!

  17. Great tips! As a freelancer, I have ‘new jobs’ al the time, and these are some of the things I always try to do to make a good first impression!

  18. I’ve been at my new job just over 2 months now and I think one of my biggest takeaways is not to be able to afraid to ask for help when you need it, but only after you’ve done a bit of research first yourself! Showing that extra step of effort does go a long way.

  19. Tomorrow I start a new journey with a new company. It’s my first ” Big Girl ” Job, needless to say I am so nervous. This really helped.

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