Friday, June 3, 2011

'Bite Your Tongue' and Other Advice for New Employees

Today's college graduates are used to speaking their minds.  And even if they haven't been exactly heard, they certainly believe they have something to say that matters.  As a millenial myself, I also firmly believe I have something to contribute to my office.  I mean, why else would my bosses have hired me (and why else would I be writing this  blog)?  Yet the first weeks on the a new job (or internship) are not the time to take the office by storm - actually it's never time for that.  Rather, if you are a new employee, here are three pieces of advice:

1) Bite your tongue
This is something I struggle with on a daily basis, but I suggest you stifle your enthusiasm to speak and up and just spend some time listening.  Get a feel for the workplace and what your colleagues are doing, and only then slowly begin to contribute to the discussion.  Others in your office might have been on the job for years before they felt comfortable speaking up and being taken seriously, so take measured steps to ensure that your eagerness to participate in the conversation doesn't alienate or offend some of your more seasoned colleagues. While I'm not advocating silence, I do suggest getting a feel for your office and waiting for your opinion to be asked before volunteering your two cents about a project that your colleagues might have been working on for months.

2) Ask questions
That great idea you have, yeah, they might have tried it a few years back with little success.  So rather than trying to have the answers, ask the questions.

3) Pay attention
Take note of the office culture, the way in which people approach new projects or tasks, and how your colleagues interact with your boss.  As the newbie at work, you'll be given some slack, but generally speaking, I'd try to adhere to the code of conduct and protocol already established in the office.

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