7 Tips for a Great Start at a New Job

Starting a new job can be exciting, but the first days or weeks can feel overwhelming.

Starting a new job can be exciting, but the first days or weeks can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re a new pharmacy school graduate or a seasoned pharmacist, your new position comes with a new work culture and learning curve.

A new job gives you the opportunity to start fresh and think about how you want to be perceived by your new manager, colleagues, and staff. The first week or 2 on the job is also when your boss and coworkers form their first impressions of you and your future potential.

Here are some tips to make the most of your first days on the job and smoothly transition to your new position:

1. Introduce Yourself

Having someone introduce you to your new coworkers is happening less frequently than it did a decade ago. Today, most new hires hit the ground running, so take the imitative to introduce yourself when you encounter a colleague.

Start with those you’ll work with on a daily basis and expand from there. However, this isn’t the time to discuss your recent breakup or the terrible supervisor you had at your last gig. That type of personal information will define you in a negative way, so keep it positive and leave non-work-related information at home.

Likewise, if you’re a current staff pharmacist, take a moment to welcome new hires and introduce them to some of the staff. It’s a great icebreaker to help develop positive coworker relationships and will make it easier for new employees to settle into their new environment.

2. Ask Questions

Pharmacists, airline pilots, and parachute riggers all have one thing in common: zero tolerance for making errors. That said, ask questions about company policies, protocol, and procedures as needed.

Familiarize yourself with written training manuals and tasks that will fall under your responsibilities. Still, no one expects you to know everything, so it’s better to ask before you complete a task the wrong way. Seek out a mentor to move you in a positive direction.

3. Learn the Work Culture

During the first week or 2 in a new setting, you may be very tempted to talk about how things were done at your last job. Instead, take time to listen and learn the rationale for why things are done differently than what you’ve previously experienced before you offer your opinions and suggestions, or you may be viewed as too critical or a know-it-all.

4. Come in Early, Stay a Little Late

Nothing can affect first impressions more rapidly than routinely coming into work late or leaving early, especially during the first days on the job. Allow time for a busy commute and have childcare arrangements down pat. Arriving a few minutes early gives you time to settle in, while leaving no earlier than your coworkers shows you’re dedicated and adaptable.

Establishing a positive punch card record will position you for times when you really need to adjust your schedule for unexpected emergencies on the home front.

5. Avoid Office Gossip

Politics and gossip are unavoidable in the workplace, but during your first weeks, try to sidestep taking sides and getting caught up in any rumor mills. Instead, observe your coworkers in the break room and how they relate to colleagues and supervisors. Listen, but don’t solicit.

6. Show Initiative

Your workload will be given either in small doses or at full strength. If it’s the former, don’t sit around doing nothing, hide out in the lunch room, or text your friends. Ask for something to do, volunteer for tasks to free up your coworkers, or request to learn something new.

If you’re coming on board as a former student or resident, your employer expects you to step up your game and become a self-starter. Status quo isn’t acceptable.

Be wary, however, of being initiated into the workplace with all the undesirable assignments that others want to get off their plates. You may have to wait until another new hire comes along to remove them from your own workload.

Likewise, senior pharmacists shouldn’t perceive new hires as a dumping ground. Show respect and gain respect.

7. Check in with Your Supervisor

An astute boss will have you penciled into his or her calendar to see how your first days are going. If not, request a brief meeting early on to discuss your positive experiences as well as the snags you’re experiencing.

Ask your manager about his or her expectations of your work in the weeks ahead. You don’t want to wait until your probationary period is over to learn how you’re doing and how you can improve.