- Ask for the pay rate
Technically this belongs to the job interview stage but its important to emphasize how important this is. So many people are too intimidated or shy to ask how much they are going to be paid if they accept a job offer, but it’s a perfectly fair question! Getting paid is the main reason most of us work and we need that money to survive. So understanding just how lucrative your prospective new position is going to be is vital to mapping your life out. It always opens the door for you to come back to the employer and negotiate a higher rate if you believe your services are worth more. Ninety-nine per cent of employers are not going to withdraw a job offer if you ask for the pay rate OR attempt to bargain for more money. They already like you – that’s why you were offered the job!
- Read your contract letter for letter
No one ever reads the terms and conditions before they sign. Those greasy documents are purposefully long-winded and full of jargon to prevent us doing just that. But you must make an exception for your employment agreement. We’ve seen a lot of dodgy contracts over the years and it’s vitally important to familiarize yourself with a new contract before you sign. You can take any questions back to your employer before inking your name and hopefully iron out any confusion or concerns before you immerse into your new job. You really want to be making sure it’s a lawful agreement and if there are areas where the contract potentially breaches employment law it’s a huge red flag that the employer is dodgy. Also, get a second pair of eyes to review it – they may catch something you missed or be able to explain something you don’t quite understand.
- Introduce yourself to everyone
Successful employment experiences is largely about relationships and so is landing new opportunities. Start your job like you mean to continue and introduce yourself to everyone who is anyone, including loyal customers, promo people, and of course your colleagues and managers. Take the initiative and don’t wait for people to come to you. This will show you are a driven individual who takes the role seriously and will make making friends easier too.
- Define some short-term goals
Having something you are working towards rather than just ‘working’ is always more motivational and makes getting out of the bed in the morning easier. This is especially true in the early stages of a new job as you are learning the ropes. Come up with 3-5 objectives you’d like to reach within certain timeframes and make it part of an orientation plan – no matter what kind of job you are doing. For example, in a retail position you could set yourself a goal of researching a signature brand used by the company every week for a month. You’d quickly develop expertise about the products sold at your store and will have more knowledge to make sales. Work with your manager to establish some goals and this will also show them you have good initiative.
- Establish a positive routine
The same goes for establishing positive, enabling routines that will help structure your working days. It could be that you do a few exercises in the morning before work every day to get the endorphins flowing or having lunch with colleagues with your phone turned off. It can even be as simple as taking a coffee break at 10.30am every morning (if that’s feasible). Once you’ve fulfilled a routine for about a month it becomes second nature and having that structure makes it easier to navigate your working days. Don’t be too rigid though – make sure you mentally allow room for agility and flexibility because things don’t always go according to plan!
- Ask all the questions
There is no such thing as a stupid question. Remember when you were a kid and you incessantly asked your parents questions ranging from ‘why is the sky blue?’ to ‘what if the bad guys think they are the good guys?’ This is how you should approach a new job, even if it annoys the more impatient people in the office – I’d rather have someone frustrated at me asking lots of question than be in trouble for making a mistake. Usually though people in leadership are happy to receive questions and even get an ego boost out of someone seeking their expertise. Questions are the single best pathway to learning – it’s that simple.
- Seek a mentor
Experienced staff members are invaluable resources for newbies and the best example of this is having a designated mentor who you can develop a relationship with. Some companies purposefully assign mentors to new employees but most don’t so it might require initiative on your part. Discuss this with your manager and then work out what the nature of the mentorship might look like. It could be that you meet with them for 30 minutes every week to go over the trials and tribulations of your new role. If your manager is reluctant couch it to them in terms of how it will benefit the business and make you a more productive employee. It could be that your manager fills this role but it’s better if your mentor is not in a direct management role over you. Reflecting on your work experiences is invaluable and a willing mentor is the ideal person to do this with. Mentors also don’t have to work for the same company. They could even be a family friend that knows the industry – just having someone who is available to you who can offer support and guidance is extremely helpful at the start, and throughout, a new job.
- Join the union
Unions offer expert and independent support for working people and having a membership gives you several advantages. Namely, you will belong to an organisation that can: negotiate to improve your wages and conditions, offer legal support with any employment issues including disciplinary situations, and advocate on behalf of workers in your industry to improve workplace culture and practices for all. Joining a union means you never have to seek a lawyer for advice or representation and you have more influence in your workplace by belonging to a collective group who have more decision-making power. There are a variety of different unions that support workers across most industries and a quick Google search will point you in the right direction. Or you can visit https://www.union.org.nz/find-your-union/.
- Find the best local coffee spot
Caffeine makes the world go around!