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One-fourth of those in their first career jobs don’t survive the first year, according to a study by The Employment Foundation. Nearly half are out the door in 18 months, reports Leadership IQ, a training firm.

That being the case, it is important that you recognize the extreme importance of getting off on the right foot from day one on a new job. Performance in the early days will often provide strong and lasting indicators for both employee and employer as to how a new hire will perform. Fair or unfair, first impressions have a lasting effect on success.

There are a few basic guidelines to help in making the transition smooth.

  1. Arrive early on the job and stay late. Get to work at least 30 minutes before the specified starting time for the first several months. This is a good time, before the interruptions of the day start, to take care of routine chores and get a head start on the day. Demonstrate interest in the job. Ask for extra information and guidance. Make a list of actions to be taken the next day.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help when needed. To do so is a sign of strength not an admission of weakness, as is often assumed. Seeking assistance, intelligently, shows confidence and desire to do the job.
  1. Observe how things “really get done.” Learn how the machinery of the organization works. (This is likely to be quite different from what’s spelled out in the policy and training manuals.) Absorb the folklore. Don’t join cliques or deal in office politics. Leave the gossip to others.
  1. Respect the hierarchy. The organization is bigger and stronger than any one person. The new boy in the neighbourhood can’t change it in the beginning. Recognize and respect there’s a chain of command; everybody has a boss. Rebels rarely survive for the long haul.
  1. Know the business of the business… the mission of the organization, what it does and what values it represents. Learn how the job fits into the overall picture.
  1. Adapt to the environment. Observe the style of dress ­ casual or more buttoned down? ­ and be guided by it. Is business done in an informal manner or strictly by the rules? By memos and formal meetings or by face-to-face discussions and chance meetings in the hallway?

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