By Sarah Clarke

Many PR students turned professionals may not know what to expect when they enter the workforce. It can be hard knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it well. There is a lot more to professional life than work though.

Start your new job on the right foot by following these simple steps.

Understand your position in the company
Being aware of your social environment and how your position fits in the company is key. Ensure that you know how your position plays into the bigger idea of company values and visions. This will not only help you to understand what is expected from you by co-workers and your boss, but it will also make you feel a sense of satisfaction in your position.

Get to know your co-workers
When you are at your desk, do not just keep to yourself and type away the rest of the day. Study your surroundings. Who is sitting beside you? Who seems to want to talk to you the most? Who can you ask for help if you ever need it? Knowing your co-workers, how they work and how they understand their own positions, as well as yours, will help you to begin to feel more comfortable in your new workplace. Besides, you never know what position that guy in the cubicle next to you could hold in five years time.

Learn from your leaders
Lastly, don’t be scared of your boss. I’m not suggesting you try to be her best friend, but don’t be nervous to ask for help. Regardless of what position we hold in a company, or how many years we have been in the workforce, there is always so much to learn. It might be intimidating to approach your boss within the first few weeks, but work slowly. Introduce yourself, make your presence known, and be friendly. Help yourself grow, always ask questions and never stop learning.

Beware of office politics
Office politics plays a huge role in any workplace. The trick is knowing how to handle conflict and deal with sticky situations such as office gossip and drama. Do not ignore it. This is where your skills as a trained communicator come into play. Knowing how to strategically communicate will definitely help you here.


For more on navigating your way through office politics, read the WetFeet article How to Deal with Office Politics.


(Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Lokner)