How can you make sure that your first few weeks in a new job wonТt be your last?
LetТs start with your clothes. Plan what you are going to wear in advance. Being smart tells people that you are organized and reliable. Have a good breakfast and donТt forget to work out how to get to your new workplace before you leave!
Walk into the company with a smile and make eye contact. It can be difficult to do this when you are nervous but it will make you look more approachable. Be polite and friendly to everyone. DonТt forget to find out where things are, such as the water cooler and the toilets.
Introduce yourself to your new colleagues. ItТs useful to learn names as soon as possible. ItТs good to have a positive attitude, too. You need to watch the things you say and do as they will be remembered.
You donТt have to be perfect in your first weeks Ц everyone has to learn. So donТt be afraid to ask questions. ItТs better to ask for help than to do a job wrong! Listening is also important. Use a notebook and make notes so you donТt have to keep asking the same thing. Find out from your boss your responsibilities, specific projects and deadlines.
You should watch how your colleagues behave. Every company has its own culture. It may be formal or informal. For example, you may be allowed to make personal calls and surf the net, or you may not. Ideally in the first weeks you should arrive early, and leave not earlier than the majority of your colleagues. Starting late and finishing early never makes a good impression. Stay out of office politics and avoid criticizing your boss or colleagues to other people. But take advantage of after hours activities to get to know your co-workers. And join them for lunch if they invite you!
Working abroad can help your career and expand your horizons. Working with people from different cultural backgrounds can also give you new insights and a new perspective.
You should do lots of research to find potential opportunities. DonТt forget to ask your friends, family and co-workers for ideas. You can find organizations online that arrange work experience Ц they often deal with accommodation and red tape such as visas and health insurance. You can also check out companies who offer internships and contact them immediately. DonТt underestimate the value of volunteering in a developing country where you can get valuable skills and experience.
It can take months to find a job and sort out all the arrangements. You need to be well organized. Find out as much as possible about the country youТre going to visit. Websites can give you specific cultural information to help you fit better. Do research about the company, too.
Whatever the country, youТ will probably require a reasonable level of English as it is the international business language. How well you need to speak the local language will depend on the country, job and employer. But even an elementary knowledge will show your cultural sensitivity and help you get with people.
Coming back can be harder than you think. You may experience culture shock Ц you can feel emotional and it can be difficult to fit in. People change when they work abroad and things will change at home, too. It can take time to adapt.
News form the workplace
Karoshi Ц death by overwork
Do you do a lot of overtime? Work at weekends? Well, you work could be killing you. The Japanese have a word for death by overwork Ц УKaroshiФ. And 30,000 Japanese have died of Karoshi; families can even apply for compensation. Workaholism has now spread to the US, which has the longest working hours in the world (Americans work about 1,978 hours a year, almost 12 weeks more than Germans). People who work late tend to eat fast food, donТt get enough sleep or exercise, and are more likely to be injured, have car accidents or become ill. Overwork is a disease that kills.
Workplace bloggers in danger
Be careful what you write in a blog. If you write about your workplace you may lose your job. Blogging is a very popular activity, you can tell other people about your life and work. But companies often feel that in-house bloggersТ comments and criticism go against their codes of conduct. Recently several companies have sacked offending bloggers.
Has anyone criticized you all the time, ignored you or made you feel embarrassed in front of other people? Then you have experienced bullying. We often think that bullying only happens in school, but it is very common in the workplace as well. In fact studies show that about one in five people have been bullied at work. Bullies are often managers but they can also be co-workers. They make their victims look incompetent, feel failure and lose belief in themselves. Eighty-two percent of people who are bullied leave their workplace. Companies need to make sure they have policies to fight bullying.