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The new baby at work

Jun 4, 2016

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Moyukh Mahtab:

If you thought university was tough and the days of being bullied, waking up early to get to class on time and assignments that you need to turn in were tough, you are in for a surprise. Most workplaces are like minefields and being the new kid fresh out of university, you are walking around with a target attached to your back. Fortunately, things do get better. Till then, here's what you need to know.

Speak up, but don't step on toes

People will probably treat you like a child. It's easy to let that get to your head and go overboard. You will need to prove to 'them' that you are capable. Speak up, if you have ideas, share them. Show that you know what you are doing.

But the first day at work and trying to teach your boss how to do their job better, will not make you friends. And these are people you have to work with. Remember, there's a fine line between asserting yourself and being a rude teenager.

Don't throw away those alarm clocks just yet

Sure you won't have to wake up, barely wash up and eat to get to class on time anymore. But, you will have to wake up, barely wash up and eat to get to work on time. In university you were paying for the education, now you are being paid to show up on time. And no tardy fresher gives a good impression. Save those excuses about traffic jams and be sure to get there on time. If you want to be treated like a professional, you need to act like one.

Dress for the job you have

Sure you got away with wearing the same Iron Maiden t-shirt to class every single day. Now you need to bear in mind the company culture and dress accordingly. Keep the tattered jeans and scruffy sneakers for later and dress professionally. This does not imply you wear a suit to work every day. But depending on where you work, dress in a manner that suits the culture. If you want to be treated like an adult, dress like one.

You are the new generation

Chances are the adults at work are not as well versed in technology and social media as you are. Use that to your advantage. If you think the company could benefit from your knowledge, share it with your boss.  You are from a different time. This is also the time to impress those in power, show 'em what you are good at and maybe clinch that promotion you want.

Do your homework

Sure you won't be tested. But just because you are new, you won't get away with being completely clueless. Try to get up to speed as much as possible on your own so that you have some idea what you are signing up for when you show up at work. Be open to learning. Ask your colleagues for help if you need – most people wouldn't mind helping a newbie if asked nicely.

The first days at work are when you carve out your place in the company. If you come off as a petulant, tardy, snotty nosed brat, the impression stays.

The writer is a contributor of The Daily Star and a junior at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka