FIRST DAY OF WORK
ACE IT! Try to project a confident, enthusiastic and positive image. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the company’s orientation session. Once you’ve settled into your cubicle or room, familiarise yourself with the layout of the office so you’ll feel comfortable in your new space.
Avoid getting personal too soon with your new colleagues. Just be as professional and polite as possible. When lunch hour rolls around, casually ask your colleagues about places to eat in the area, and ask if they’d mind if you joined them. Take the initiative and don’t wait to be invited.
“I got my work outfit ready the night before, planned my route to the office and got a good night’s sleep. At work, I paid attention to everything around me. I smiled a lot too – there’s nothing worse than being labelled aloof or snobbish – and projected a positive, can-do attitude.” – Evelyn Goh
FIRST MAJOR PRESENTATION
ACE IT! Start preparing with the end in mind. What messages do you wish to share? Be clear so you don’t ramble or go off-point.
Next, know your audience. Share what they need and want to know, and not what you want to share – there is a difference. Finally, find out how much time you have and prepare yourself accordingly. In the days leading up to the big presentation, do a couple of trial runs – try going through the full presentation at the real venue – to build your confidence and prepare beforehand for possible technical glitches.
“At my previous job as a PR representative, my first presentation was quite nerve-racking but I told myself not to worry and pretend that I was presenting to my close friends. It worked!” – Norah Salazar
FIRST DISAGREEMENT WITH YOUR BOSS
ACE IT! If you find yourself on the verge of an argument with your boss, calm down and listen to what she has to say. Ask yourself what she’s trying to tell you. What are the emotions behind her words? Can you reframe the situation so that it turns out positive? When voicing your opinions, be calm, speak clearly and back up your statements with solutions instead of just complaining.
If you do lash out at your boss in a fit of anger, apologising after you’ve calmed down is the best way to reclaim your integrity. Privately explain that you were wrong to act on impulse and that you hope the incident will not affect your working relationship or her opinion of you. Speak clearly and assertively. Get her reassurance that the matter has been put to bed and then move on.
“My manager and I disagreed when we were drawing up a report. She felt we should give a positive conclusion whereas I wanted to include certain problems we had dug up. I made my thoughts known calmly and I was glad my manager listened. We managed to settle those differences.” – Neethu Stephen
FIRST EMBARRASSING WORK MOMENT
ACE IT! You might have called an important client by the wrong name or accidentally copied your boss in an e-mail meant for your boyfriend. You will be seen as a person of integrity if you own up to your mistake, so don’t try to cover up or shift the blame.
If the incident was minor, apologise, do your best to correct it and move on. If it’s appropriate, laugh about it. If it was major, look at your damage control options. For example, if the e-mail to your boyfriend was quite saucy, explain yourself to your boss. But no matter how bad the situation or how embarrassed you feel, one apology is enough. You don’t want people to think you have trouble letting go of whatever happened.
“I stepped out of a meeting to take a call. A colleague came out and told me that the back of my dress was torn. I was mortified! I was sure that everyone had seen my undies. I rushed to my desk, threw on a blazer and stapled my dress from the inside. I returned to the boardroom smiling, with my head held high. Since then, I’ve kept an extra set of clothes in the office.” – Anastasia Francis
This story was originally published in the January 2013 issue of Her World.