I only have one tip really: Start out well. For the first year, be on time, be diligent, arrive early, leave late, take shorter breaks than others, study, be nice to everyone, volunteer for the grunt work, and have fewer excuses. The adage is truer than it is false – a first impression is a lasting impression. Impress everyone that they made a good choice hiring you!
As a sprinter, it is important to start well. A poor start can cost the entire race. Distance runners have a better chance of “making up” for a poor start, but their starts are important, too!
When I was in high school, I used to think that I could “make up” for a poor start. WRONG! I was a sprinter. I lost a lot of races. The start was as important as the rest of the race – maybe even more important.
In the work world, the first year is critical. People form opinions about you. They determine whether you are a team player. They determine whether you are talented or just run-of-the-mill. Once they make their minds up, it can be difficult to change them. So make them believe you are one of the best things ever to happen to them.
This first-impression thing works both ways. If you are impressive for a full year, it is difficult for folks to see you as a rotten disgrace the next year even after a flub or two…unless you are really a rotten disgrace. If you are UN-impressive for the first year, it will be difficult for them to see your gifts and talents and potential later on.
You’re going to make an impression anyway. Make it a good one!