How to Keep Your Job Past the Probation Period

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So the job search is over, YAY! Now you have a new job to go to…this is always a strange time, unless of course you do it frequently. 🙂

At this point you should have knowledge of several things for your first day, including a contact persons’ name and number, you should know what the dress code is, and also your job title and duties. By this time, if you’re going to be on a probationary period with this employer, you’ll know it.

This means that the job isn’t “yours” yet. You have the time period they gave you (typically 30 – 90 days) to prove you should be hired beyond the probationary period. A lot of companies are opting to do this now because sometimes you just can’t find out everything in an interview. Legally.

You know what I mean; tardiness problems, bad hygiene, bad attitude, improper dress, chronic illness, laziness….family drama that spills into the workplace…it’s a long list that gets longer everyday because of those sorry people who don’t take their jobs seriously enough to actually earn the money they make.

They give good employees like you and me a bad name. To be perfectly blunt, this is why personality tests and credit checks are becoming commonplace in the interview process. Bad habits and choices spread across your life, they don’t just affect your home life.

Anyways, when you go to work somewhere new, it’s difficult to feel confident because you don’t know anyone. Just smile at people as you walk by, that gesture alone can do wonders for other people’s impression as you’re shown around your new workplace.

As long as you’re going to be surrounded by other people working for someone else, you need to be an adult and make the best of it, learn what you can, take opportunities that are available and grow. Corporate America has things to offer, you just have to recognize it. All employers have something to offer beyond just a paycheck, even if all it might be is a lesson learned.

Part of the first day on a new job is the fear of not being liked or making a bad impression. So don’t be the jackass that comes in and starts badmouthing everyone and everything you don’t like. If you’re a pessimist, don’t make it public, if you’re judgmental, don’t tell everyone, these are all things you should keep to yourself and only share with those already familiar with you.

Smile early and smile often, make sure it’s brushed and sincere, but use it as a tool and don’t be greedy with it, a smile will light up your face and draw people to you. Seriously.

Additionally, don’t ask one person every question you have. If you don’t know where the bathroom is yet, use that as an excuse to introduce yourself to a coworker, “Hi, I’m _____. I’m new here and haven’t been pointed to the bathroom yet, do you mind showing me to the ladies room?” When it’s lunchtime ask someone where a good restaurant is, or to show you to the building’s cafe, this will break the ice and possibly lead to a nice lunch with someone else..or a nice lunch people watching.

Say thank you and please, and be agreeable. This trial period isn’t just with your boss, the people around you have a little bit to do with how your co-existence will be, so don’t forget that nobody likes a jerk. And for crying out loud, don’t try to be someone’s best friend!

It’s another day, another dollar – another window of opportunity is open for you now. See it for what it is, a new, fresh day with opportunity in your path. Who wouldn’t want to be you?

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4 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Job Past the Probation Period

  1. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a marvellous job!

  2. Hey Mouthy,
    I agree with your advice. I think people are expected to “pay their dues” to some extent when they are new in a work environment. It doesn’t only apply to moving up the career ladder, but in how you interact with others. The work environment is a bit like a wolf pack. Everyone has their role (yes, their job roles, but social roles as well). When you said, “and for crying out loud, don’t try to be someone’s best friend!” it reminded me of a time when someone got hired by a company I worked for and she went around inviting everyone to happy hours within days of coming in. We liked her, but it was a turn off that she wasn’t paying her dues. It’s important for new hires (especially those new to the workforce/just coming out of college or high school) to feel things out and get to know who is who and how things run. Your post brings up a lot of these good points, especially to be professional (on time, dressed well, polite, ready to get down to work and learn your job).

    • Paying dues is a perfect description of what you have to do in a new job. It’s the way the world works! You don’t want to walk around being an open book any more than anyone else, so behaving as if you’re fast friends with everyone you work with is insincere and makes people believe you’d be a brown noser “A person who acts favorably to his or her peers to gain stasis or fancy that will eventually be used to their advantage. Such as a raise, promotion, or acceptance in a group. Usually brown nosers will do anything to gain the approval of their person of choice. These people can also be described as losers because they canâ??t work for what they want, instead they play dirty and butter-up the boss/teacher/peer into getting what they want” – courtesy of the Urban Dictionary.

      Sometimes starting a new job can incite all sorts of insecurities and doubts about your abilities. I find myself getting frustrated very quickly if I’m not picking things up as quickly as I feel I should. I try to make sure my coworkers know that I’m not there to take anyone’s job, I’m there to do mine and try to be part of a team, if there is one.

      A new job is more than a week long experience, it’s important to take it easy and make friends naturally. Take your time getting to know these people, you’ll have plenty of time, you’re there probably 40 hours a week, five days a week, I’d say that’s a fair amount of time.

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