Following up on our previous post about the important of staying upright and attentive during the probation period, we continue the discussion with three further rules that can help you navigate those three months with success.
As we were saying, it’s normal to feel edgy about a probation period, but there are certainly ways to get through those (normally 90 days, or thereabouts) first three months without raising unnecessary red flags about your ability to slot into the role well.
In addition to the discussion we held about looking after yourself, getting to know your work family and why staying off your phone is critical, here are three further ways to ensure probation smooth sailing.
- 4. Keep it Neutral
Anything you talk about should be kept neutral, especially if it isn’t related to the job you need to do. Unless your job is strongly focused on politics, gender, religion or any other subject with high potential to rock the probation raft, keep a lid on it. A strong opinion is a great quality, but wield it with caution: Don’t start a row about the 1% with Margie in accounts, pooh-pooh the mainstream music station your peers are listening to, or tell Rowan in design that the logo he’s about to pitch could use some help (especially if you’re in sales).
A good rule around these subjects is wait to be asked-and if you don’t feel comfortable to talk about controversial topics, simply say so with a friendly disposition. This is often the most professional way to manage a tricky conversation.
- 5. Make friends with the rule book
Rules are not your enemy. They are your friend. Don’t act put out if you are asked to place your phone out of reach, sharpen up on punctuality, or asked to keep the volume down on a conversation. Lateness, disruption and entitlement are red flags that are easily noticed and hard to turn around once noticed. You may be able to work well in loud environments or finish your workload at a time loss, but your colleagues may not. If you’ve been asked to resolve behaviours similar to these, take it as feedback in what is needed for you to keep the role.
- 6. Don’t butt heads with the boss
If you really value your job and you want to make it past the probation period, remain professional at all times around your boss. You may be working closely with them or you rarely see them, but remember at all times that professional conduct is your best bet. Any problems you have, any questions you need to assert, consider them carefully before you raise them. There is always a preferred route for discussing problems, and it is rarely in direct discussion with the boss. Find out who you can speak to if you need to air concerns and arrange a time to be frank.
Starting a new position can be intimidating or challenging for many people. Just remember that by holding yourself accountable, pulling back any entitled behaviour and remaining friendly will go a long way.
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