The truth is that a quarter to half of new hires do not make it through their first year in a job, said some studies, which means that how you deal with tough situations in a job, particularly in the first week, is important.
my paper lists some possible scenarios and asks experts how you can get a handle on the corporate jungle.
1. It's your first week of work and you realise that your boss is demanding. How do you manage his expectations?
Bosses like employees who are positive and have a “can-do” attitude, said experts.
And when one perceives a boss as “demanding”, it is usually because your boss thinks you are capable and experienced, said Madam Tan Lee Chiew, 60, who has 25 years of experience in human resource.
Your employer may then assign you tasks which he or she assumes you will find a breeze.
You may need to seek help from your new boss and tell him or her that you need guidance in your tasks, especially if they are complex, she said.
Mr David Ang, executive director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, advises that you stay calm under pressure, prioritise, plan your work properly and have good time management. This will help your boss form a good impression of you.
2. How do you dress appropriately to present the right image to your bosses and colleagues at your new job?
When in doubt, follow the leader, said Ms Agnes Koh, director of image-consultancy firm Etiquette and Image International.
In the corporate world, company bosses usually wear business casual – oxford long-sleeved shirts with ties and tailored trousers for men, and long-sleeved shirts with solid-tone knee-length pencil skirts for women.
As for creative jobs, it is “beyond limits and subject to individual taste”, she added. Trendy and one-of-a-kind pieces are not out of the question.
3. You've just made a mid-career switch from a corporate job to a creative one. What can you expect?
Ms Koh said that one has to be prepared “mentally, physically, socially and emotionally”, as the switch can be extreme.
A civil-service position, for example, is one where the rules, workload and responsibilities have been clearly laid out.
In a creative job, you are expected to always think out of the box and have fresh ideas.
This means that your role might not be so clearly defined.
Speedy adjustment is critical. Also be prepared to work with tight deadlines, and to even work overtime.
Communication styles can differ between both work cultures and, to fit in, study the environment and try to adapt to it accordingly, said Mr Ang.
4. Your colleagues have been working together for years and are clique-ish. How do you join in?
Ultimately, one should take the initiative to break the ice with new colleagues, said Madam Tan.
Get to know them in a non-work setting. If you are sincere in wanting to get to know them, they should be more willing to accept you.
Be humble, friendly and tactful. However, keeping to yourself if your colleagues are clique-ish can be misconstrued as you being unfriendly or stuck-up.