7 Noteworthy Tips for Your First Week at a New Job

7 Tips for Your First Week at a New Job

Congratulations on landing a new job!

Do you feel nervous or anxious about your first week? Being prepared will not only help you avoid stress but will also set the tone for the rest of your tenure at your new company. Check out these seven useful tips!

1 Build rapport with your colleagues.
Your coworkers will be your allies if you take the time to create positive relationships with them. Don’t wait for them to approach you. Take the initiative to extend a friendly greeting and learn their role in the company. For large workforces, it might help you to jot down a few notes in your cell phone or notebook. Though it’s fine to check out fellow workers on professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, some people may find it weird if you comment on things you learned about them through Facebook. Spend the most time getting to know the people you will work with on a daily basis. Lunchtime and breaks are an ideal time to chat.

Karen, red glasses, corner office, accounting, two sons in college

Brent, met in elevator, custodian, speaks Cantonese

2 Learn your way around the building.
How confident do you feel when you’re lost? On your first day, take a few moments to walk around the building or ask one of your new friends for a tour. For a big building, you might want to draw yourself a map of the key areas and who works where.

3 Hit the ground running, but not so hard you injure yourself.
Volunteering for duties will make an impression on your superiors, but there are some surprising downsides that you should consider. First, if you bite off more than you can chew, you will seem frazzled, untrustworthy, or incompetent. Second, your coworkers might resent you if what you do seems to make them look bad. Aim for balance. Be willing to accept assignments and help others, but don’t commit yourself to more than you can accomplish.

4 Set your priorities.
What do you want to accomplish at this job? Why did the company hire you? Write down one or two of your top values or objectives. By determining what your priorities are, you can organize your new schedule around your goals. Many experts encourage people to attack the largest, most important projects early in the day or week. Later, you can work on some of the less pressing tasks.

5 Travel the old trails before you try to blaze new ones.
If you are in a managerial role, change may create chaos if you’re not careful. Find out what the old routines are. Though some policies may seem strange to you, why change them if they work? The founder of a job search consultancy firm, Jaime Petkanics, gave a rule of thumb: “My best advice for the first week at a new job is to listen and observe first, and act second. Use your first week on the job to get the lay of the land, learn and listen. Once you have a really solid understanding of what’s going on, who your key partners are and where you can add value, then start moving and making an impact.”

6 Manage your expectations.
By the end of the first week, I will befriend everyone in the company, solve one of their major problems, and organize my work schedule for the next three months. Is this a reasonable expectation? If your expectations aren’t reasonable, you will be unhappy and disheartened when you fail to reach them. On the other hand, set your expectations too low and you might end up unemployed in a few months. Make it your mission to find out your employer’s expectations for your job role. (You might revisit the original job posting.) It’s okay to exceed the requirements, but be realistic about what you can accomplish the first week, month, and year on the job.

7 Don’t forget that you are a human being.
You’ll work best if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Wake up early enough to eat a nutritious breakfast. Make smart choices for your lunch and dinner. Keep in touch with your old colleagues and friends, and spend a little time socializing with them, if possible. Get sufficient rest at night. You should also pursue hobbies that interest you. According to Psychology Today, hobbies remind you that you are not just an employee. A failed project at work won’t damage your identity as a musician or an athlete. Joining a club based related to your pastime will also help you foster strong social connections.

Whether your first days at work are stressful or exciting depends on how prepared you are. Will you apply these useful tips? You won’t regret getting your first week off to a great start. And soon, you’ll be an old pro.

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from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/tips-for-first-week-at-new-job/

10 Steps to Follow When Writing a Self-Evaluation

10 Steps to Follow When Writing a Self-Evaluation

You’ve been asked to write a self-evaluation. That means not only do you have to reflect on the past year and demonstrate your value to the company you work for, but you also have to do it with a dash of humility and eagerness to grow.

No pressure, right?

Let’s break down all the necessary steps, simplify things, and take the dread out of writing a self-evaluation. You’ve got this!

Before You Begin Writing Your Self-Evaluation

A lot of the work that goes into writing your own review is prep work. If you were aware that a self-evaluation was on the horizon, you may have been proactive and kept notes about your accomplishments and struggles over the course of the year. In that case, congratulations! You’re halfway there.

But if the review process was a surprise or you didn’t prep, don’t fret. There’s plenty you can do to pull together a strong self-evaluation.

1 Know how the self-evaluation is going to be used

It’s helpful to know why your boss has asked for a self-review. Will it be used when he or she writes your performance review? Will it be brought into play when you’re considered for raises or bonuses? How in-depth should the evaluation be? Should it include any analytics? This information will give you a solid starting point and ultimately affect how you write the review.

2 Write out a list of your accomplishments

It’s time to think about what you’ve achieved over the past year. Brainstorm and create a master list of the things you’ve done. For now, include everything you can think of. As you sit down to write your review, you can whittle that list down to the essentials—the things you’re most proud of and especially those that brought the most value to the company.

3 Gather analytics if you can

Make your value quantifiable whenever possible. “I increased my customer retention” isn’t nearly as compelling as “I increased my customer retention by 21 percent.” The extra time you take to do some analysis before you write your review will pay off by solidifying the value of your accomplishments. Data talks!

4 Write out a list of your struggles

Your self-appraisal shouldn’t consist solely of you tooting your own horn. It’s important to show that you recognize your on-the-job challenges. Again, be comprehensive. You can trim the list down to the major issues when you begin to write.

Writing Your Self-Review

Now that you’re organized, you’re ready to begin writing. Here are a few guidelines to keeping your review positive and aimed at showcasing your contributions while also helping with your professional development.

5 Narrow your accomplishments list down

Sure, you’ve done a lot over the course of the year, but your review should be about the highlights. Include any achievements that you have data to support. Also include the things you’re most proud of. Show off your best work.

6 Don’t forget to align your review with your manager’s or team’s goals

What goals was your manager or team striving to reach over the past year? How did your efforts contribute to reaching those goals? It’s important to include this information in your self-review so your manager can clearly see how you’ve contributed.

7 Stay positive when describing your challenges

It’s important that you use positive language to describe the things you’ve struggled with on the job. Your goal is not to call attention to your failures but to show your willingness to grow. Whenever possible, offer up your own solution to the problem. For example:

I failed to reach several deadlines.

“Failed” is a negative word. You don’t want your boss to equate your name with failure. Instead, use positive language, and don’t forget to show what you’ve done to address the problem:

Several missed deadlines helped me identify my time management challenges. I’ve started creating daily task lists to help me stay on track.

Here’s a tip: Before you turn in your self-review, run it through IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer. High scores in social tendencies like agreeableness and conscientiousness are excellent. Watch for red flag emotions like anger or fear. A tentative language style will sound wishy-washy, but excessive confidence might come across as arrogant. Strive for a balance.

8 Keep the focus on you

If you didn’t quite reach your objectives, don’t point fingers—this is your review, not your team’s. Your self-evaluation is no place to play the blame game. If you have a problem with a coworker and you believe that problem has affected your performance, that’s something you need to bring to your manager’s attention separately, and ideally long before your review.

9 Don’t forget to ask for growth opportunities

Your self-review is a great place to make your case for professional development opportunities. Remember, in order to get what you want you’ve got to be willing to ask for it. So, even if your boss didn’t specifically request it, go ahead and make your pitch to get that certification, attend that training session, or register for that conference. Your boss will likely appreciate your enthusiasm and desire to amp up your skill set.

10 Remember our self-evaluation do’s and don’ts

  • Do incorporate feedback you’ve received from others. It’s okay to include testimonials or meaningful quotes if you’ve got them. Show that others appreciate your contributions.
  • Don’t just make a list. A bullet-pointed list of your accomplishments doesn’t show much effort on your part. Write your review out. Thoughtfully.
  • Do prioritize. Remember to focus on the highlights when it comes to achievements, and the major concerns when it comes to challenges. Don’t be tempted to include a laundry list.
  • Don’t make typos. Even if writing isn’t a big part of your job, your self-review is no place for typos and grammatical errors. Proofread!
  • Do get a second opinion. It’s not a bad idea to have a friend, family member, or trusted colleague read over your self-evaluation before you turn it in. They can help you not only check for errors but also make sure your tone is positive and constructive.

Writing a self-review doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Organize yourself before you begin, pull together statistics whenever possible, focus on the positive and developmental, and you’re sure to impress. Not only that, but you’ll benefit from reflecting on the year in a way that recognizes your accomplishments and sets you on the right path for self-improvement.

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from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-self-evaluation/

14 Conversational Skills You Can Easily Learn and Apply at Work

14 Conversational Skills You Can Easily Learn

Making Conversation at the Office

Making conversation at the office can be awkward. Stay all business and you risk coming across as a buttoned-up, stuffy person who doesn’t know how to cut loose. Too nice? You might find yourself taken for granted or even passed over for promotions. And if your conversations are too casual, you may find that you’re not taken seriously. How do you strike the perfect balance when making workday chat?

When it comes to office chatter, there are a few simple best practices you should observe.

1 Show interest in others. We naturally like people who are interested in us. Open conversations with a question, and then genuinely pay attention to the answer. A simple “How’s your day going?” goes a long way.

2 Respect your office culture. Casual banter and humor may not fly in a formal setting. Ditto for an overly serious attitude at a workplace that embraces a more casual tone. The office is one place where you want to fit in.

3 Keep your opinions about life outside the office to yourself. It’s cool if you let your co-workers know that you love your dog, or that you like to skydive on the weekends, but leave more charged topics like religion and politics alone.

4 Stay positive. Yes, bad things happen at work, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a negative mindset. Keep your tone positive by focusing on solutions instead of grumbling about problems.

5 Don’t gossip. Office gossip will almost always come back to haunt you. When someone shares private information with you, be sure to keep their confidence. And whatever you do, don’t badmouth management or your colleagues.

6 Listen and observe. Make it a rule to listen more often than you talk. The more insight you gain into your colleagues and the general vibe of your office environment, the more relevant and meaningful things you’ll have to say when it’s your turn to speak.

Chatting with Senior Colleagues

Conversing with office mates who share the same rung of the corporate ladder is one thing, but the dynamic changes when you’re talking to someone higher up. All of the tips we just provided are still in play (you weren’t really going to talk politics with your manager, were you?), but there are a few more you should observe to keep things professional.

7 To be interesting, be interested. Within reason. Dale Carnegie was right—the secret to being liked is to show an interest in others. But mind that you keep the topics professional. “How was your fishing trip?” is a great question. “Were you as drunk as you looked at the club this weekend?” . . . not so much.

8 Make conversation at the appropriate times. Chat with your senior colleagues when you know they’re not in a hurry, like when you’re both heading to grab a cup of coffee. Match the topic to the length of time at hand. Asking something like “How did you get into this field of work?” might be an appropriate conversation-starter at an office dinner function, but it’s not well-suited for a two-minute break at the water cooler.

9 Schedule time to discuss work-related topics. Have an idea for improving the quality of your social media analytics? Don’t present that during a thirty-second elevator ride. Instead, consider using email or other office channels to schedule a meeting. Otherwise, your ideas may get lost in the shuffle or, worse, you’ll come across as a pest.

10 Don’t kiss up. No one likes the colleague who’s doing everything short of jumping up and down, shouting “Look at me! Look at me!” to stay on the boss’s radar.

Communicating with Your Employees

Once more, the rules change a bit when you’re making conversation with someone you directly manage. Now you’re in a position where you need to command respect, and that applies even in casual settings. Here’s how.

11 Have a sense of humor. If it comes naturally, use humor to make yourself more approachable. Just keep it office-appropriate. Remember, you’re setting the tone for everyone else.

12 Bring others into your conversations. Even the most casual banter with a senior colleague can feel intimidating when it’s one-on-one. Consider inviting others into the mix to ease the tension and help everyone feel comfortable.

13 Don’t get too personal. Keep your chatty questions neutral. It’s fine to ask whether your employee had a nice time on vacation, but when you ask about their relationships with their significant others, you’re straying into personal territory. Would you feel comfortable answering if your employee asked you the same question?

14 Sincere compliments are always welcome. It’s helpful to praise individual performance-related wins that you might only mention cumulatively on a performance review. (“Good job on the presentation this morning! Your Powerpoint chops are becoming legendary.”) They can provide confidence boosts that increase morale.

Whatever your hierarchy in the office jungle, making conversation is a matter of applying a combination of empathy (chat like you’d like to be chatted to!), good observation skills, and a little common sense.

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from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/conversational-skills-to-learn/

Lesson 212 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals – Gerunds

A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Eatingis fun.
The gerund can be a subject (Eating is fun.); a direct object (I like eating.); a predicate nominative (A fun time is eating.); an appositive (A fun time, eating, takes much time.); an indirect object (I give eating too much time.); or an object of a preposition (I give much time to eating.)
Gerunds can have with them direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives or modifiers to form what is called a gerund phrase. Example: Eating solid foods is hard for babies. Eating is the gerund used as the subject of the verb is. It has its own direct object foodswith the adjective solid, which together make up the gerund phrase eating solid foods serving as the subject of the sentence.
Instructions: Find the gerund phrases in the following sentences and tell if they are used as subject, direct object, predicate nominative, appositive, indirect object, or object of the preposition.
1. My hobby is working with irises.
2. I like pruning the fruit trees.
3. I had only one desire, leaving for home.
4. Writing a good novel is hard work.
5. With his snoring in his sleep, his wife couldn’t sleep.
–For answers scroll down.

1. working with irises = predicate nominative
2. pruning the fruit trees = direct object
3. leaving for home = appositive
4. writing a good novel = subject
5. his snoring in his sleep = object of the preposition

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-212-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

Lesson 211 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals – Gerunds

A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Eatingis fun.
The gerund can be a subject (Eating is fun.); a direct object (I like eating.); a predicate nominative (A fun time is eating.); an appositive (A fun time, eating, takes much time.); an indirect object (I give eating too much time.); or an object of a preposition (I give much time to eating.)
Instructions: Find the gerunds in the following sentences and tell if they are used as subject, direct object, predicate nominative, appositive, indirect object, or object of the preposition.
1. My father’s occupation was farming.
2. My desire, traveling, may happen soon.
3. Writing is sometimes difficult.
4. By saving, we can do our traveling.
5. Some people give gossiping too much time.
–For answers scroll down.

1. farming = predicate nominative
2. traveling = appositive
3. writing = subject
4. saving = object of the preposition / traveling = direct object
5. gossiping = indirect object

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-211-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

Monday Motivation Hack: Use Your PTO

Monday Motivation Hack: Use Your PTO image

You think you’re locking in your career by never missing a day.

You’re not alone.

Research shows that more than a quarter of workers fear that taking time off will make them seem less dedicated. Others think that vacation-time martyrdom will boost their chances for a raise or a promotion (it doesn’t).

But, this (very American) cultural phenomenon of rarely taking time off and almost never using all of one’s vacation days is bad news for employers and employees alike. And managers know it.

According to Project: Time Off, managers agree that paid time off (PTO):

  • improves health and well-being (82 percent)
  • relieves burnout (81 percent)
  • increases employees’ focus after return (78 percent)
  • improves employees’ commitment to their jobs (70 percent)

So, if the boss is on board, why did Americans donate 658 million vacation days to their employers in 2015?

More than 66 percent of employees report getting mixed or negative messages about time off and just don’t want to take the risk, deal with the stress, or let the work build up.

However, there are important reasons to make PTO a priority.

Why You Absolutely Must Start Using Your PTO

Recently, we explored the benefits of self-care and treating yo’self for motivation and productivity. Using up your PTO takes these ideas to the next level, and the benefits are just as profound.

  • Vacation can save your life—literally. Research shows that high-risk middle-aged men who took regular vacations were less likely to die of all causes and significantly less likely to die of heart attack during the course of a nine-year study. Vacation has also been shown to have an effect on your body and mind similar to that of meditation.
  • Time off is critical to self-care, creativity, and motivation. Though research shows the halo-effect of vacation is short lived, it is a vital part of recharging your batteries and your willpower.

How to Get the Most from Your PTO

Put a little excitement in this Monday, and do these things today:

  1. Find out how many vacation days you currently have. (Check with HR if you have questions about how or when you need to use PTO.)
  2. Mark out paid holidays on your calendar.
  3. Pick three fun things you could do with the vacation time you have.

When you have an idea of what you’re working with, there are a few best practices that will set you up for success when you do take time off.

Plan ahead.

Planning is highly correlated with increased use of time off. Many people fear the amount of backed-up work they’ll come back to if they take time off. By wrangling your workload effectively, you will be able to build in adequate buffers to your vacation time and remove the stress that can accompany time off.

Here’s a tip: Plan your workflows as if you’re taking 30 to 50 percent more time off. This way, when you come back to your desk, day-to-day tasks are sorted and you can focus on any catch-up—like email.

Plan around slow seasons.

Take advantage of lulls in your industry to minimize backlogged work before and after vacation.

Piggy-back on holidays.

A lot of people take vacation whenever they can squeeze it in. By planning, you are able to optimize not only workflows but also total time off, getting the maximum bang for your days-off buck.

Communicate with your team.

Advanced notice to your team—with regular reminders—works wonders. You can set early deadlines, and your colleagues will often cooperate to make project requests farther in advance so you’re not bottlenecked before or after your time off.

Make vacation planning a reward.

By planning far-ish in advance for PTO, you get to look forward to your coming vacation. It’s fun to see the details come together. Plus, on rough days, it can be highly motivating to have something concrete to look forward to/daydream about.

Now that you know how much time off you have, when some good times to go on vacation are, and how you’re going to plan for that time, let go of the worry that your boss will be angry or that you’ll fall behind, and plan a trip!

How much vacation do you take? How do you prepare for it and what tips would you share?

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from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/monday-motivation-hack-use-pto/

You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips

You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips image

Are you feeling frustrated and unproductive? Like you’re constantly busy but the things that really matter aren’t getting done?

Check out these six time management tips that will help you increase productivity, lower stress, and get you closer to your goals!

1 Unplug From Email

There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby. I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more. —Neil Gaiman

Are emails pulling you away from your actual work? Finding your creative flow—especially when writing—is tough enough as it is. It doesn’t help to have the constant distraction of emails dinging into your inbox.

The solution? Instead of responding to each email as it comes in, have set times of day where you’ll work through all your messages. Schedule several hours of uninterrupted work so you can focus and get in the zone, then take thirty to sixty minutes to catch up on emails.

While you’re in work-mode, be sure to close your email tab on your browser and turn off notifications to your phone, so it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And don’t worry, unless you’re corresponding with galactic invaders, waiting a few hours to respond to your emails will not cause the world to end.

2 Don’t Just List Your To-Do’s—Schedule Them

Can’t find the time to get all your to-do’s done? There are plenty of awesome apps to help you organize your to-do lists, but have you tried scheduling tasks directly on your calendar?

Using your calendar of choice, create appointments for all your big to-do’s. You’ll have a visual reminder (and notifications) of exactly what you should be working on and when.

Remember to schedule tasks at your peak performance time. When and where are you at your most creative? Do you write best sitting in bed at midnight? Or at 7 a.m. in your favorite cafe? Avoid scheduling your creative work for times when you’re going to be tired or distracted.

Be realistic and give yourself enough time for each task. This can reduce guilt if you’ve felt like you should be getting more done, but can now see there aren’t enough hours in the day. And this can also reveal a problem if you’ve been wasting a lot of time on distractions or busy work.

3 Plan Your Week in Advance

Planning your week (or month) in advance will help you save time and maximize your productivity. Know when your deadlines, important meetings, and obligations are happening and work backwards from there.

Giving a presentation on Thursday morning? Block off your Wednesday night for prep time or rest.

Want to spend less time in the morning prepping your lunch? Schedule meal prep for Sunday night so you can batch your lunches.

Feeling burnt out and need to introvert? Schedule alone time for Tuesday. Know you’ll need human contact? Plan game night for Friday.

Scheduling things like gym time and laundry will keep your life running smoothly. And remember to always allow enough time for a good night’s rest—your work will take twice as long if you’re exhausted from too little sleep or working long hours without a break.

4 Banish Your Time Wasters

Spending way too much time browsing Facebook? Watching cat videos? Keeping up-to-the-second on developing news?

If your willpower is failing, you may need to give yourself some extra help to unplug from your time-wasters.

Remove time-wasting sites from your browser’s bookmark bar so you’re less tempted to visit them. Minimize distractions by turning off your phone notifications during work hours (or if that’s too advanced, just turn your phone on silent and toss it in a drawer).

In need of desperate measures? Download an app that will block you from visiting Facebook and other sites.

Of course, it’s worth differentiating between the true time-sucks and activities that aren’t work-related but are beneficial. Grabbing lunch with a friend is a great social thing to do. Just make sure you have a set start and end time, so you don’t chat for two hours and lose half the afternoon.

5 Break Free of Perfectionism

Sure, who doesn’t want their work to be perfect? But striving for perfection is a sure way to kill your productivity and creativity.

The pressure you feel to produce perfect work can lead to procrastination, anxiety, “playing it safe,” and a lot of wasted time making marginal improvements to work.

When you reset your expectations away from perfection, you’ll find it’s easier to experiment and take risks, to get projects finished and move on to bigger and better things.

Improving your writing takes a lot of practice. You’re not going to write a “perfect” novel or blog post or ad campaign the first time around. Don’t let the expectation of perfection paralyze you from growing your skills!

6 Prioritize Your Personal Goals

Are you using your time to get closer to your goals, or are you putting everyone and everything else first?

Maybe you want to build your audience, write your memoir, get your MFA, or change careers. Make yourself and your future a priority by scheduling time every week, or every day, to work toward your goals.

Large projects can feel overwhelming, so break things down into manageable pieces. If you want to finish your first draft in six months, how many pages will you need to complete per week? How many hours per day will you need to write?

Life may be busy, but don’t let anything get between you and achieving your dreams!

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from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/learn-time-management-tips/