Starting a new job is tough — you have to get used to new work, new colleagues, a new boss and new office culture. Sometimes people try so hard to be at home right away in a new office that they end up inadvertently alienating their new co-workers. Don't be that person! Here are eight behaviors to avoid so that you don't end up as the annoying new hire.
Talking too much about your old job
Applying your past experiences to your new work is of course what you're there to do, but there are probably reasons why your new team does things differently than your last team did. Take the time to learn how things function in your new workplace and why before jumping in with "at my old job we did it this way." You only get one or two of those before it starts seeming less like helpful insight and more like an inability to adapt to your new company.
Not taking notes
When you're new on the job, you're going to have a ton of details flowing toward you, and there's no way you're going to remember them all. Not taking notes comes across as cavalier – and makes whoever is training you assume that you're going to forget what they're covering.
Minimizing the challenges of your job, team or company
You'll know how annoying this is if you've ever seen a new hire come in so confident of his ability to do the job that he dismisses the idea that any part of it might be challenging. Things are usually more complicated than they look from the outside, and if your team has challenges they haven't solved yet, it's probably not because they've overlooked an obvious answer.
Confidence is good, but cockiness and arrogance aren't. If you act like you'll be able to overcome all obstacles, you're actually insulting your new team — who presumably have been struggling with those obstacles for good reason.
Not welcoming input and advice
Even if someone tells you something that you think you already know, listen to their input and thank them for it. It's possible that you don't actually know everything they're going to tell you, and if you act like you do, you may miss out on something enormously valuable. Plus, if you seem to spurn helpful advice, people will stop offering it — and you may need it down the road.
Assuming that you don't need to prove yourself because you were a star at your last job
It can be tough to move from a job where everyone respected your work and your expertise to one where you're an unknown quantity. Of course, it's possible that your good reputation is following you to your new job — but many people who haven't worked with you firsthand will reserve judgment until they get to know you better. It's OK that people may not know your track record at your old company; your work should speak for itself over time.
Taking sides in office conflicts
You'll probably be entering a workplace with some existing conflicts, because most offices have some ongoing disagreements. Be very, very cautious about taking sides in those conflicts. As a new person, you're not in a position to truly understand which side (if any) is right, and you won't yet have a nuanced enough understanding of the politics to know how you might harm your own credibility by taking a side prematurely.
What's more, no reasonable person will expect a new employee to take sides — so if a colleague is pressuring you to do so, there's a good chance that's not someone you'd want to be aligned with anyway.
Not paying attention to cues about office culture
In many ways, offices are like little countries, with their own norms and ways of operating. You ignore those at your peril! It's important to pay attention and observe things like how quickly people respond to emails, whether people use Slack for everything or drop by to talk in person, whether being a few minutes late to a meeting is seen as no big deal or a cardinal sin and all the other little details of how people in your new office function. Otherwise you can quickly seem out of sync and like you don't fit in well.
Not asking for help when you need it
Sometimes people hesitate to ask for help when they're new on the job because they worry it will make them look like they're not prepared for their new responsibilities. But you're new — people expect you to have questions and need assistance. It's not a sign of weakness to ask about what you don't know! In fact, if you don't ask any questions at all, that's likely to be alarming to your new colleagues.
Most people will be perfectly happy to help you out as you're learning your new job.
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