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Toughing out the jungle
Published on Thursday, 09 Feb 2012
Illustration: Bay Leung

New employees face two fates – to sink or to swim. Thankfully, there are plenty of guidelines to help them survive the office jungle. Here are more tips as a follow-up to last week’s column.

Observing the office culture Take note of when people arrive and leave, and when most people choose to take lunch or breaks. It is also wise to determine communication styles and how meetings are conducted. This can enable productive relationships.


Connect with your colleagues – socially and professionally Introduce yourself to your new colleagues. Arranging lunch or a coffee break with peers allows you to learn about the specifics of their jobs, and more about them. Don’t limit yourself to your immediate team, interact with other departments as well.

Participate While you may spend the first few days or weeks on the job just “taking it all in”, don’t wait too long to start contributing beyond your daily responsibilities. That said, you should hold off on proposing drastic changes until you have proven yourself, and built rapport with your colleagues.

If you don’t understand or know how to do something, your orientation period is the time to speak up before a minor issue becomes a major problem.

Taking the initiative to get the answers you need quickly is one of the best ways to make a positive impression on your employer.

Pallavi Anand, director, Robert Half Hong Kong

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