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Jenny McGilligan (l) and Tennita Magee

By Jenny McGilligan and Tennita Magee, MATC JOBShop

The stage is set, the spotlight is on, and the star of the show is … you! You are starting a new job. Everyone is awaiting your performance and the expectations are high. Now, what do you do to become a “rock star” at work?

First and foremost, be reliable. If you are scheduled to work or have accepted overtime, be reliable and show up as scheduled and as needed. To be reliable means that your employer can trust that you will be consistent and will get the job done regardless of the extra amount of effort needed.  Be the one employee who the boss can always go to when he or she needs to get a project done.

Be optimistic. Come to work with a positive attitude. Be the one who will see how it will work and how it will get done. Believe and look for the best in every situation.

Be cooperative. Be the person who everyone wants to work with rather than work around.

Be kind. Be kind to your co-workers, boss and customers.

Self-Starter/Self Motivated
Be a self-starter who is confident and has a positive outlook. While you are new to the job and have a lot to learn, believe that you have good ideas to contribute to the conversation and to the team. On your first few days, you will probably be given small tasks and projects. Complete them and request other tasks or ask your supervisor if you can assist teammates. Don’t complete a task and then sit and wait to be given something more to do. Employers value employees who show initiative, and can manage their time to complete assigned tasks with little supervision.

Before your first day, make sure you know when and where to report for work. If you are driving, know where you can park your car. If you can, drive to your new job at the same time of day on a practice run so you have an idea of how long the commute will take. Be on time! If your start time is 8 a.m.,that means you need to be at your work area and ready to begin at 8 a.m. Plan to arrive 30 minutes early your first day and at least 15 minutes early every day. Few jobs require a time clock. The honor system is used in most positions, so be professional and mindful to stick to the time allotted for breaks and lunch. Observe how your co-workers end their work day. Don’t bolt out the door the minute your shift is complete. Plan your day and manage your time so you are at a good stopping point on a project at the end of your shift.

Ask Questions and Observe
Keep a notebook and pen with you. Be a sponge! Ask your boss which are the most important tasks you should focus on in the first few weeks. Who you should go to for information and guidance when you can’t find the answer on your own? What is the best way to communicate with the team? Jot down notes with key people’s names and their roles as well as any information on procedures you need to learn. Observe interactions at meetings and in informal situations. Learn the culture of your new work environment!

While you will have to ask questions about how to do some things in the first few weeks, don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you. Show your supervisor that you have the initiative to find some of the answers to your questions yourself. Use directories, manuals, the company web site, and other materials that were provided to you in your search for information. Be resourceful!

Starting a new job can be scary, but with a little thought and preparation…you can be the next rock star on board! You can contribute to the team and you know how to produce quality work!

Looking for that new job to use these skills?

A free, public job fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Oak Creek Campus, 6665 S. Howell Ave. Nearly 60 employers from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, including many from Oak Creek, are expected to participate. The employers have jobs available in a wide range of fields, including health care, technical and skilled labor, the service industry and sales.

The job fair is co-sponsored by MATC, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, the City of Oak Creek, the South Suburban Chamber of Commerce, MetroGo and the Milwaukee County Transit System. For more information, contact MATC’s JOBShop at (414) 297-6244.