New Job? Here’s To Passing Probation


When you’ve been unemployed, passing the interview and receiving a job offer is a rewarding experience. Whether it’s a fist pump, a call to you mom, dinner out with the spouse/partner, or celebrating with a drink raised to you by friends, you’re bound to be excited.

You should feel good of course, and sharing this moment of triumph with the people closest to you who know what it’s taken to get to this point makes sense. These people are happy for you but also relieved themselves of the stress your past unemployment placed on them.

You may be so grateful for this latest opportunity that you plan on never being out of work again; never wanting to feel the shock of being fired, the shame of being walked out of the building and the embarrassment of coming home early and explaining why you’re there. Well good for you. However, before you throw out your resumes and job search materials, thinking you’ll never need them again, make a really good decision and that’s to hang on to it all. Store it safely away where it’s near at hand if and when you need it.

In almost every job you’re facing a period of probation; that period of time when you or the employer can walk away from the relationship with no explanation required. That sounds like a good thing unless of course you want to stay and the employer says, “It’s just not working out here.” While that sounds like it could be something you hear early in a personal relationship, the employer usually goes on to say one more thing that separates them from the dating scenario; “It’s definitely you not us.”

If you want to pass probation, (let’s assume this is a given shall we?), here’s a few pointers:

1. Show Up. You’re now accountable for your time and even if you have valid excuses for running late or being absent, the company still has work to be performed and customers to serve. Some people who have been out of work for an extended period find it difficult to get the body and mind back into a committed routine; don’t be one of them!

2. Re-think Social Media. Now that the company has brought you into the family, your actions and behaviours are going to reflect positively or negatively on not only you but also their reputation. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your boss or co-workers to see or read. A rant on the internet about your idiotic boss will likely find its way to their attention.

3. Be Reliable. Consider the fellow who tells all his co-workers about the wild times he has getting loaded every weekend and then calls in regularly on Mondays with various reasons for his absence. This is a sure way to lose your job fast. Remember that probation is presumably you on your best behaviour. If this is you at your best, what will you be like after probation? You might not get the opportunity to show them how bad you can really get.

4. Be Friendly. Now whether you’re outgoing, shy, timid or an introvert, everyone can go about their day being courteous and friendly. You don’t need to meet workers after the job for drinks, hang out with those having personalities which overwhelm you or smile all day long if that’s unnatural for you; but do be friendly. It’s not just your qualifications and skills being evaluated, it’s the chemistry you’re making with those around you and how everyone performs with you in the workplace.

5. Take Direction.  You’re not the boss; well, unless of course you are the boss. Listen. There is likely a reason why things are done the way they are. If you’re asked for your suggestions that’s fine but pay close attention to how your ideas are received. Learn quickly to hold off on your brilliant suggestions and watch your words as you suggest the things you do. A sure-fire way to find yourself unemployed is to say on your 5th day, “Who’s the idiot who came up with this policy?”

6. Be Helpful. You just might find that while your own job takes top priority; and it should, there may be moments here and there to be helpful to others in completing theirs. Small things like picking up papers someone has dropped, holding the door for colleagues no matter their gender and learning as quickly as you can so your trainer can get back to doing their own job full-time.

7. Listen. You’re the newbie and your knowledge of the organization, their practices, policies, organizational structure, and workplace dynamics is the worst not the best in the organization. Listen with a goal of reducing the number of times someone needs to repeat themselves during your training.

8. Dress The Part. You may be tempted to thrown on your ACDC t-shirt and cords after the first few days on the job because you noted one other employee standing in line in the cafeteria was wearing something similar. Don’t do it! Dress with care and attention each day. You’re not trying to show up your co-workers but rather demonstrate that you understand the dress code and respect both it and those around you with whom you interact. If you’re not sure, ask.

There are lots of things you can do to hasten your termination or pass probation with flying colours. What would you add to the list?

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