Sunday, February 19, 2012

How To Pass Your Probation Period

Passing the probation period of your new job can be tricky.

You could be absolutely perfect for the position and do everything down to the ‘T,’ but you may have a problem fitting in with your colleagues.

Unfortunately this tends to happen quite often, especially in a working area such as mine.

I work in a 5-star spa attached to a luxurious, well-known hotel. It is impossible to not be intimidated for the first week or so when entering a workforce dominated by a handful of powerful women.

Luckily for me, the women I work with are amazing. I am so lucky to have found such a strong team to be a part of. (For my regular readers, my new job is going incredibly well and I will soon write a more detailed description about it.)

Or your dilemma could be the exact opposite:

You could be undeniably disastrous at your job that your best friend helped you into getting, yet blinded by that fact because you get along so well with everyone.
We’ve all heard or experienced this scenario before… it feels like family, right? Becoming chummy with your colleagues has both its advantages and disadvantages – feeling comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing well. In fact the majority of the time if you feel comfortable you subconsciously start slacking off in small ways that some wouldn’t even notice.

You need to find the balance between working your little arse off regardless of if you get noticed for polishing the glass doors or not; and becoming friendly with your colleagues without being unprofessional.

It is true that sometimes it is in the workspace where you meet your best friend or even the love of your life, alas that is only for a lucky few…

Don’t let the girl with the welcoming smile know that you only stumbled in at 3am this morning after a night out on the town; she may have alternate motives. You never know what one will do to get noticed or advance in their job. So no matter how sweet and friendly they are, just be wary. Let them in but keep your distance.

I have compiled a list of great tips and advice on how to easily pass your probation period and advance in your workspace.

Enjoy it!

  • Go The Extra Mile – if there are finger prints on the glass doors or window panes that the cleaner missed, polish them away. It takes less than five minutes to do so, it’s productive and it’s true that a cleaner environment makes for a happier you.

  • Don’t Expect Praise – Sometimes you could be doing really well, but that doesn’t mean that the manager is going to let you know that! You need to earn praise, don’t expect it to be handed to you on a platter after not mucking anything up in the first week.

  • Leave Your Problems At The Door – I think every manager’s nightmare is hiring someone who darkens everyone’s day. Try to be optimistic about things in general. Happiness and unhappiness are contagious. If you’re having personal issues at home whether it is with your folks, your partner, a friend or your kids… just be aware that this is not works problem. You will only make matters worse for yourself by putting a downer on everyone else’s day. Don’t put your job in jeopardy.

  • Free Up Your Calendar – Unless they are arrangements made prior to your employment there; try not to ask for special days off unless it is really necessary. Manager’s want someone that is flexible, someone that they can rely on. Keep that in mind next time your friends peer pressure you into taking time off to join them on a pointless drinking marathon.

  • Good Time Management – Try to be fifteen minutes early for your shift and don’t leave a second before your shift should end. Don’t even pack up until the clock strikes onto your closing hour. Your eagerness will be noticed.

  • Smoke Breaks – Having recently quit smoking myself, I am in no situation to preach; but try not to take advantage of your smoking breaks no matter how stressed out you are. Your employers will definitely get fed up if you’re dashing out back into the smelly, damp alley-way every hour for a quick puff. Three times a day max, even that’s pushing it.

  • Be Eager To Learn – The only questions that are stupid are the one’s that are not asked. Don’t be shy to learn, even if you think it to be the simplest of things, better safe than sorry.

  • Look Presentable – Do you really think your employer wants you greeting clients or sitting behind their desk in baggy or ripped jeans, that grungy looking beanie that’s far too big for you or a button up shirt with missing buttons or a noticeable stain on the cuff? No. Keep your hair back out of your face, it opens you up and makes you look more approachable. Make sure every crease is ironed out of your clothes. Keep your nails in good condition and only wear minimum, tasteful jewelry. Don’t wear items that are undeniably too small for you (it looks trashy,) or that comfortable shirt that you think looks great but you know you actually swim in. Cover up your tattoos to the best of your ability even if it is for a video store job or personal trainer where these things can usually be overlooked.

  • Women – Makeup. I know many women who either just can’t be bothered, don’t have time or just don’t like putting makeup on for work in the mornings. But lets face it, a lot of us tend to look washed out and messy without it. I have mastered painting my face in just over two minutes now (daily natural look consisting of base, blusher, mascara, earthy eye-shadow and lip balm). Would you rather be assisted by someone that looks tired and unfriendly or someone who looks well put together, pretty? I know its shallow, but its how the world works.

  • Men – Why are you so lucky with so many things? Shave. That’s all. Keep it clean. If a man was assisting me who was sporting a Guinness Book of World Records beards I would be mightily distracted. Otherwise, just look after your hands. Keep the nails short and clean. Brush your hair once in a while, your girlfriend might adore the bed-head look on weekends but your manager despises it during working hours.

  • Posture – Don’t turn into the Hunchback of No’tradame, even if you don’t feel like being at work today. Stand tall and proud and plough through the day.

  • Distractions – Either keep your mobile off or on silent during working hours. Show your employer that work is your main priority. Facebook, Twitter and Myspace will all still be there after your eight-nine hour shift. If something happens that’s life threatening someone will get hold of you somehow and they won’t do so over social media networks anyway!!! Personal problems left at the door remember?!

  • Eye Contact – When in meetings or engaging in casual conversation, make eye contact with the people you work with as well as the clients. Show interest in what they have to say. You will look confident, organized, professional and in control.

  • Always Have Something To Do – If there is nothing to keep you busy other than standing around playing with your hair, find something. Don’t ask for something to keep you busy straight away, use your own initiative. Do walks around your work environment, get stuck in and dirty those hands.

    It really all comes down to the first point mentioned, go the extra mile.

Good luck everyone, I’d love to hear your feedback about this post. Please comment below and let me know if my advice helped you get through and sign onto your position on a full-time basis! If so, congrats!!! If not, I know it gets really old hearing it, but the right thing WILL come around eventually. As much as you believed that this was the right thing, it clearly wasn’t; stop focusing on the past or feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t give up! Polish up that CV and get it out there.


  1. Great article! Really helped. Will be passing my probation in two months time. Think these tips will really help.


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