During the first month of a new job you are trying to make a good impression while at the same time figuring out your role and job responsibilities.  It’s a brief period of disorientation where you are vulnerable to taking on co-worker’s responsibilities by mistake.  This is why it’s important to be careful of taking on responsibilities presented by any one other than your direct supervisor until you are completely familiar with your specific job duties.  Avoid making a commitment to completing tasks presented to you by co-workers.  It’s a good time to be taken advantage of and, without realizing it, becoming obligated by duties which were never meant to be your responsibility in the first place.  By getting overloaded with co-worker expectations, you will not be able to adequately complete the expectations of your supervisor.  While we all want to be seen as helpful and a good team player, it’s important to set boundaries and exercise extreme caution with other staff members especially when there are clear expectations of you that you are not quite sure are part of your assigned duties.  It’s far better to be seen as a bit unhelpful, antisocial and disagreeable upfront (by your co-workers not your supervisor) than to have to back-track on decisions or actions you’ve taken while initially blindsided by your co-workers.

I have found over and over again that it’s especially important to be extra cautious  of the first few co-workers who present themselves to welcome me to the office and, on the surface, appear to be the first allies I have.  These very first few usually turn out to be the ones who mean me the most harm or who are hoping to ditch a few of their own job duties on to me before I realize what’s happening.  Believe me, it’s much easier to start out not being overly helpful to co-workers than it is to stop doing duties you were manipulated in to taking responsibility for when you realize later they were not your area of assignment at all.

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