People are at their best when they are in an interview, in the pews or the first few days on a job.

First impressions are just that, and they linger if not remain forever. Right or wrong, people will gage you or size you up for some time based on this impression. In your first few days, weeks, and months, be the first to work and the last to leave. Be a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge you can. Hold your opinions (with noted exception below) until you have enough experience for them to matter. Understand that there are no second “first” impression.

Respect Your Elders

When you are new on the job, respect the veterans in the business. Too many younglings today will say, they have to earn my respect before I give them respect. Forget that notion. The elders do not have wrinkled and dark skin because they like it. It is their badge and they have earned it. They have much to teach you but they will not teach squat with an attitude. Play your role and you will earn their respect.

Only Wine Improves with Age

Bad news does not get better with age. Being new to a job, you will make mistakes and likely break a few things. When you do, fess up to it and find a way to make it right or as right as you can. If you break a tool, offer to work extra hours without pay. Whether or not the boss will allow this, is not the issue. It shows you care and can be trusted. Trust is a priceless commodity in any job.

Safety is Job #1

In the old days, folks getting hurt on the job was just a price the firm and the employee paid. Not today. Today, most General Contractors are scored on safety, and if the TRC and LTI (look up what they mean) is too high, then they will not be considered for the work even if they have the low price. Wear all the safety gear, cut no corners with safety and speak up when you see unsafe conditions. This is the one time, one place, you can give your opinion at any time with any veteran.

Assume Nothing

There is an old saying about the word assume… if you assume something, you will make an ass out of you and me (ass/u/me). When you are new on any job, don’t assume. Ask questions before you leap. If the directions are unclear or your task is a little uncertain, a person you will want to work for will appreciate the fact that you stop and ask for clarifications, details, etc.  After all the saying “measure twice, cut once” comes from the construction industry.