5 Ways to Start Off a Job on the Wrong Foot

Starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience. After all, the last thing you want is to rub your boss and colleagues the wrong way from the get-go. But if you fall victim to these five mistakes, you could end up doing just that.

1. Not being prompt

As any commuter will tell you, on the road to work, things happen. Trains break down. Traffic builds when you least expect it. And while tardiness is sometimes unavoidable, showing up late to work at the very beginning is a good way to make a bad first impression. That's why it's crucial to be prompt during those early weeks on the job, even if it means erring on the side of being ridiculously early and losing a little morning sleep in the process. Once you're settled in, you can ease up on the crack-of-dawn wakeup and take your chances on the road -- within reason, of course.

2. Not asking questions

When you're new at a job, the last thing you want is to seem incompetent. But don't let your desire to come off as capable and self-assured cause you to mess up big-time. In fact, not asking questions is one of the biggest mistakes you can make early on at a new job, because if you don't learn the ropes, you might not only make a major blunder, but also lead others to believe that you don't care enough to get schooled in doing things right.

3. Relying on your boss too heavily

Your boss is probably a busy person, which means he or she may not have the ability to hold your hand as you get up to speed. But don't just resign yourself to being in the dark, because while there is a learning curve at play when you're new to a job, you don't want to fall behind, either. Instead, be resourceful in getting the information you need, even if that means marching up to colleagues you don't know and seeking their input. You might also consult with former coworkers or business contacts if you're facing challenges early on and your boss isn't available to help you resolve them.

4. Putting in too much face time

In an effort to make a good impression at a new job, you might be inclined to burn the midnight oil so that your manager and colleagues take notice. But while you'd think this move would work in your favor, it could actually end up setting an unrealistic precedence. The last thing you want is for the people you work with to assume that you're content spending your nights parked at your desk, so while putting in a little extra effort in the beginning is smart, be careful not to go overboard.

5. Coming off as a know-it-all

Maybe you're starting off your new position with a solid level of experience and strong skills. Be that as it may, it pays to display a degree of humility when interacting with new colleagues for the first time. If you come off as arrogant, your coworkers will be less likely to want to collaborate with you going forward, and that could set the stage for an unpleasant existence at the office. So even if you're convinced you've got the job figured out, listen to what your colleagues have to say, and be respectful of existing processes, even if you're convinced you have a better way to do things. Then, as you develop relationships with your coworkers and grow more comfortable with them, you can slowly but surely start rocking the boat.

When you're new to a job, you want the smoothest transition possible. Avoid these mistakes, and you'll be more likely to achieve just that.

The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more... each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.