Life Hacks for Starting a New Job

Life Hacks for Starting a New Job 150 150 Lauren Ellerman


Thanks to the internet you can make your life better, and more efficient in a million ways that will blow your mind. Folks call this a hack.

I dare you – google “chicken pot pie hack” or “bathroom cleaning hacks.” Ok, done yet? Did you enjoy a video or two that lasted no more than two minutes?

In keeping with the spirit of life improvement in two minutes or less, I offer you HACKS FOR STARTING A NEW JOB: ten tips that will make your acceptance, your work, and your exit more awesome.

1. When you interview, ask what written agreements you will be asked to sign.

2. When you get an offer – ask to see the contracts BEFORE YOU START WORK. Hate to be in the office on day one and HR hands you 73 pages of 10 pt. font, and says they can’t put you in the system for health insurance until each page is dated and initialed.

3. Try to keep personal communications off work devices, and vice a versa. Yes, this is a pain but the law is not really clear as to whether you have a right to privacy on a work phone, and you certainly can’t keep work information on your personal devices after you leave. Be smart, keep them separate. Imagine it is not more burdensome than separating your paper and cans every week.

4. Don’t talk about work online, in writing, in texts, etc. Just don’t. Resist the temptation (unless you are the paralegal  who used to write because that # $_)$$ is just plain funny!).

5. If you have a side business, even something small, like a non-profit, tell your employer about it in writing before you start so they can’t later claim it is competition, or in violation of your contract etc. Email is sufficient. Something like “Hey Mr. Boss Man, as you know I run an online candle wax company in my free time. It won’t interfere with my work at Virginia Company that Makes Stuff, LLC.” That’s sufficient.

6. Never assume your job is permanent. It’s not. Nothing is permanent. Ask the folks who used to work for USAIR, Halliburton, Arthur Anderson, etc. They’ll confirm.

7. If you don’t understand every word in your employment contract, hire a lawyer for an hour or three to explain them to you. It’s good to know what your rights and restrictions are before and during your employment. After may be too late.

8. Honesty is always the best policy. Unless it’s an exit interview, and then you  have to mix grace, integrity and personal interest in with honesty.

Ok. Follow these rules and you will save yourself some heartache, maybe some legal fees, and frustration.

Now, Google New Years Hacks and hack the heck out of your New Year.

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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