Today marks the beginning of my third week at my new job! I am slowly starting to get into a rhythm and the nerves have definitely subsided. However, that first day was a complete whirlwind. After a very long day, with blisters on my feet, and my head spinning from trying to match names with all of the faces I met, I started my first official real world job. Reflecting on that first day, I came up with a few do’s and don’ts that I hope will come in handy for any fellow post grads making the jump into their careers.
Do – Arrive early. Just because you have accepted the job does not mean you can arrive 15 minutes late. Arrive at least 10 minutes early, just as you (hopefully!) did for all of your interviews. I always recommend being early because typically you have to go through security and then head to your specific floor, which can take time. Also, being timely is professional and makes a positive statement.
Don’t – Wear uncomfortable shoes. So this is a mistake that I unfortunately made. I went with my favorite black pumps for the first day, however I did not realize how much walking I would be doing. I did several rounds around the office, through introductions, gaining my security badge, and other cubicle setup needs. Take a tip from someone who knows…starting off with blisters at the end of the day Monday is not fun by the time Friday rolls around.
Do – Be confident. On the first day you will be meeting tons of people. Instead of awkwardly smiling during an introduction, engage in conversation with your new coworkers. Give a firm handshake and interact in a friendly way. Don’t be shy! It is also helpful if you introduce yourself along with your new position and who you will be reporting too.
Don’t – Be afraid to ask questions. I was lucky enough to be trained for a week by the person previously in my position, (seriously, I cannot imagine starting this new job without all of his guidance and transitional handbook!). However, this is not typical for most jobs. So on the first day when things seem overwhelming, don’t just nod your head, speak up and ask questions. Everyone understands that you will not know everything on the first day (duh!) so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Do – Refrain from social media. I cannot imagine anything worse than being caught by your new boss on the first day of work for tweeting/facebooking/instagramming etc about your first day. Keep your phone in your bag on silent and wait to answer all your friends/family’s texts asking about your first day. You will have time to respond once you clock out for the day.
Don’t – Be unprepared. Most likely HR sent you information on what items to bring with you on your first day. Double check that you filled out all the paperwork and brought along all necessary legal documents.
Do – Brown bag it. Every office has its own lunch time culture, so it is always better to be prepared and pack a few for the first day. Your boss may take you out to lunch or you may be allowed to go out and take your lunch break. You probably won’t know which until you are at the office on that first morning. Instead of adding a gurgling stomach on top of a very long and information filled day, bring a lunch, just in case!
Don’t – Forget to take notes. As an English major, I can assure you that having a notebook on hand is a necessity. You may think that you are absorbing all the different instructions and advice that your new coworkers are providing, but chances are you are not. With such an exciting day it is better to write everything down. Plus it is guaranteed to be a helpful reference for those first few days on the job.
Do – Dress appropriately. This is pretty self explanatory, especially since you must have dressed professionally for your interview! However, it will take time to learn the company’s culture and typical dress code so its always better to play it safe than sorry on the first day. Choose an outfit that leans more towards business than casual on the professional dress code scale.
I hope these do’s and don’ts help you navigate your own first day at your new job!