Starting a new job is tough for everyone, whether you’re a grizzled veteran of the jobs market or a bright young thing just starting out on the path to your ideal career. And as the old saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression. Until you manage to develop a means to go back in time and do it all over again, it’s best to get your first day at work right. Here are the top do’s and don’ts for your first day on the job.
• DO plan your day in advance
The key to being successful in anything, from sandwich making to rocket science, is good preparation. Work out commute times, lunch policy, dress code, and some basic info about your new job well in advance. Get into a regular sleeping habit and be ready to take down notes.
• DON’T be yourself just yet
I’m sure you are a wonderful person. Just don’t tell people that humorous anecdote about the horse and the balloon on your first day. Wait until they know you a little better and won’t judge you so much for what you did.
• DO ask questions
If you’re not sure about anything, just ask someone what in heck is going on. They’re not going to think less of you and it will stop you from making a really big mistake down the line.
• DO shut up and listen
When you’ve asked a question, make sure you pay attention to the answer. You might think you know all there is about ‘Super Office Software Programme’ but it could be a different version or used for a different function in your job. If someone tells you something, it’s probably quite important.
• DON’T make personal calls or go on social media
Well, this needs a qualifier of ‘at your workstation’. It’s okay to call someone or update your status on your lunch break. If you sit at a desk and openly start discussing your friend Gavin’s issues with Candy Crush, people may start to reconsider having hired you. Facebook is for use at home, not on your office computer.
• DON’T criticise other workers or indulge in gossip
You don’t know your co-workers yet. Your first day is far too early to make enemies with the woman who works opposite you.
• DON’T take too many breaks
Most companies have rules about how many breaks you can take and for how long; most will allow you a half hour for lunch and a further fifteen minute break in the afternoon. Taking the opportunity to have as many breaks as you can makes you look unprofessional and lazy. It will not endear you to your co-workers.
• DON’T ask to leave early
You have working hours. You accepted these working hours when you accepted the job. If you didn’t like the ending time given, why did you bother to take the job? Leaving early will make you seem lazy and inconsiderate. It’s the sort of thing that will make people begin to steal your stationary and lunch.
• DO be friendly
You want people to like you, right? Then make sure that you’re cheerful, friendly, and helpful on your first day. Unless you really don’t like social interaction, for which I would advise starting a systematic campaign to steal away staplers and build yourself a giant fort with them.