The first day at a new job can be among the most anxious experience of a person’s life. This is especially true since there is so much pressure of human beings in modern-day free-market economies to find a great career; they need to fulfill the purpose of their expensive collegiate education, land a long-term position that will garner a solid financial foundation, and yet also earn a gig that can be enjoyable and even fulfilling.
First impressions may be overrated, but they are still important, working to determine how your co-workers will treat you for the rest of your time with them. There are a few excellent tips for your first day at work.
On your first day at work, you may not even have your own space yet. You may not know anyone, and the hardware surrounding you may be unfamiliar, even intimidating. In order to survive this threatening atmosphere, it is best to, at least for now, have a more conservative mindset in terms of avoiding risks. Rather than quickly quip with a ribald joke, keep your mouth shut around everyone. On your first day, you should be a listener, not a talker, unless specifically asked. You are there to absorb knowledge and better equip yourself for your new career, rather than speak and risk potentially crippling humiliation.
You may be elated to have landed your “dream job,” but that does not mean you can show up in a jeans and a t-shirt unless that is truly within the dress code or corporate culture. Do not fall into the trap of the entitlement generation: You are not the exception. You are a worker, an employee, just like everyone else. You are not immediately some sort of superstar; no, you will need to set yourself apart by making sound decisions and working hard. Walk the walk, talk to talk, and adhere to the strictures of office professionalism and workplace etiquette.
Although you should be a listening, learning, sponge-like receptacle of training, if you are asked to do something, than do it well and do it efficiently. If you have questions, though, do not be afraid to ask. Believe it or not, your boss would rather you risk looking ignorant and ask how to do something properly than try it unprepared and end up destroying something, potentially including your new career.
Hopefully, you got this job because you wanted it, it is in a field you are passionate about, and you eagerly pursued it. If you have a sincere desire for your position, that will make everything else easier; either way, though, if you are told to do some boring paperwork or read a thick manual, mere lack of excitement is not a valid reason to avoid it. Perform the duty diligently, and aim to impress, rather than be lazy. Setting such a poor first example on the first day by avoiding menial tasks will only set a poor reputation early.
Feel free to ask your friends and family about their experiences with their first day on the job. People have all kinds of stories, from hilarious to horrifying, and often, hearing about these collective memories can be as valuable as staying up late to research the corporate history. Besides, if you can listen to your peers and learn from them, you are already in for a quality start at your new position.