The first day at a new job can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you’re the new employee among many people who have been working together for months or even years.
If you make mistakes on your first day, it could cost you in your advancement opportunities, as well as your reputation with other employees and your boss. Here are some things you should absolutely not do on your first day of work, to ensure that you make a good impression and give yourself the best chance at being accepted by your colleagues and going far in your career.
1) Don’t be late
Being late to your first day means wasting other people’s time—and your own. There are plenty of ways to avoid being late without setting an alarm clock. If you can, park and take public transportation or arrange for carpooling with a co-worker. If that isn’t possible, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual to ensure you get there in time. When you do arrive, apologise quickly and don’t bring it up again.
2) Don’t act like an idiot
It’s easy to feel like everyone is staring at you during your first day. And since you don’t want to stand out as a weirdo, it’s tempting to try to be super-social and talkative with everyone you meet—but resist that urge. It might seem like an office full of your future best friends, but believe me, they’re just being nice.
3) Don’t get drunk
According to TIME, more than 75% of employers conduct post-offer employment testing, including drug screening and background checks. If you’re caught drinking before your first day (and there’s alcohol at that party) or if drugs are found in your system after you start work, it will reflect badly on you—even if you have no intention of being under the influence while working.
4) Don’t dress down
Dressing down can make you look less polished, like you’re not taking your new job seriously. Even if you don’t wear heels or slacks to work every day, dress nicely for your first day—you want to show off that new-job confidence! Dress according to what is appropriate in your office: usually business casual is just fine. And don’t forget to shower—your coworkers won’t care what kind of coffee you drank in bed.
5) Don’t look for your own desk
No matter how eager you are to get going, there’s no reason to leave your new boss waiting while you go scouting for an empty cubicle. Make sure you know where your desk is—and that it’s ready for you with your name card and fresh notepad—before settling in.
6) Don’t forget about employee benefits
Although it might be tempting to start asking about more interesting benefits like paid time off, flex time, and tuition reimbursement immediately, there are some things you should check out first. These include health insurance, 401(k) plans, and other ways you can save for retirement. If your employer offers any of these perks (or even if he doesn’t), take advantage of them before asking for anything else.
7) Say yes to everything, but only once
It’s tempting to agree to all requests, but you need to find your limit. If you take on too much and commit yourself before learning exactly what’s required of you, it will be difficult—and sometimes impossible—to get out of commitments. So if your boss asks you to take care of something and it looks like it might conflict with another commitment you made, let her know that while you’d love to help, there are only so many hours in a day.
8) Give yourself some time off
It’s tempting to go into your new job with guns blazing, but resist that temptation and give yourself some time off. There will be plenty of time to take on your full workload after you have settled in, so don’t stress out by coming in early or staying late.
His experiences working for top brands like Unilever and Samsonite inspired him to write ‘The Rules of Work. Shivank set out to provide non-bullshitty, fact-based career advice that helps millennial workers get more opportunities and grow their careers faster. This blog is where he documents the daily challenges he and his colleagues face. Check him out on OfficeProductivity.org.
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