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The First Day: What to Do the Day You Start a New Job


The first day at a new job is a lot like being the new kid in school. You don’t know what to expect! “Will you get along with the other kids? Will there be bullies? Will you get good grades?” are probably some of the questions running through your mind. The major difference, of course, between starting a new job and going to new school is that you probably won’t get swirlied. You’ll encounter folks you like and don’t like in both situations, but you can go in knowing that you’ll be surrounded by like-minded professionals who have the same aspirations as you.

first day school bus ritual

Image courtesy of woodleywonderworks

Still, it might take some time to get comfortable with your surroundings — especially if you developed special friendships with former colleagues at your last company. Many of your new colleagues have already established their own cliques, so inserting yourself (or attempting to insert yourself) might feel awkward. And I’m not gonna lie and say it isn’t, at first. Luckily, there are things you can do to make life a little easier the first day (the first few weeks even):

Remain Humble

Folks like looking up to people with confidence (I mean, hey! We need anything to aspire to something right?). However, there’s a big difference between someone who’s capable & helpful and someone who’s cocky and hoards knowledge. If you’re coming into a job with lots of experience and recognition, do showcase it, but take time to compliment others along the way. Chances are you’ll learn lots from your new colleagues and this will be a prime opportunity to have them learn from you. Share the wealth. They’ll thank you for it and you’ll thank them in return.

Go to Lunch or Grab Some Coffee

There’s absolutely nothing intrusive about asking someone if they’d like to grab lunch with you. I used to think this way. Sometimes it’s better to ASK than it is to be ASKED. A lot of your new colleagues probably want to ask (and they will eventually), but I’ve personally found that being enthusiastic from the get-go is a great idea. It shows you’re taking the initiative to get to know them better. You’re trying to fit in and the gesture is almost always appreciated.

Now, you might be asking “what if they expect me to cover them?” Again, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a good question to ask. It sounds dirty, but bribery is okay to varying degrees. Folks like having stuff done got them. Period. But what if you can’t afford a meal?

No need to fret! Small gestures are far more important than you would think. Offer to drive to restaurant (and cover yourself), go to a fast food, buy them a cup of coffee or, if you feel so inclined, make ’em lunch and brown bag it in the break room. Lunchtime and coffee breaks are the times when you can really get to know your colleagues. Now as far as picking and choosing who to grab, don’t think of it in terms of “stepping stones” or “who can get me to the top the fastest?” It’s okay to make friends! And who cares if you’re networking with someone in a different department? Everything and everyone is interconnected. Which brings me to my last point—a point I’m sure I’ve made before.

Be Yourself

I’ve learned time and time again that there’s no sense in pretending to be someone you’re not. A job is a job, but if you’re gonna spend 40 waking hours a week somewhere, you should be able to make the most of it. You should be able to be happy! Not everyone you’re going to meet is gonna be your best pal, but with time, you’ll make friends with some colleagues and they’ll appreciate you for who you are.

Oh, and just an FYI: One thing that really spices up company cultures are unique presences. As much as I’d love to say business and pleasure shouldn’t be mixed, it’s one of those things that’s almost impossible to avoid. Your personality will permeate into your work and work relationships. Just make sure to bring out the most positive attributes.

So, that’s it, really. Be humble, be inviting and be yourself. Your first day may be a little bumpy as you’re learning standard protocols and rules; but, there are many more days ahead of you. Your reputation won’t be completely soiled on the first day because of a mistake here or a mistake there. Remember: Take everything one step at a time — and if you’re not happy, you can always move on!

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About the Blogger: Felicia Savage is a Digital Media Marketing Associate at PERQ, a marketing technology and promotions company based in Indianapolis. When she blogging and researching content, Felicia enjoys drawing, watching cartoons and looking up stupid cat videos, Check out or follow her on Twitter (@KittyHasFleaz.) to learn more about her!


Tue, December 30 2014 » Personal Organization, Self Development

One Response

  1. lneidig46 December 30 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    I like your point about it being impossible to not mix business and pleasure, and how our personalities will permeate our work. Very true! I'm not sure any of us would want to work in a place with ONLY people like ourselves.

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