The First Day: Start Your New Job Right
First day nerves can be a pain, but by the end of the day we feel positive about our new role and better prepared for the rest of the week. However, some of us aren’t so lucky. We’ve all got friends and family members who’ve had first day mishaps, so here’s a few of our favourites:
“On my first day the central locking broke on my car. My alarm went off all day long” – Sarah (probation officer)
“I knew I would be training in the first week of my new job. What I didn’t know is that I would be the nominated first aider. I’m terribly squeamish and passed out after the first five minutes of looking at pictures of injuries. I was so embarrassed” – Kerrie (elderly support worker and recipient of first aid)
“My nerves really get the better of me, so I nipped to the loo as soon as I got to my office. I was given the introduction, and walked round to meet everyone. At lunchtime I realised that I’d had toilet paper trailing from my shoe the whole time” – Emma (account executive)
“When I first started in recruitment, I arrived at a newly refurbished office on my first day and unfortunately walked chewing gum through reception and into the training room, which was duly noticed by my new manager… embarrassing” – Dan (director)
“I used Google Maps to plan my route into my new job, but the bus number was wrong, and by the time I’d realised I was miles away from where I was supposed to be. My new boss was not impressed” – Dom (dental assistant)
So, to avoid the first day blues and incurring your own horror story, we’ve drawn up some tips to help you make the most of your first day:
Your new employer wants to know they have made the right choice. Set your alarm leaving plenty of time to get ready and travel to work. If you have trouble getting out of bed, take no chances and set a second alarm. Ensure you have bus/train routes downloaded and accessible to you if this is your method of transport. You might consider doing a trial run a week or so before if you drive, to give yourself a good idea of timings.
If you’re unsure on the workwear culture in your new office, go for the smart look but ensure your outfit is versatile enough to dress up or down. Or better still, call ahead to confirm the expected dress-code and avoid any embarrassing fashion faux pas.
Put on your best face
A smile can make all the difference when meeting new people. It sounds simple, but always give a smile to everyone you meet on your first day. Making a positive first impression will build ties early, establishing you as an approachable member of staff, and making others willing to support you when you need help.
Write it down
It’s all about planning and organisation on your first day; make sure you have some means of taking notes with you when you arrive. Write down all instructions you’re given, including names if you struggle remembering them. This shows initiative and a willingness to learn, and when you have instructions to look back on to help you with the task, you’re proving to your employer that you learn quickly and could take on more in the future.
Be social and willing to make friends. If there’s a Macmillan coffee morning coming up, take note, get baking and bring it in. Offer to make a round of drinks, that way you get to know names and everyone’s drink order. Becoming involved in workplace social groups will show management that you’re a team player, as well as allowing you to network with your colleagues and build relationships that could come in handy further down the line.