The first day on a new job is not much different to the first day of high school..checking out the other kids, wondering if they will end up being your friends, worrying whether or not you will make a good impression, then feeling intimidated for being a small fish in a big pond.
There is little to replace the lessons you will learn on the job but here are a few tips on how to handle the nerves and anxiety of your first working day:
Not too early; never late
Don’t be too eager. Sitting perched on the front step waiting for security to open the doors is a bit too enthusiastic. But worse is waltzing in past start time; perhaps even an early demise to a brand new career.
A good idea is to do a practice-run a day or two before the big day, just to check the traffic situation if you have your own transport or to find out the best mode of public transport to use.
Greet and meet
Don’t expect a red carpet and welcoming committee; chances are that for everyone else in the company it is just another ordinary day at the office. People can be quite dismissive and sometimes slightly rude; so make the first move and introduce yourself politely and professionally without interrupting work activity.
Prepare to be bored
The most challenging thing you will more than likely get to do on your first day is fill in HR documents. Have all your personal information at hand to make sure this goes by as quickly as possible.
Listen and learn
Take advantage of the time you have before you are assigned tasks by listening and learning. Ask questions about the company, how things operate and soak up the culture so that when your desk starts to pile up you have an understanding of who everyone is, where everything is, how things operate and why things are done they way they are.
Despite your skills and qualifications, securing a job in tough economic times is a privilege. So remind yourself of how fortunate you are to have the opportunity to get your career started.
Here are some lesser spoken of tips:
- Ask where the bathroom is long before you need it
- Find out what the norm is re lunch and tea breaks; just because your letter of appointment says you get an hour, that doesn’t mean you take it
- Don’t dress to make a statement; low cut dresses, skin tight pants, power suits etc give away too much too early. Dress to blend; smartly, understated and inconspicuous.
Do your homework, research the company and ask as many questions as you can without annoying too many people.
Remember it takes 8 seconds to make a first impression!