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Survive Your First Day of Work

Starting a New Job


First day of work

Having first day jitters.

Ryan Jorgensen / 123RF

Your first day is here. That time off sure flew by, didn't it? Put on your favorite suit—you know ... the one that makes you shine. If you feel confident, you will look confident. Whether you're driving to work or using mass transit, be sure to leave plenty of time to get there. You should try to arrive a little bit early. Treat it like a job interview, and remember that first impressions do count. Eat breakfast before you leave your house and brush your teeth and floss. Fresh breath and clean teeth are a must (no poppy seed bagels, please).

Your work day begins when you leave your house. You never know who you'll meet along the way. You may run into your boss or a co-worker. A friend of mine was driving to work one day when a car swung around her and the driver made a hand gesture (you know the one) at my friend. He didn't see my friend's face, but she saw his. It looked familiar and then my friend remembered why. He was her most recent hire, starting work that very day. She attributed his action to nerves, and hasn't said a word to him. Yet. You shouldn't make lewd hand gestures regardless of who the recipient may be, but if you are tempted to, just think of the other person as being a potential boss, co-worker, or client.

So you finally made it to your new workplace. Now take a deep breath and walk in with a smile on your face. You are happy to be there and there's nothing wrong with showing it. Keep your head up and remember to make eye contact with whomever you meet. Be polite and friendly to everyone, whether it's the receptionist, the mailroom clerk, a colleague or your new boss. Introduce yourself and remember that it's okay to ask questions. Nobody minds. After all, everyone has had a "first day." People generally like to help others and it usually makes them feel good about themselves. I remember a new co-worker who refused all offers of help. I guess she thought accepting assistance would make her look incompetent to our boss. The result was that everyone thought she was a snob or a know-it-all and some people even vowed to refuse to help her in the future.

While it's okay to hold onto some of things you learned in your previous jobs and use that knowledge in your new job, remember that every workplace has it's own way of doing things. Your first few weeks or even months on a job is not the time to change the way things get done. Do not utter these words: "That's not how we did it at my old company." Your colleagues will just be thinking this: "Well, you're not at your old company and if you liked it so much why didn't you stay there."

What You Can Do Before Your First Day
Fitting In

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How to Prepare for Starting a New Job
Tips for Transitioning Into a New Job

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