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April 11, 2012
Your First Day at Your First Job
 
We’ve all been there at one time or another. Yes, the dreaded first day at a new job.

Like the first day at a new school or going into a new grade, the first day with a new employer can be everything from what seems like the longest day of your life to the most anxious day. If you are lucky, it falls somewhere in between.

When starting a new job, be it with a company that is just starting a small business or one that has been around for years, have a game plan in place the night before so that you don’t suddenly become panic stricken the next day when showing up for work.

Your game plan should include:
  • Get a good night’s rest the evening before. Nothing cures anxiety and feeling worn down like a good night’s sleep. If you’re starting your new job at 8 the next morning, don’t wander off to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning. You will want to be up a little early the next morning to prepare for your first day, arriving a little earlier than scheduled;
  • Arrive ahead of schedule. Just as you did for your job interview, it certainly does not hurt to get their a few minutes early on day one. This shows the new employer that you are responsible, eager to start, and avoids any issues in the event you have trouble locating your new office;
  • Map out directions to your new employer’s office. While you may have had no trouble locating the office for your interview, be sure to go over the planned route one more time so that there are no last-minute surprises such as construction detours, etc. that will make you late for work. The last thing you want to do is wander into the office 15 minutes late on day one;
  • Dress appropriately for your first day on the job. Even in offices where casual is the norm, it certainly does not hurt to dress a little nicer on day one. While a suit and tie may not be required, wear dress pants or a nice dress or skirt so that you look sharp on the first day. It is better to dress down a little later in the week than be told to spruce it up a bit;
  • Come prepared with questions. Even the most seasoned professionals will have questions regarding how a company’s computer system works, how the company deals with this issue or that, and a plethora of other items. It is better to ask first than assume you are doing it right and have to redo a project;
  • Don’t overextend yourself and be too chatty. While it is a good idea to be open and friendly, don’t turn into the office gossip box on your first day there. You will more than likely be introduced to a number of co-workers if you did not meet them when you interviewed, but keep your comments friendly and brief. If you are perceived as someone that just wants to chat and not do much of anything else, you could be setting yourself up for a short stay there;
  • Lean on your previous initial experiences. We’ve all been down this road before of first days at new jobs, so hark back to previous experiences in order to make it through this one. Not long after you arrive, someone else will be the new kid on the block and before you know it, you will hopefully be climbing the charts on the seniority ladder.
I have had a handful of full-time jobs in 23 years in the employment arena, with each new experience being different from the next. While those first days always make you feel like the new kid at school, I survived them all and never went home shaking my head.

Come prepared, learn from your new experiences, and take comfort in the fact that this new day will hopefully be the start of many more days to come with your new employer.

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