As if the interview process wasn’t gruelling enough, getting a new job (or a first job) means you still have a first day to navigate through. It’s the unknowingness of it all, where you don’t know what the office is gonna be like, or your coworkers, or even what your job actually is. That said, we tend to overthink these things, and that’s what leads us to do dumb shit like doing power poses in the bathroom before walking in; these tips will help simplify things.
1. Don’t be afraid to overdress
Probably the first concern anybody has with starting a new job is a purely practical one–what the hell am I going to wear?? Of course, you’re going to want to leave the right first impression, but it’s important to remember that first impressions change, and it’s easy to pass off a fashion faux pas with a simple self-deprecating joke. That said, it’s definitely better to be the dweeb in a dress shirt when everyone’s rocking plain T’s than to underdress in shorts. After a few weeks, you’ll be more comfortable with management and get to know what the general vibe is dress-wise, so you’ll be able to get more casual with the clothing.
2. Introduce yourself to everyone
Sounds simple AF but in the moment, it’s easy to shit bricks or just plain forget to do this, and that could potentially make the next few weeks difficult–or at least awkward. On a practical level, it’s helpful to know everybody’s name and role and how much they can help you do your job, and you don’t want to be pegged as the weird quiet kid that nobody really knows. So push those nerves down, at least for a few seconds at a time, and initiate introductions; older staff are gonna be worried you’ve actually been working there for months and just never noticed you, so they won’t be sticking their hand out first.
3. You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be heard
Yes, it’s important to make your presence known in the new workplace, but don’t go upsetting the old order of things. Running your mouth constantly could have your colleagues wondering who the fuck this new guy is, even if you are just being overly chatty out of nervousness. Definitely try to let your personality show through jokes and chitchat, but you don’t know your audience yet, so don’t go in the lunchroom dominating conversations; take your time to get a feel for what everyone likes talking about first. The workplace is a social ecosystem, and too much sudden change on one level could wipe out the entire thing–all you want to do at first is figure how you can slot in seamlessly, and you can take a more active role once you’re more comfortable with everyone.
4. Ask questions if you need to
It’s your first day at a new job in a new system with new co-workers–you’re not gonna know how everything works. Ask as many questions as you need, ‘cause it’s better than fucking up when you to do something you’re a little unclear about. Even if you think you’re coming off as thick, people are more impressed by jobs done correctly and these leave more lasting impressions.
5. Breathe - your co-workers are just people too
Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to do everything perfectly or how we’re going to be perceived on our first day that we forget that the people we work with, bosses included, are just people too. They’ve been there before, and they’re not going to hold us to impossible standards. Contrary to what your anxiety is saying, most people are perfectly nice and reasonable and will try to make you feel welcome. At worst, you’ll run into some people that just don’t give a shit about you at all; they’re not gonna make your life better but they probably won’t make it worse either.