Tips for when you’re starting that new job

Jack totally bonded on his first day at work they commemorated by taking a photo. Some rights reserved by janwillemsen

Starting a new job in an office? Great! Here’s some advice I give to friends:

  1. Meet everyone you can on your floor. 
    And why not? It’s your first day. Too shy? The introvertive type? Get it done, out of the way. Rehearse the first few lines.
    Find out if they work for your boss, or not. You don’t need to know what you do already, hey, it’s your first day!
    Added tip: after talking with them, write in your little notebook their name, and a little note. Remembering names is flattering to others.
  2. Do not downplay the job. 
    Oh what? It’s a survival job? You’re too qualified? You’ve done this before? Suck it up. Keep those opinions to yourself. You’re not better than anyone else. And even if you are, let others decide that for you because you’ll prove it. Your first week isn’t a time to showboat.
  3. Bring a lunch.
    Maybe you’ll go out to eat, maybe you won’t. Do you want to be searching aimlessly alone to find out what’s nearby? Besides, you can always keep your lunch in the fridge.
  4. Write down all the ideas you get in your first week
    The ideas to improve the company, your group, the project, your office. Don’t rush to share them just yet. And don’t think you’ll just remember them. You’ll be drinking the kool-aid with new tastebuds, you can tell it’s bitter, or too sweet. But don’t share your opinions and suggestions or you may be considered too eager and too keen – which can rub some people the wrong way and suggest you’re too much of a handful for your manager
  5. How to tell you’re valuable
    It’s not by which desk you get (not near a window? Suck it up. There may be politics that take a year to figure out).
    I venture to tell you that how much attention your superior gives you on your first day is reflective your priority to them. They’ve known for a while you were arriving, and they’ll make the time to make sure you know what they need you to know for you to start. Sure, some bosses give all their employees attention – does that mean they’re all valuable to them? Sure it does. What you do with the knowledge that you are valuable or not valuable is something else. But whether or not you have a window office, your own laptop and sucky blackberry, says very little to nothing about your value to your boss: their dedicated attention to you on your very first day is.
    What? They happen to be on vacation? They scheduled your arrival. They’re sick? They’ll send their regrets and make sure you get it.
  6. Bring extra clothing
    Worried if you’ll be dressed too formal? Or too laid-back? If you’re a guy, bring that sweater, button-shirt, slacks, dress shoes. You don’t want to feel overly self-conscious on your first day. Those shoes will help. If you’re a girl – I don’t know if you worry about this stuff, you girls have such flexible clothing with mix-and-match combinations (like silk scarves and broches).
  7. Be early
    But enter in on time. Because if you arrive later than you expect, you’ll be on time.
  8. Save your boss’s contact info to your cellphone
    You’re new to the job. There may be unforeseen circumstances your first week keeping you from getting to work (sickness, traffic, car broke down, your kid broke your alarm clock).  Your boss’ office phone number is at your desk. Or you find out you report to someone else and you don’t have their contact info in your personal email box. On your first day, save their contact info somewhere.
  9. Post your name at your office / cubicle
    People will be looking for you. And some people won’t remember your name. If you have a name display, it’s quite likely it won’t be there for at least your first week. Displaying your name at your office / cubicle helps.
  10. Send out an intro email to your group
    Before the day is up. Don’t put it off until day 2. What? It’s not perfect or perfectly accurate? Tough, it’ll never be. Say a bit about yourself, and try to convey some personality.
    Below is an example you can feel free to copy & paste & edit.

    • Hi! I’m Doug, the new one to the group. I’ll be working on our risk-mitigation strategy reporting to Donna and maybe someone else. I come here from the Institute for Public Research, where I also worked on risk-mitigation strategies. My email address is Doug@company.com, please add it to your address books (if that’s indeed what we do here). I’m still figuring things out here, but I’m looking forward to meeting everyone here! If I haven’t met you yet, please feel free to come by my office, it’s 2A6 just in front of the photocopiers. If you got any awesome advice (like where’s a good place near here to grab a bite to eat) or pointers (like not to trust the photocopier on Wednesdays!), I’d love to hear’em!
      -Doug @ 2A6

Hope this helps. What? I’m wrong? or you have other tips? Would love to read’em below, or via a tweet. Thanks!

Image: Some rights reserved by janwillemsen

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