Congratulations, you finally landed a new job as technology, like database administrator, cybersecurity analyst, etc. It can be easy to make the wrong impression on your first day. Now all you have to do it survive your first day at work, without doing just about everything the wrong way. If this is your first real job, or your first new job in a long time, you might need a few pointers to prevent your first day from being a disaster.
By avoiding these 10 annoying behaviors, you get start your new job without sticking out or making enemies.
1. Know It All – You might be the smartest person you know, but you probably don’t know everything about your new company on the first day. There might be plenty of things you will see and hear that sound like they are doing it wrong, but they have been doing it that way before you got there. The key is to absorb the information and take plenty of notes. Once you have been there for a while, you can start making recommendations on process improvements. Telling people that they are doing something wrong on your first day is not the best way to make friends or impress your co-workers.
2. Fatigue – Make sure you are fully rested and on time for your first day. First impressions are important, so it is better to be early than late. You want to be fully rested and ready to spend the entire day working hard and learning everything you can about how your company does what it does. Don’t expect a long lunch and don’t even think about leaving early.
3. Dress Code – One of the things you want to get straight before you arrive on your first day is what you are expected to wear. As you attend your interviews or if you make visits to the office, note the what everyone else is wearing. If you are given conflicting messages or aren’t sure what to wear, over dress. It is better to be known as the guy who showed up on their first day in a suit when everyone else is wearing jeans, than the guy who showed up in shorts and a tee shirt when everyone else is wearing a suit. You can be prepared to change your clothes if you need to dress down a little as the day goes on. You can always remove a jacket and tie, pull on a sweater, or even change shoes, if required. People judge books by their covers and you by your first-day attire.
4. TMI – Too Much Information (TMI) is a nail in the coffin of a first-day employee. People are going to want to get to know you a little so they will ask you questions about your personal life or previous employers. Keep the stories short and without very much depth. People don’t want to hear all about your romantic relationships and previous bosses. Once you get to know your co-workers a little better, you will also get to know more about who you can trust or who is the office gossip.
5. Romance – I don’t care how interesting or attractive a co-worker is, you must keep your distance on the first day. Be polite and warm, but avoid any appearance of flirting or romantic attraction to anyone and everyone. While office romances are a bad idea in general, you definitely don’t want to be doing anything that looks like an office romance on our first day. You want the first-day reputation as that smart new person, not the jerk who kept flirting with Pat in accounting.
6. Complaints – There will be issues the first day. You might be given assignments that seem too simple for your level of training or experience. You might have trouble getting your lunch break or finding the bathrooms. Keep everything negative to yourself. Don’t be seen as someone who complains about anything. Anything. You are the person that solves problems and never complains about anything. You will gain the immediate respect of your coworkers and supervisors. Later, after they get to know you little, you can start complaining and standing your ground.
7. Social Invitations – Your co-workers may ask you to go to lunch with them or ask if you want to stop by the local bar for a drink after work. If you say no you might be branded the person who doesn’t want to spend time with your co-workers. Do you think you are too good to spend time with them? Try to accept a reasonable invitation (safety first), but also control yourself. Even if you are buying your own lunch, keep the order to a reasonable quantity. If your boss or co-worker is paying, order something simple and inexpensive. Even if everyone else is drinking alcohol, you need to stick to soft drinks or water. You want to be seen as that great new employee, not that new drunk.
8. Comparisons – You might be willing to make comparisons to how you used to do things at you last job or what you were told in a college class. Unless you are asked, you keep that information to yourself. Things are done a certain way at your new job, and you just keep your mouth shut. You might have some great ideas on ways to do things better, faster, or easier but you just need to make good notes and keep your mouth shut. No one wants to hear the new guy tell them all the things they are doing the wrong way. All your ideas can come out after a day or two of gainful employment.
9. Excitement – You are going to be a little confused and lost your first day, but don’t forget this job is what you wanted. This should be a happy day, full of wonder and excitement. Don’t be afraid to let people know you are glad you took the job offer, how you are happy to be there, and how you are excited to begin this next step in your career. This will remind them that you are willing to learn anything they want to show you, you are capable of being a valuable member of the team, and that you have a contagious level of excitement. You co-workers may have forgotten why working for this great company is so great, and you are there to remind them how lucky they are for working there.
10. Thank You – Training a new employee takes a lot of time and effort. These people are taking time out of their normal assignments to train you on the mundane tasks that make up their daily activities. Even if you already know how to do the task or you only spent two minutes talking to them, always make sure they understand you appreciate their time and always say “Thank You”.
These behaviors are just recommendations for your first few days. These behaviors are not sound advice for normal corporate life, but are just applicable for your first day or two. Once you get to know everyone and understand what they expect from you, you can open up a little and be a little more casual.