Ah, the first day: racking your brain trying to figure out what the person in charge wants, worrying about the timing of your bowel movements, unpacking your crayons, and well, that was just second grade. Though you’ve hopefully graduated from wax to ink in terms of writing utensils, those same worries also come with your first day at a new job. For that reason, we decided to some advice to anyone preparing to sit down at a new desk.
The similarities between elementary school and workplace don’t stop at nerves, because a crucial key to success is similar: just be there. My dad’s take on school was always: “50% of it is just showing up.” and unpacking the phrase, you find it has some hidden wisdom. Being punctual and concentrating on being in the moment are two things that are often taken for granted, but go a long way in making a first impression. If you establish yourself as reliable, responsible, and focused in the office, regardless of your work output, superiors will see you as someone who has potential to add value to the company.
Being there also means taking advantage of the day to day opportunities to interact with co-workers. Often the toughest part of starting a new job can be finding where you fit in the office’s social environment, and being there means jumping at every chance to find out. Somebody invites you to lunch? Be there. Darts after work? Be there. Morning roller derby league on Wednesdays? Be there.
Yes, everyone says it. So, why aren’t you listening? ASK QUESTIONS. The first few days in the office are a safe zone where you can clear up any confusion, and be inquisitive with the guise of being the “newbie” to protect you. It’s almost complete stupidity immunity.
Again, everyone has been told this before, so ask the questions that will separate yourself from the other recent hires. Be patient during explanations and have the courage to ask about processes. You were hired in part for your perspective, so being afraid to question how things are done is doing both yourself and the company a disservice. Now, do so without sounding like a cocky-know-it-all. Make sure you understand the dynamic, before you suggest improvements. However, getting involved in a discussion about how the company does things not shows you care enough to about what your superior is saying to apply critical thinking, but also shows your aptitude as an employee.
So, there you have it, if day one nerves have your mind racing, you can rest easy, knowing all you have to do is be there and be dumb… A few extra
crayons pens might help too.