When you first start a new job there’s a lot going on in your head: stress over impressing your employers, jitters over learning new software or administration procedures, a new sleep schedule, etc. It can be hard to think rationally about how to approach the first day or two, but this is your best time to learn about the company and your place within it. This is when you can find out how your employers treat the staff and what you can expect from them instructionally. For example, do they host seminars? Hiring a business speaker can impart a lot of valuable information to attentive employees. If you’re new at a company, keep your ears peel for perks such as in-house workshops, benefits and other incentives. Beyond that, pay close attention to details.

Here’s a quick list of things to do and things not do on your first day:

The Dos:

Learn the pecking order of your superiors.

Find out who has the ability to fire you and, more importantly, who has the ability to fire them. Once you know the pecking order you will be in a better position to evaluate what you should do when multiple assignments come in at once. One supervisor’s “I need you to do this” may be considerably more important than the other. It is good to know who you are reporting to and what is the general overall org structure in the company. The HR would be glad to offer this info or it might be online on the intranet.

Ask lots of questions.

This is the day when no question is stupid. In fact, whoever is training you will probably say that “there is no stupid question.” Take advantage of this levity by finding out as much as you can about the company and the kinds of assignments you’ll be tasked with. Ideally, you should carry around a notebook and record the answers to these questions. Not only does this make you look like a diligent employee, you’ll benefit from not having to pester your co-workers with incessant questions later on down the road.

Not only your co-workers must talk to the HR on all necessary paperwork that could be required from a new hire. You would have already done so but it is a good idea to double check and go through the important papers that need your immediate attention.

Query your co-workers about aspects of the job.

Don’t be too nosy about it, but you should take advantage of your status as the new guy to find out what people really think about the job. People open up to new workers, either to vent or to impart knowledge. Either can benefit you in the long run.

It is a day to observe and get to know the team you would be working with. Take it easy though not everything can be done in a day but a good start adds a lot to your confidence and diligence.


The Don’ts:

Don’t confuse your desk and computer as your personal work station.

Remember that everything you view on your computer may very well be monitored. Don’t use it to watch YouTube videos, check your personal email or space out on Facebook. In general, until you know your company’s policy on down time you should do whatever you can to not slack off.

Don’t speak too casually or inappropriately with your co-workers.

No matter how nice or jovial your co-workers seem, no matter how good of a sense of humor they have or how openly they talk about their private lives, when you’re first starting a job DO NOT make inappropriate jokes or reveal racy details about your life. Not only is this unprofessional, it may be illegal. Talking about dating, for example, can be construed as sexual harassment. This is rare, of course, but why take a chance on a new job?

Don’t put up a shabby appearance.

Yes, you’ve got the job, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to let yourself go. How you present yourself makes a huge impact on your employers and colleagues. Most people dress well when they start a new job. This should also extend to behavior and demeanor. You want to come across as both well-groomed and psychologically healthy.

These are just a few tips for how to approach your first day on the job. The basic motivating trope here is to be professional, intake as much information as possible, and learn as much as you can about how the company is structured.


What has been your experience on the first day at a new job?