If you are reading this on June 6th, 2016 that means I am officially at my first day of work at my very first grown-up job! I graduated college at the beginning of May and after countless internships, odd jobs during the summer, and babysitting gigs, I officially am a college-educated working gal. Anyone who has had a first day of work can probably agree that it can be a mix of both overwhelming and exciting with a little sprinkle of nerve-wracking. Instantly, new people are thrown into your life and you feel like you’re expected to actually know the name of all 30 people in the office. When do you take your lunch break? And where the heck is the bathroom? All these questions run through your head while you are trying to absorb as much information as possible and not look like a deer in headlights. The first day is definitely hectic, but I’ve been through quite a few first days to come up with 5 tips for your first day of work that will hopefully help it go a little more smoothly for you:
#1: Bring a notepad & pen:
Some companies will give you a little goodie bag with branded swag on it your first day that will include a notepad for training. However, don’t bank on that. Bring your own for your first day so you can instantly start jotting down notes and reminders that will help you accumulate to your new environment. When you meet a new person, I recommend creating a list of your coworkers with a short description to remember them by. Note: It probably isn’t a good idea to shake someone’s hand and then immediately whip out your notebook and write their name down. Do it slyly!
#2: Dress for success & comfort:
Don’t wear your brand new work heels that you haven’t broke-in on your first day. Chances are you probably are going to be walking around the office meeting new people and seeing where things are. You don’t want to be gimping around because you have three new blister on your feet. Also, pick out your outfit the night before and give your blazer and pants a good iron so you look crisp and put together your first day in!
#3: Ask questions:
Your boss/supervisor/and coworkers don’t expect you to know everything your first day in. Ask questions if you’re confused about a policy, pick your coworker’s brains for advice, and don’t be afraid to just ask! First days are intimidating, but it is much better to show your company that you are engaged and eager to learn about your new job then to sit back and be confused about something. The “fake it until you make it” motto isn’t smart for your first day.
#4: Get to know your coworkers:
I used to be pretty shy when I was younger. My first job was at a local grocery store when I was in high school and I was so painfully shy around my coworkers that it came off as standoffish. I would avoid the break room on my lunch break and walk over to the Carls Jr to eat a chicken sandwich off the dollar menu alone. It took me a couple of months to climb out of my shell around my coworkers and I am so glad I finally did because I made so many friends while I worked that job. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your new coworkers. You don’t have to be BFFs, but you need to be approachable. My first job really helped me become more outgoing and today I have no problem striking up conversations with strangers and being myself.
#5: Be mentally ready for your first day and job!
You can be physically prepared for work as much as you’d like, but you also have to be mentally ready. Are you ready for the sometimes long hours and busy days you’ll have? A lot of recent college graduates probably aren’t ready to start getting up at the crack of dawn five days a week and crank out 40+ hours of work. Take a few days before you start your job to begin getting in your work habits. Wake up when you will have to wake up, establish a diet that will help you stay mentally sharp and energetic. It is also important to take a step back and decide what YOU want from your job. Write down your goals for a year from now, all the way up to your five year plan. Don’t forget to include the steps you’re going to take to achieve those goals. This will be a great guide to help you find out what you want out of your career. Don’t forget, it is totally okay to make changes down the line!
Your first day should ultimately be fun and exciting! First day jitters are totally normal, but remember everyone in your office was in the same spot you were at one point so don’t be too hard on yourself! Below is a super cool infographic to help you survive your first day hour by hour!