On your first day it would not be uncommon for nerves to get the better of you, making you say the wrong thing or for you to feel completely overwhelmed with all the new information that is thrown at you.
To avoid scenes like this the trick is to look and stay calm, even if on the inside you feel like a blubbering mess, look and listen more than you talk, and ensure that you are prepared and ready for your first day at work.
Plan your route
The best way to deal with any new situation is to plan for any eventualities and to be prepared. In this instance, this means planning your route to work beforehand, working out how much time you will need to get there and to leave enough time just in case the train is late or there is a lot of traffic. It’s a good idea to do a test drive the week before so that you know what to expect.
What to wear on the first day of work
Plan what you are going to wear and make sure that your outfit is washed, ironed and ready to put on. You will have got a feel for your new company’s dress code when you went for the interview and so you should try to dress similarly at first, so that you don’t stand out.
If you are unsure, it is always best to dress slightly more conservatively than you usually would. Once you have been there a while and then you can start to show what a quirky sense of fashion you have, but not before. Wear something that you feel comfortable in and that you know looks good. If you feel comfortable, you will look comfortable and ooze confidence.
Ensure that you go to bed early the night before so that you wake up with plenty of energy and are raring to go. Make sure that you have enough time in the morning to carry out your daily routine, as rushing around like a madman will only add extra pressure. Shower and wash your hair, clean your teeth and make sure that you look and smell good!
Make time for a proper breakfast that will last you until lunchtime without causing hunger pangs or loss of energy mid-morning. Take a packed lunch to work with you just in case you do get hungry or in case your workplace does not have its own canteen. Additionally, in some offices, lunch is often just a quick sandwich at your desk rather than a leisurely lunch at the nearest bistro.
Your big entrance
Walking into an unfamiliar workplace and being confronted with a whole group of new faces is daunting. If you keep calm, put a smile on your face and stand up tall, people won’t bat an eyelid. Ensure that you are friendly to everyone that you meet and make eye contact when talking to them.
You will more than likely be taken on a tour of the building, so introduce yourself and explain which position you will be taking and ask people their names and what their role is in the company. If you have time later, draw up a map or plan of your office, filling in peoples’ names and roles until you get to know this information off by heart.
Although it’s always good to ask questions, on your first day keep questions to a minimum. Make notes throughout the day of anything that you would like clarification on and ask your boss all in one go at the end of the first week if they haven’t already been answered by that time. Too many questions could make others perceive you as annoying, thick or false.
You probably won’t be given that much to do on your first day, but be aware that your new colleagues may be up to their neck in work. Be friendly and try to make conversation but realise that the others may be busy, have a tight deadline to work to or a project to finish. Give them space and they will respect that and probably offer their help when they have more time. Don’t take this as a personal affront, especially on your first day.
If you find yourself with a lot of spare time, organise your working space and get a feel for the new building such as finding out where the toilets and coffee machine are! In an office environment you will most likely have to set up a new email address, voicemail message and find your way around a new computer and intranet system.
At the end of the day, do not rush out of the door. Try to stay behind and finish off any jobs or if you are invited for a drink after work with your boss or other colleagues, ensure that you go. This will give you the opportunity to find out more about the written and unwritten rules of the company and will make you appear friendly and eager to fit in. Once the first day is over and done with, the rest of the week, month and year will be a doddle!