You’ve spent six months looking for the perfect job. You’ve prepared for and sweated through seventeen interviews. Now, at last, you’ve landed the job of a lifetime. But what can you do to face that first day on the job so that you don’t feel like a lost traveler in a foreign land?
View your first day experience with excitement. It’s your opportunity to meet new teammates, and potentially new friends. A-Game outfit selected. Check. Research on the company and the people you’re working with. Check. Okay, now what?
Here’s how to slay your first day on the job. Read on.
- Do a dry run commute. Is the new office in an unfamiliar part of town? Assume you’ll be in a traffic jam on the way to work. You want to be in your workspace seat a good ten minutes before your start time.
- Take notes.Bring along a form of note taking and write down everything, including what you think you’ll remember — you probably won’t. The first week is like taking a sip out of a fire hose. You will be bewildered and things may go in one ear and out the other. No one is going to think you’re uncool for taking notes. In fact, they’ll see that you’re someone who doesn’t want to drive them to frustration by asking the same questions over and over again. Good move. Ask questions now. No one minds in the beginning.
- Befriend the receptionist.Make an effort to be friendly to the receptionist. This person is the first point of contact for your guests and incoming calls. If you treat him as an equal, he will reciprocate and treat your guests and callers — and you — with equal respect. He can also help you figure out the lay of the land. Ask him for a phone list of the employees and study their names.
- Bring your lunch.Pack a lunch as a back-up plan, but if a co-worker or boss asks you to have lunch with them, of course accept the invitation. You want to come in ready to join the team.
- Observe carefully.Start from day one making close observations of your new co-workers. Determine which are the movers and shakers, and which are more comfortable as back-office players. Notice everything. Assess quickly who to steer clear of. Beware aligning yourself with anyone who has an agenda different from your own.
- Make a stellar first impression.A first impression is challenging — and sometimes impossible — to change. Daniel Goleman coined the term, “Amygdala Hijack,” to describe how someone sizes you up for the first time. Immediately, they decide whether you are here to eat them, or to be eaten by them. It happens in seconds. Offer a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact. Do your best to repeat the names of everyone you meet in a sentence back to them. Exude confidence.
- Check in with your supervisor.Don’t let the first day go by without asking your supervisor for some time during that first week to chat with her regarding her expectations of you. This will start the flow of communication between you. It will also better clarify your job responsibilities. Offer up your own ideas of how you can meet her expectations and accomplish the team’s goals. Articulate your value here. Let her know that you’re interested in a quarterly review over the first year to make any needed shifts as the work evolves.
- Keep desk decor to a minimum.Maintain a clutter free desk. One personal photo in a frame is adequate. Leave each day with a clean desk, putting daily work in a drawer. Tidiness conveys competence.
- Work through closing time.Bosses are observant of clock watchers. Think of your watch, cell phone or the clock on the wall as kryptonite to your eyes. Stay late on the first day to cement your enthusiasm (think Brownie points). If people on your team offer to take you out after work, say yes, but limit yourself to one drink only. Set boundaries and make that 7 p.m.yoga class.
Bid farewell to your first successful day on the job. Be confident of your first day effort. You made the best of it!
Now, head to your yoga mat and unwind. Namaste!
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Marja Norris is the CEO and founder of MarjaNorris.com, a company dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals with style and confidence. With a distinguished career in finance, she has successfully navigated the male-dominated business world and is passionate about coaching women on how to be taken seriously, be heard, and get what they want at work. Her latest book, The Unspoken Code: A Businesswoman’s No-Nonsense Guide to Making It in the Corporate World, provides women with the tools to awaken their dreams and reach their highest goals.
Contribution by: Marja Norris