The Job Search And Career Advice Blog header image 2

What NOT to Do on Your First Day at Work

January 28th, 2011 · Leave A Comment

Posted by

First DayIf you’re starting a new job, you’ve probably got a million and one thoughts running through your head: What will my new boss be like? Will I get along with my co-workers? How soon can I start digging into my new projects? You might be so busy thinking about the big picture that you’re overlooking the details of your first day at work. Here are some small things that might be easy to neglect during the first days and weeks at a new job, but can really make or break you in the eyes of your new employers and co-workers.

Tip #1: Don’t Be Late

You’re probably going to be taking a new train line, a new bus route, or a new freeway to get to your new job, and chances are, it’s going to take longer than you anticipate. Test drive (or test ride) your new route before you start your new job so you know how long it takes and you don’t end up being late your first week. Factor in extra time if there’s traffic, construction, etc.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget Your Documentation

When you start a new job, you usually need to fill out a variety of forms and paperwork. This means you’ll probably need your driver’s license, social security card, and possibly a passport. Set the items out the night before you start your new job so you don’t forget them It’s also a good idea to check with the hiring manager to find out if there’s anything else you need to bring with you, which will ensure that you: 1.) get paid on time and 2.) don’t make enemies out of the HR staff on your first day.

Tip #3: Don’t Blow Off Orientation

Many companies require new employees to go through an orientation or training process during their first week in a new position. It can be tempting to blow these sessions off or treat them lightly: don’t. Your training managers, even if they’re not going to be your direct supervisor, are watching you. If you treat these classes lightly or smirk during video presentations, you can bet that the training mangers will be reporting your behavior back to your boss and team members. Likewise, thoughtful questions and attentiveness on your part can prove to the hiring managers, training managers, and your future bosses that you are really invested in your new position.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget to Learn First

Of course you want to make a great impression during your first week at a new job, and show your new employers they made the right choice in hiring you. And while enthusiasm is admirable, wanting to implement new policies and ideas right from the get go (especially if you’re in a managerial position) may not be the best way to align yourself with your new team. Before you start changing policies and implementing new initiatives, take the time to really learn your job, your team members, and how everything functions together in the company as a whole. From there, you’ll be able to make the kind of contributions that your bosses will appreciate and your co-workers will respect and stand behind.

Tip #5: Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

You may be so eager to start your new job that you don’t want to stop and ask questions. But by skipping even the most basic questions (the ones you might be embarrassed to ask), you are setting yourself up for failure. You need to ask everything – from what your specific job duties are to who can help you set up your computer to how documentation is recorded.

In other words, put your ego in check and ask about everything: it will show your employer how thorough you are, and it will prevent you from making mistakes as you move forward.

This is a guest post by Noel Rozny:

Noel Rozny writes the career blog mypathfinder for the myFootpath website. As the myFootpath web editor and content manager, she is passionate about helping students of all ages find the degree or career path that’s right for them. myFootpath is a resource to help you in your search for a college, degree program, career, graduate school, and non-traditional experiences. Visit to start your college or degree program search.

Related posts:

  1. 7 Ways To Get Credit For Your Work (When You’re Not Gettin’ Any)

Tags: Getting Ahead · Jobs · Working Hard