Your First Day At Work

Once you’ve accepted the job offer, you’ll probably have a lot to think about, such as celebrating your success and he logistics involved if you’re relocating to another part of the country. You also need to start thinking about your first day, and taking steps to make sure that you’re ready for when it arrives.

Key Questions For Your Employer

It’s very easy for employers to focus on the job offer, and completely overlook some of the practical things that you need to know for your first day. Make sure that you ask the employer these key questions:

  • What time do you need to arrive at?
  • Who you need to ask for at Reception?
  • What will you be doing on your first day?

You can’t assume that you should simply turn up at 9am on your first day at your new place of work. Most firms will ask you to do exactly that, but not all of them will. The person who meets you at Reception will probably be your team leader or your manager.

Preparing For Your First Day

Plan your journey to work. Your journey to work will probably be at rush hour on the morning; this might be a different experience compared to when you traveled for your interview. If you’ve relocated for the job, then you could well be travelling along a different route too, and an unfamiliar one at that. Make sure you know how you’re going to get to your new place of work.

Plan your journey home from work. This is so easily overlooked! Is there a particular train or bus that you need to catch? What time do you need to leave the office to catch them? If you’re commuting a long distance by public transport, be careful about staying too late at work or you might miss your transport home.

Plan your lunch. You’ll probably be a bit nervous on your first day, and doing without lunch will just make the day more stressful than it needs to be. It’s quite common for a new starter to take in a packed lunch for his first day, so that he is self-sufficient. Your colleagues may buy their lunches from local sandwich shops; this can be expensive if you do this every day, and some of these shops are too small to take payment by debit or credit card.

Buy a notepad and pen to take with you. At first, most of what you’re going to do will be new to you. Even if you’re very familiar with the technologies that your employer uses, there’ll be a lot to learn about how your employer does things. Hopefully you’ll find yourself working with friendly people who are happy to answer all of your questions, but even the friendliest of colleagues will lose patience if they’re having to repeat the same things to you over and over. That’s why you need to make sure that you take lots of notes until you’re familiar with everything.

On Your First Day

Don’t be late. Remember, you’re still on probation, and you have yet to win the employer’s trust. Most employers will understand if you’re slightly late on your first day (especially if you’re relocated to a new town or city for the job), but you want to make a positive first impression.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t have a desk or computer at first. I know that they both seem to be very fundamental, but you’d be amazed at how often they get overlooked, or how hard it can be inside some firms to get the most basic things in place in time. If it happens to you, just grin and bear it.

Ask someone to show you around. You need to know where some things are, such as the stationary cupboard and the toilets. Hopefully, someone will offer to show you around the local area too, pointing out where the local shops are for lunch and snacking, and where any cash machines can be found.

Health and safety. This is something that many employers forget to tell new starters and visitors alike about, but knowing this information could save your life one day. Find out where all the fire escapes are. (In modern office buildings, fire escape doors are normally alarmed, so don’t go opening any of them). Find out where the assembly point is in the event of a real fire. Find out if there are any regular fire drills or tests. Find out who the Fire Marshalls are. Find out who the First Aiders are. Find out where the first aid kit is.

Take your notepad and pen everywhere with you, and use them. The stress of your first day will impair your memory at least to some extent, and if the adrenaline is really flowing most of the day will pass in something of a blur. Write everything down that you’re told about, so that you can refer to it afterwards when you need it.

Start a private journal. At the end of every day, a great way to unwind is to write out your thoughts and feelings into a private diary. This helps you realise your successes, and to unload your frustrations and anger so that you don’t carry it into the office the following day. It’s much healthier for your mental health than bitching about things behind people’s backs.

Final Words On The Recruitment Process

Employers expect you to turn up on time, work hard, learn quickly, and deliver results to deadline. It’s part attitude, and part aptitude. You’ll have good days, and you’ll have bad days. You’ll make mistakes. Hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun too.

One day, it’ll be time to do it all over again, when you move on to your next job somewhere else. When that happens, hopefully you’ll find this advice about the recruitment process to be just as useful.

Whether you’re about to apply for your first full-time job, or whether you’re about to switch jobs for the first time, the more employable you are, the greater your chances are of getting a job. Part 2 of this book contains some advice which will help you with that.

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