How to Survive Your First Day on the Job

ID-100263783Since the job search process is difficult, we rarely think about what we’ll do when we actually get a job.  However the ability to keep a job is just as, or even more, important than the ability to find one.  Many people consistently lose their job because of the way that they conduct themselves at work.  The first impression that you make on your employer will set the tone for your relationship.  Here are some tips that will help you start out on the right foot:

Pay attention to your appearance.  First impressions are important.  Dress in a way that is professional and appropriate for the workplace culture.  You want to show that you will blend in with your coworkers and that you are someone that they will want representing the organization.

Be enthusiastic.  Demonstrate through your behaviour that you are grateful for the opportunity that you have been given.  Come in early and don’t rush out the door at the end of your shift.  Don’t complain about anything and be enthusiastic about everything that you are learning.  Managers are always happy to find employees who have a positive attitude.

Get to know your coworkers.  Make an effort to learn your coworkers’ names.  Even if you have to use a memory trick, it is worth the effort.  Spend your lunch break in the staff lunch room and talk to your coworkers.  Ask them questions about themselves and show that you are invested in getting to know them.  People like to be appreciated so be sure to recognize any assistance that your coworkers give you.

Ask lots of questions.  Consider your first few weeks as your grace period.  At this point, nobody expects you to know anything, but it doesn’t last forever.  Now is the time to ask questions and clarify anything that is unclear to you.  Resist the temptation to try to prove that you know it all; it is better to be honest and to wait until you get the hang of the job to impress them.

Stay out of office politics.  Every organization has office politics, but it’s best to stay out of it as long as you possibly can.  When you are a new employee and don’t completely understand the the organization’s social structure, it’s best for you to just focus on doing your job.  At their best, office politics are distracting and at their worst, they can get you into a lot of trouble.

It’s tough being the new kid on the block.  You haven’t yet developed relationships with your coworkers, and little things like making a photocopy or finding a cup of coffee can be difficult.  The reality is that you’re going to have awkward moments and you might even annoy the odd person.  The key is to work hard and to always maintain your professionalism.  Be confident in the skills that you to offer; the employer hired you because they believed that you were the best fit for the job

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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