New Job 101 – Advice for the first day and beyond

I Am New Badge Lanyard Introduction Meet NetworkingStarting a new job stirs up a variety of emotions. On one hand, you’re excited. You should be – you beat out a lot of other people to land this position. On the other hand, it’s perfectly normal to feel apprehensive. Changing your routine, heading into the unknown and meeting an entirely new group of people can be stressful. Not to worry, we’re here to help!

Prepare For the Big Day
This is not the time to be focusing on new projects at home or rushing back from a whirlwind weekend getaway. You want to be calm, cool and collected. Take the time to set out what you’re going to wear, pack a lunch, start to wind down early in the evening and then go to bed at a reasonable time.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time That First Morning
Make sure you have everything (coffee, water bottle, notepad, phone, etc.) ready to go. We advise setting your alarm at a time that’s at least 30 minutes earlier than usual. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need. This gives you some wiggle room. Note – you may not have slept as well as you normally would have, and that’s ok. It’s a common symptom of first day jitters. Rest assured, you’ll adjust to your new schedule once you settle in. As for what to wear, dress on the conservative side until you see what acceptable attire is for your team.

Arrive early
Being late on your first day is a big no-no. Start your new journey showing how prompt, dedicated and reliable you are. Can you do a trial run before the big day so you have a better idea of what traffic is like? If that’s not possible, we recommend leaving at least ten minutes before you need to, just in case.

Be positive and confident
Just as in the interview, first impressions count. It’s normal to have butterflies, but go out of your way to be upbeat and friendly. Don’t forget to smile :).  A great attitude from day one will be remembered and goes a long way. Your first days, weeks (and really first few months) are a test to see if you can deliver on what you promised during the interview process.

Listen more than you talk
It can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to prove yourself right away. In the first few weeks, it pays to be more of an observer. This is not to say that you aren’t going to get in there and do what you were hired to do. Temper your enthusiasm with taking in the culture and adapting accordingly. Every workplace has its own set of rules and personalities. You want to fit in without creating conflict or doubt. 

Cut out the comparisons
It can be easy to slip into the mode of talking about previous coworkers and companies. Don’t do it. Your focus now is on your new job, new colleagues and new boss.

Steer clear of the gossip
Every workplace has its share of drama. Be nice and cordial to everyone. Stay out of office politics from the beginning.

Make it a priority to learn everyone’s name
Take notes and do word associations in your mind if you have to. We know this can be hard, especially if you meet a lot of new people. If you do forget a name, you do have an easy out, since you are new. Still, make an effort.

Don’t eat at your desk
Do people eat in the cafeteria or do they go out? If you’re lucky, your boss may even take you out on your first day. See what other employees do and follow in their footsteps. In coming days, you can explore your new surroundings. There may be a spot close by where you can grab a bite to eat. If everyone does eat at their desks, we still advise getting up and taking a break. You’ll need it, especially in the beginning. Everyone needs time to recharge.

Don’t be the first to leave
You don’t have to be the last out the door, but you certainly shouldn’t be one of the first. Stay at least as long as your boss is there.

Give yourself a break
It can be easy to become overwhelmed when starting a new position. You may even start to second guess yourself. Why did I take this job? What was I thinking? I can’t do this! Envision a stop sign if you have to in order to banish this doom and gloom thinking. Beginning a new job IS stressful. You can’t control the flood of information coming towards you, or all the changes, but you can control how you react. Breathe, reflect and relax. Whether this is your first job or your fifth, the emotions and transition time are the same. It will get easier with each day that passes, we promise.

Good luck on your new job – you’ll do great!

P.S. We would love to hear how you handled your first day/weeks on the job. Feel free to leave your comments/suggestions below and share this post if you found it to be helpful.



Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

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© OldcastleCareers, 2014. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to OldcastleCareers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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