Michael Sterling

First Day Fails – Don’t Do These


I’ve heard some pretty amusing first day of work stories. But really, messing up on the first day of a new job is not a laughing matter. It might seem strange to think, after all the effort involved in successfully obtaining an offer of employment, that someone would make a first-day faux pas. However, it happens. Quite simply – don’t do these on your first day of work.


First Day Fails


Being Late. This is a sure way not to impress on Day One. Make sure to ask what time you need to be at work. Don’t assume it’s when the office opens. Your new Manager may want you to arrive early to meet with HR or to complete paperwork. And if you’re not sure how heavy traffic is on your new route or where to park – leave early or make a test run in advance.


Dress Code Distaster. Clarify the office dress code and meet or exceed it. Dressing at the bare minimum of the code makes you look like a slacker.


Eyes Wide Shut. Don’t stay up late the night before. If you’re celebrating the start of your new career chapter – don’t party hardy. Get a solid night’s rest, so you’re not bleary-eyed and exhausted at work.


Borrow Money. It’s really never a good idea to ask to borrow money from a co-worker. It’s even a worse idea to do it on the first day. Don’t have cash for the office vending machine? Short a couple bucks for lunch? Do without or go to the bank at lunch time.


Gum and other Audible Annoyances. Don’t chew gum, whistle, hum, tap your pencil repeatedly, etc.  Be professional and respectful.


Know-it-All. You may have a wealth of knowledge – but don’t try to dazzle your new colleagues with self-imposed importance. Every firm has its own procedures and processes. Be willing to listen and learn. Even if you’ve been hired for a management position, it’s ideal to take some time to acquaint yourself with the firm’s policies as well as the team.


Talk About Your Last Job. Leave your former firm out of your conversations. Praising how your old firm did things can be as bad as bashing your former employer. Discussing procedures is fine in the correct context. For instance, “At my last firm we handled that process this way. How do you do it here?”


Over Share. Everyone wants to be liked and wants to develop a friendly working relationship with co-workers. But, don’t cross the line of over sharing personal information. Conversely, don’t delve too deep into the personal lives of others. Keep things professional at all times.


Text. Regardless of what office rules are regarding personal cell phone use, spending your first day on your cell phone – texting or talking is a bad idea. Need to make a call or send a text – do that at lunch away from the office.


Lose Your Confidence. Starting a new job can be challenging and even a bit intimidating. It will take a little while for you to get the rhythm and flow of the new firm. Don’t let your confidence wither. You got the job because you offered the experience and skills the firm wanted. Remember that. Also remember the reasons why you wanted and accepted the position.


Your career goals led you to where you are now. Stay focused and make the most of the new opportunity you have ahead of you!


SterlingFreeman provides career coaching and recruiting exclusively for Public Accountants. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


Interested in more career nutrition? Check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website.



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