Next week I’m starting a new job. The first day at a new job feels like the first day of school to me. I have many of the same questions.
- When am I supposed to be there?
- Will someone sit with me at lunch?
- Will I spill something on my shirt?
- Where is the bathroom?
A key to surviving my first day is to allow myself to not know everything. I will need to ask and that is okay! It is expected! I am new.
You may feel weird asking where simple things are, that is okay, you are new. I use the following template when asking questions.
- “Hi! I’m Jenn, and I’m new. Do you know where the extra office supplies are?”
- “Hi! I’m new. Can you tell me where the bathroom is?”
This format is the same as the one Inigo Montoya uses in the Princess Bride.
I use five simple rules to help guide me when networking at work. These help me feel more effective and less like I am a cog.
- When possible, eat lunch in the lunchroom or with coworkers. This way you can get to know your coworkers and maybe find some great recipes or restaurants.
- Befriend the office administrator and the janitorial staff. They know where the good supplies are and can help get you get boxes. Learn their names and thank them often.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbor at large meetings. Don’t just network with your own team or office. Try to learn one new person’s name a quarter.
- Decorate your desk. A picture, plant, or figurine can tell others about your interests. This is like your desk is wearing a conversation piece.
- Have a bowl of candy or small toys. This is an easy way to get people to come to your desk. People like candy and little trinkets. Being that I have food allergies, I have a bowl of erasers, stickers, and small plastic frogs for people to grab from.
In addition to these, I also use the tips from my conference guide.
Over the years, I have had several different careers and I have used these tips in all of them. They have helped me in factory, office, and laboratory settings.
Remember to be kind to yourself when starting a new position, no one knows everything on the first day.