Patterns for Success – First Day on the Job3 min read

You’ve got the job. Congratulations! 

Your first day of work will be stressful, if only because there are so many new things to experience, people to meet, and finding your way around the office. You may be inundated by new co-workers coming to welcome you, shaking your hand, and striking up conversation. It’s important here to make a good first impression. I know this social pressure can be overwhelming, but as best as you can, try to remember to smile, to make eye contact, and to repeat a person’s name when they introduce themselves.

If you need a few moments of solitude to collect yourself after this, often a restroom stall can provide the needed solitude. After you’ve found your way around an office, you can usually find other quiet places to retreat from social pressures.

You probably won’t be expected to get any real work done on your first day. This is your chance to get familiar with your working environment. This is your time of orientation, and it’s more about just learning where basic stuff is, how to use the computer they are going to issue you, where the bathrooms and break room are, and so on. You are going to meet many new people, and it’s okay if you don’t remember their names on the first go.

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There will be lots of little tasks for you to do, but not right away. You’ll have paperwork to fill out for your payroll, and for your health benefits. It’s useful to carry a notepad and pen around with you, especially on these first days, and make note of all of these small items so they are not forgotten. And then simply cross them off as you go. This will all pass once you are settled in and begin your daily routine.

Take some time when you get a break in the action to walk around and get some familiarity with the building. You’ll want to make note of possible places to have some privacy if you need to be alone for a little while.

But what to do about the kind of low-grade stimming that can happen throughout the day for many of us? A good trick to try out is to keep some headphones on your desk, the kind that go over your ears. Not only will they help to cut down on the aural chaos around you, but your co-workers will just think you’re really into your music while you’re stimming and have no idea what’s going on. You don’t even need to have any music playing; the sight of the headphones is enough to plant the suggestion.

It’s pretty typical for someone from your team to want to take you out for lunch on your first day. Sometimes it will be the whole team, or maybe just your new boss. This is nothing more than a chance for them to get to know you and welcome you to the team. You’ve already got the job, so relax and try to enjoy it.

The first day is the craziest. 

Gradually, you’ll find your place in the team, and start to get a sense of routine. There will be a regular cadence of meetings, time where you can get work done, and times when the people around you are chatty and more easily distracted. If they come to talk to you, remember, they aren’t trying to keep you from your work; sometimes they will just prefer the human connection that comes with a face-to-face conversation that you can’t get from email. Congratulations, and may success be yours!