First day of work jitters start on the commute to the office. Did I get on the right train? What if I slip on an ice cube and spill my boss’ coffee in front of my coworkers? How can I be myself and make a good impression at the same time? Did my voice sound too high pitched when I introduced myself? Calm down the butterflies swarming your stomach; you will get through your first day of full-adult mode.
You know that clueless kid in calculus who zones out before the teacher asks him a question? You don’t want to be that kid, especially on day one of your job. Listen closely to instructions from your supervisor and pay special attention to co-workers when they introduce themselves—you’ll have to use their names at some point. “You don’t really realize how much you will listen on your first day at work,”said Assistant Director of Experiential Learning at Florida State University Lauren Kume. “You are getting acclimated to everything so you want to make sure you are paying attention.” When I mixed up my managers’ names while working, it was just as embarrassing for them to correct me as it was for me to address Carla as Carrie.
Don’t Pretend You Know Everything
Don’t pretend to be the master of Photoshop when you only know how to put a sloth’s head on a human’s body. “The quickest way to learn on the job is to be honest about what you know and what you don’t know – do not try to fake more knowledge than you have,” said Sonja Mindrebo, Boston’s 360 Public Relations Senior Digital Media Manager. Asking questions saves embarrassment down the road and shows that you take initiative to learn the ins and outs of your position. “I expect questions [from new employees] because it shows you are excited and interested in this new role,” said Tanya Castin, Florida State University alumnus and Uncommon Goods Merchandising Assistant.
Don’t Get Lost in The Background
Don’t let your nerves hide your awesome qualities. I’m not saying to act like an insatiable “little dog with a chew toy,” but maybe channel a lesser Leslie Knope. “Anyone who is actively participating in the conversation and bringing something to the table—that’s impressive,” Kume said. During your afternoon meeting at the advertising agency, don’t sit quietly and listen to your coworkers throw around billboard slogans for a product. Offer your catchphrase that’s as original as “Break me off piece of that Kit-Kat bar;” your boss needs to hear it. Your boss will admire your early contributions to the game and even better, you’ll overcome your “newbie” status and gain your coworkers’ respect. “The first day on the job is the day to introduce yourself to everyone and make yourself known. Be personable, pleasant, present and don’t fade in the background,” Castin said.
Find the Michael Scott to Your Dwight Schrute
Whether you’re an Assistant Regional Manager or Assistant TO the Regional Manager, search for someone in the office to show you the ropes. “[F]ind a mentor within your new position and use that person from an advice standpoint,” Kume said. Remember, your mentor doesn’t have to be your boss. Seek out someone in your office you find helpful and ask them for advice. Their experiences and insight will help you achieve your sales goal, accomplish your dreams of becoming the next Regional Manager or help you realize career goals you never thought were in reach.
Tell Your Boss What You Want
As a college student, your friends’ parents probably annoy you, asking about your ambitions and goals all the time. You may aspire to become a CEO, open up your own business or just get a paycheck (I’m talking to you, interns). When your boss asks you about your future, make sure you share your goals. “[B]e honest about what you want. Often times, people new to the workforce will be shy to say what they want, because they haven’t yet built up confidence in their skillset,” Mindrebo said. “I guarantee you that your manager wants to know what you want right from the start to help guide you down that path and make sure you’re happy.” Once your boss understands your goals, they might be able to get you there faster, and may even think of you first for a higher position. “You need to know how to articulate your goals to your supervisor because they’re the ones that can help get you there,” Kume said.
Channel Your Inner Buddy
No one enjoys waking up at 6 a.m. to go to work, so put away your resting b***h face when you arrive at the office. If Buddy can smile all the way through the foreign business land of New York City, then you can say good morning to the secretary before sitting at your desk. “Look like you are happy to be there,” Kume said. “I remember [a new employee that impressed me] coming in and immediately remembering people’s names and just smiling and being really happy to be there.” If you’re given the opportunity to work with an unpleasant or miserable co-worker (the cotton headed ninny muggins of the office), don’t let their disposition rub off on you. Your smile and pleasantries will radiate and inspire everyone to sing Christmas carols.