No one wants to be the one employee in the office who makes that terribly awkward mistake. We have seen it time and time again in romantic comedies where the disgruntled new employee stumbles in and commits all of the unspeakable faux pas in the business world. While it may be entertaining in cinema, it is far less amusing when you are the one committing the blunders.
The first, most obvious slip-up is being late. Showing up late just shows a company that you don’t care about the job and/or are ill prepared. No one enjoys walking into the office 30 minutes late with sweat beads forming on their upper lip because they had to sprint two blocks just to make it to work. This is from personal experience, people. Just don’t do it. Be prepared. Know where you’re going, when you’re expected to be there and how long it takes to get there. I know this seems like common sense, but you would be appalled at how common this error is.
Another common mistake people make on their first day is not wearing appropriate clothing for the occasion. This could mean that you are rocking stilettos and a New York & Company blazer while your colleagues are in jeans and graphic tees. Although this does seem awkward, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. You definitely don’t want to be on the other end of the spectrum where all of your fellow employees are wearing killer jumpsuits and you stroll in sporting an outfit that could very well pass as pajamas. It is a good idea to ask around or observe the office culture beforehand to identify the type of clothing that everyone is wearing. It is extremely difficult to nail your work performance on the first day if you aren’t comfortable in what you are wearing. In the end, your confidence and comfort are what matters the most.
One of the most awkward mistakes you can make on the first day at work is not having a deep understanding of the company and office culture. This is important because a company’s culture sets the tone for how formal or casual an office is. This culture can be different depending on what company you work for. Having an understanding of the company’s culture can help you determine how strict the management is about the issues mentioned above. It can also help determine how you should interact with your colleagues. For example, you wouldn’t want to refer to your boss as Bob when everyone else calls him Mr. Smith. Understanding and immersing yourself in this culture can help you enjoy your job more and can also help you perform better.
Just like in your social life, sometimes in the office technology can decrease personal interactions. Take the time to get to know your coworkers by talking to them in person. I know, this is a foreign concept to many, but it will make your job more enjoyable when you start forming friendships with the people you will probably spend a great deal of time with. You want to avoid being known as the typical millennial, so put that phone and laptop down for a second and go talk to your colleagues. This technique could also help you understand the dynamics and culture of the office better.
Notice how a lot of these mistakes are intertwined within one another. If you understand the culture of the office, you will understand the dress code. If you understand how strict the dress code is, then you will get a sense of how the atmosphere and general vibe is going to be in the workspace. All of these mistakes can be fixed by taking the time to practice what you should and should not do at work. This is a skill; it can be improved upon with effort and time.
I hope these tips help when it comes to your first day at a new job. There is a lot of room for mistakes during this transition period, but there is also room for beautiful growth and learning as well.