Monday, November 1, 2010

10 Things That Will Keep You From Being Fired Your First Day

I think I've got a bit of a Halloween-candy hangover (who knew you could eat too many Milky Way bars?), so I'm just going to cut to the chase today.

Here are my top 10 suggestions for your first day on a new job:

1. Be 10 minutes early. Give yourself time to stop in the bathroom and make sure you don't have anything funny hanging out of your nose. Comb your hair and pop a Tic-Tac.

2. Have a working pen handy. When the new boss asks you to fill out some forms, don't look like a dweeb when you have to ask someone for a pen -- or the one you have hasn't worked since you were in 7th grade.

3. Be prepared with personal information. If you don't know your Social Security number, have it written down where you can easily get to it. (Of course, then you must eat the paper to avoid identify theft, so pop another Tic-Tac. ) Also have a list of emergency contacts, etc. that human resources is doing to want. They don't want to have to look up your aunt's phone number in the phone book. They have better things to do, like take away some unruly employee's parking space.

4. Wear a watch. It becomes annoying to see you digging in your pocket or purse to find your phone so you can see the time. You're a real employee now, and real employees need to wear watches because....well, just because.

5. Turn off your cell phone. Seriously. No ring tone, "Freebird" anthem or vibration should come from that phone. It's best to let everyone on the first day believe you will never be one of those obnoxious people at work who gabs on a cell phone, talking about dry scalp syndrome with your girlfriend.

6. Have an energy bar with you. Don't leave your desk for more than 30 minutes for lunch the first day unless you're specifically told to get your butt out of the office for an hour lunch. If you're invited to lunch with the work gang, go. I don't care if you only eat dandelion leaves while facing west, go. If you don't like what they eat, you can munch your energy bar later. Or, if you don't get invited out, you can have your energy bar if you can't find someplace to eat. You can't pass out from hunger, because then HR has to fill out a report, and that makes them cranky.

7. Stay off social networking. Don't post an "I'm-so-bored-at-my-new-job" Tweet or rant on Facebook about how your new manager'ss comb-over looks ridiculous. Until you're crystal clear, A-OK, 100% sure it's OK to use social networking at work, don't.

8. Read everything you are given. Don't pass up a training manual because it looks boring, or ignore the online survey because you'd rather, well, do anything else but that. HR gets huffy about stuff like that. They don't like being ignored, and if they get huffy, then they get snotty with your boss. The trickle down snot factor means it lands on you. Not a great way to start a new job.

9. Stay late. Fifteen 15 minutes is good. Thirty minutes is better. Even if all you have to do is line up your pencils or alphabetize the HR forms, do it. Look busy and happy to be there while the other worker bees head for the exit.

10. Go home. And do this all over again tomorrow.

Any other suggestions?


Savvyworkinggal said...

Take notes ~ especially if your new manager suggests you do so. A few years ago, I recommended a new employee take notes while I explained a complicated procedure. She said, “I don’t need to, I’ll remember." Sure enough, the next day I had to show her the procedure again. In the long run she didn’t work out. Now whenever I train a new employee and they don’t have pen and paper in hand I immediately think this isn’t a good sign.

Anita said...

Savvy Working Gal,
So true! Nothing is more irritating to busy bosses than having to repeat instructions because an employee failed to show respect and write down directions.

Peter Osborne said...

Get out from behind your desk -- particularly if you were given an office -- and meet people. Find the bathroom, your boss's office, the copy room, and whatever else is part of a normal day's work.

Natalie Loopbaanadvies said...

This post is really helpful, especially for people who are about to get their first job. It would be nice to make a good impression, especially on one's first day. Another tip that I would like to share would be to know important people in the company. I mean, you would never know that the person you bumped into on your way to the office might be your boss.