9 Of The Dumbest Mistakes You Can Make During Your First Day On The Job
Your first day of work is always a challenge, mostly because there’s always a chance that you’re going to completely alienate someone or become the office joke following a freak stapler incident that somehow ends with you in the emergency room. But there are plenty of simpler things to look out for too, and since we don’t want you to end up eating lunch alone like that kid in the eighth grade who smelled like old cheese and sadness, we thought we’d help you with this guide to nine of the worst mistakes you can make your first day on the job. We’re just cool like that, I guess.
Act Like it’s Temporary
Sure, in the back of your mind, you probably have plans for the future that don’t involve bagging groceries, washing dishes or making dick jokes on the Internet, but don’t ever go into a job with one foot out the door. People can tell. If it’s not from your detachment, it’s from the half-assed job you do. You become that dude who acts like he’s too good for everyone else, and nobody likes that dude. Don’t be that dude. Work hard, have fun, and don’t assume anything about the future. And who knows? You may end up loving what you do. Dick jokes are pretty awesome, after all.
Be Too Passive
It’s your first day, which means you know somewhere between jack and shit, but that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and let everyone else do all the work because you’re too afraid of fucking up. It just makes you look lazy, and the longer you sit on the sidelines letting everyone else do all the work, the longer it will take for you to actually figure things out. You just don’t want to be the dude who can’t figure out how to work the coffee maker for an entire year while everyone around you secretly suspects that you have the IQ of a goat with a plastic bag wrapped around its head. That’s all I’m saying.
Try to Do Too Much
But like I said, it’s your first day, which means you know somewhere between jack and shit. That means that it’s okay to take a tiny step back and get a sense of the flow. It’s all about balance. You don’t want to become a timid mouse, afraid to touch anything, but you also don’t want to be the rampaging gorilla who shows up like King Kong and just starts wrecking everyone’s shit on the first day. That won’t win you a lot of friends, and will just make you look like a reckless jerk. No one will trust you, and from a professional standpoint, that’s much worse than being disliked.
Insist You Know Better
Don’t be this asshole. “Well, at my last job, we did it this way…” No one wants to hear that shit, man. No one cares. This isn’t your last job. You don’t know better. Everyone – every office, every job site, every website, whatever – has their own way of doing things, and a big part of your job is finding a way to fit in, to go with the flow and then add in your own distinctive strengths along the way. That way, the whole is strengthened seamlessly. You don’t do anyone any good by trying to smash shit to pieces on day one just so you can try to rebuild them all in your image. Find your way. Find your place. Don’t insist that you already know, you egomaniac.
Try Too Hard to Fit In
Again, it’s all about balance. You don’t want to run in and bust shit up, but you don’t want to just fold in meekly either. You want to make it clear that you bring something to the table that no one else can bring. Otherwise, you’re just a replaceable drone and who cares?
Besides, nobody likes that dude who just shows up on day one and acts like he’s part of the gang already. That shit has to be earned. Be friendly, but don’t act like you’re everybody’s best friend already. That’s just weird, and people will treat you like you’re Michael Scott and nobody needs that.
Suck Up to the Boss
This might seem like a good career move, but it’s a horrible idea. Not only do you alienate all your coworkers, your boss won’t respect you for it. He’ll see right through you and realize immediately that you’re little more than a spineless toady. You don’t want people to think you’re Michael Scott, but you really, really don’t want people to think you’re Dwight Schrute. I suggest walking up to your boss and challenging him to a test of manhood like in Braveheart. It’s the only way.
Don’t Talk to Anyone
I know it’s hard, especially if you’re introverted and don’t know anyone, but you can’t just pass the day in silence. Like I said earlier, you don’t want to pretend to be everyone’s best friend, but if you just sit and stare all day long, at best people will think you’re a cold, arrogant jackass who thinks he’s better than everyone else. At worst, they’ll think you’re a serial killer. I know it’s not fair. You’re a great guy once everyone gets to know you, blah, blah, blah, but this is just the way the real world works. Smile, be friendly. It might feel a little awkward at times since you don’t know anybody yet, but not as awkward as trying to prove to everyone that you don’t have the bodies of six hookers stuffed in your crawlspace after your silence causes the gossip train to start rolling down the tracks.
Show Up Late/Leave Early
This one should be common sense. Should be. But sadly, there are plenty of people who think since it’s their first day, they can show up a little late and cut out a little early like it’s the first day of school after summer break. This will not go well for you. First impressions and their importance is a monstrous cliché, but it’s a monstrous cliché for a reason. That first day is what everyone around you will judge you by, and how do you think it looks if you’re just half-assing it and busting out of the office a half-hour early? Not good, man. Not good at all. In your coworkers minds – and worse, your boss’ – you’ll immediately be on the same level as that dude who gets high on his lunch hour and then spends all afternoon napping and watching cat videos on YouTube.
Not Respect Boundaries
Nobody is going to like that dude who shows up on the first day and starts handing out shoulder rubs. Even if you don’t mean any harm, you’re going to make people massively uncomfortable and your next meeting will probably be with someone from HR. But even if you keep your hands to yourself, you also need to be careful about asking overly personal questions, or grabbing that sandwich out of the mini-fridge in the break room, or… look, basically it comes down to this – don’t assume anything. Don’t assume that people are cool with you just because you think you’re a good dude, don’t assume that because you have good motives that your actions are okay, and don’t assume that your hot coworker will be flattered when you try to run game. Just jerk off in your car with a pair of her stolen panties like a normal human being. God, this isn’t hard.
Sleeping at work image by Shutterstock