The Do's And Don'ts Of Smashing Your First Day At Work

Get them to the pub, immediately

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Starting a new job is always an anxious affair. However nice and welcoming your new workmates are, you'll inevitably depart your first day feeling like a mumbling, fumbling, out-of-your-depth weirdo.

But follow these tips, and we can ensure that your cringe-ridden experience will feel a little less life-ruining...

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1 | Do: Bring in shareable food

An office is a bit like a cow, in that it contains loads of stomachs and is easily pleased. To that end, a box of cookies will ingratiate you with even the most hardened workplace grump.

Avoid making them from scratch at home, however: there is most likely an ordained baker in the office, and they will take it as a declaration of war. 

Don't: Bring in stinky food

The probationary period on your contract is specifically designed to root out the sick bastards who think that a microwavable prawn dish is suitable lunchtime fair.

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2 | Do: Bring all the necessities

Or at the very least, bring a good pen. Never assume that your new company is going to stock all of the stuff you need – because when it comes to stationery, offices are lawless playgrounds of pen-stealing subterfuge. Get your own supplies and protect them with your life, soldier.

Don't: Bring your school pencil case

The kids laughed at your Walkers Salt & Vinegar pencil case back at school, so what makes you think adults will be any kinder? 

3 | Do: Write stuff down

There'll be an overwhelming flurry of new information, and you'll be tempted to just nod along and mumble acknowledgement every few seconds. Do not do this. You'll duly forget everything and feel completely flummoxed as a result.

Instead, ask your new co-worker to slow down as you transcribe every useful instruction into your notebook. They'd rather use their valuable time teaching you the specifics than cleaning up your mistakes.

Don't: Repeat what they say into a dictaphone

You'll look like an undercover agent or, even worse, an Alan Partridge-esque ideas man.

4 | Do: Learn people's names

It's well documented that remembering and repeating a co-worker's name will help you stand out and make a good impression. But the thing is, most people have boring names that aren't worth the valuable brain space.

In these cases, it's useful to spell their name out in your head whilst in conversation – this creates a mental picture, which can prove more lasting for those with a visual memory.

Don't: Use their abusive nicknames

The rest of the office might abuse each other with devastatingly personal nicknames on a daily basis, but you haven't earned that right just yet. 

Don't worry: before long you'll be welcomed into the fraternity with an equally upsetting alias, which you can celebrate with an hour of victorious crying in the toilets.

5 | Do: Ask questions

When it comes to incompetence, actions speak louder than words. Sure, you don't want to appear ignorant, idiotic or irritating, but that's generally not the case.

Employers expect you to ask questions, and alarm bells are raised if you don't. You owe it to yourself to fully understand the system and what's expected of you.

Don't: Ask personal questions

In an attempt to scout out your future co-workers through social media, you've accidentally revised every single minutia of their private lives from 2007 onwards. Try not to panic.

Just don't mention any of their old holidays or ex-partners, and practice a convincing surprised face in the bathroom mirror. 

Do: Go to the pub with them

You won't feel truly settled with your team until you sit down for a few pints together - and the sooner the better.

Buy the first round and engage people in conversation, but always keep mind of your booze limit. There's a very fine line between letting your hair down and letting yourself down, and it's usually the point where you start screaming Champagne Supernova into your new manager's ear canal.

Don't: Start drinking at your desk

"Desk beers, anyone?!" You ask, reaching to grab a sweaty Tennant's from your ruck-sack. "Monday fun-day!" you holler as the office clock strikes 11am. "I don't respond well to change!" you scream as your contract enters the shredder.  

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