I started working at Lumico in Stellenbosch a mere five months ago, and I didn’t give much thought to how I should and should not behave. Luckily, one of my friends from university works at Lumico and I started that first day saying to myself: “What would Care do?” and then do just that. But as the first week evolved, I realised that there is some kind of guide to follow when starting a new job. Here is how I survived the first week of my notso-new job:
When it comes to your behaviour at a new job, you have to be 100% yourself because no one knows you, and you want them to get to know you as quickly as possible. Don’t be too shy, standing alone in your own corner. You have to get out of your own box, because no one is going to do it for you, so you’ll have to do it yourself. I’m very content with who I am, but I’ve learned that to wear your heart on your sleeve during the first week isn’t the best idea, and stories about your personal life aren’t the best conversation starters.
Dress for success!
The one thing that kept me awake the night before was deciding what to wear. You want to make a statement, but you also want to be professional AF. Simplicity is key on the first day at your new job. The best part of the first week is that you can see what the whole vibe of the office is and the dress according to that. As the week progressed, I incorporated more unique clothing items to my outfits. For me it’s important to give a bit of your personality through your clothing, but you have to remember that you want to form part of the look and feel of the company, because you don’t want to be the girl with the Guns & Roses T-shirt in a very formal corporate company (Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. LITERALLY.)
My first day I wore a really cool blazer paired with black jeans and black shoes, and what a conversation starter that retro blazer was!
I get by with a little help from my friends
When your colleagues asks if you want to grab a beer after work, GO FOR IT! For me, grabbing a beer at the local pub is the best way to make new friends. Your colleagues are going to invite you just the once, and if you decline, that offer won’t come to the table any time soon. Maybe, just maybe, after that one beer, you can call them friends instead of colleagues.
Breaks are good, but in your first week, when you take a break use it as a opportunity to get more comfortable with your surroundings, let someone show you how the coffee machine works or tell you where to park your car. Use your breaks to your advantage so that you can be less awkward in the office space.
Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living.
Always be at work a bit earlier, but not too early because then you will end up sitting in front of the office door for a hour and no one wants to be that hobo just waiting for better days. Ten minutes before your work day starts is early enough.
I believe that you go home when your work is done. In your first week the workload is not so much that you’ll have to pull an all nighter, but finish your tasks for the day before you leave.
I’m not very keen on the idea of anyone throwing their opinions around in the first week, but you were hired for a reason so you’ll have to give your opinion at one stage or another. In the first week give your opinion when someone asks for it, otherwise just keep that trap zipped for a while until your colleagues trust you more. No one invites the Know-It-All for a beer after work.
How was your first week at your new job? Share your stories in the comments below!