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Day One on the Job

Congrats, you just landed a new job! Now what?

It can be intimidating walking into a new work environment. Even if you have great experience, every new situation can be nerve-wracking. So what should you expect and how should you approach it?

What to Expect

Most companies have some notion of an “onboarding” program, ranging from intensive, classroom-esque training to low-key peer shadowing. Their goal, and hope, is to get you up and running at your job as quickly as possible. However, unless they have staff specifically focused on this work, it might not be as organized as you (or they) would like.

Expect to be eased into the role. No one thinks you’re going to be a rockstar day one. Use that runway to set yourself up for success.

5 ways to Stand Out

1. Take Initiative

While you don’t need to know how to do your job day one, you can’t afford to sit around and wait for every instruction.

2. Pay Attention

The employee manual isn’t going to tell you everything you need to know. Pick your head up and observe those around you. You can learn a lot by watching your peers and taking cues from how they approach their work.

3. Be Flexible

Despite everyone’s best efforts, things don’t always go to plan, including your onboarding program. Be open-minded when things change at the last minute. Understand that oftentimes mentoring new hires is in addition to other work. Staying cool, calm, and collected will show your new employer that you have what it takes to navigate challenges.

4. Communicate

I once had an employee leave on their first day without even saying goodbye. I looked up and she was just...gone. As you’re learning the office culture, I recommend over-communicating instead of under-communicating. It won’t come off as annoying your first day if you speak up. You can always dial it back once you get your bearings.

Talk Bubble
Not sure what to do? Ask! Your first day is a free pass.

5. Make Connections

Building a network is critical to success. Use your first day to meet your officemates, as these will be your best resources moving forward. Create patterns of socializing that can benefit you in the future, such as saying hello to people you pass in the hallway. This isn’t just a way to get help when you need it, positive work relationships can have a big impact on your overall career happiness.


Getting the job is only the beginning. Take advantage of your first day to set yourself up for success and happiness moving forward.


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