How to Survive Your First Week at Work

You’ve gone through the job hunt; negotiated your salary; went through the final interview and voila! You’ve just signed the contract. Welcome aboard!

How do you go through the first few days in the office? Follow these simple tips to get you started.


Attend the on-boarding training. Even if you’re a veteran employee, it wouldn’t hurt to attend the on-boarding training. Through this, you can learn about the organizational culture, the dos and don’ts of the company as well as the various requirements of your job. The on-boarding training allows you to get an overview of the company you’ve just signed up for. Along the way, you may come to understand if you’ve made a mistake in signing up with them or not.

Dress code. Observe your managers and your colleagues at work. Take a look at the way they dress. While you might not want to lose your individuality, particularly your sense of fashion, it would also be good to fit in, at least in terms of the dress code. If you’re in a corporate setting where people are used to do some power dressing, you may want to have your own version of that. Going to work in Ronald McDonald’s getup is definitely a no-no.

Although dressing down has become the norm in corporate settings, you may want to be the “rebel” by powerdressing. Dress down or dress up, what matters is that you look professional and respectable.

Rules and procedures. Take a look at your employee manual and at your job description. Learn the rules by heart. As well as the activities that are not permitted in the workplace. Better be safe and within the bounds of the rules of the company/

Chat with officemates. Small talk. Don’t be too focused on your work. Take breaks when needed. Chat with officemates. Have some small talk with them. Be careful though, lest you take away precious time that they might want to use for work. This is also one way for you to familiarize yourself with the people that you will be working with.

Familiarize yourself with the building. In cases of emergencies, be sure where to go. It might be neglected by a lot of people but be sure to learn where key places are. You should know where the office of your boss is. Where the photocopier and scanner are, and where you might need to go in case of fire, earthquake and other emergencies.

Expectation check. Set your goals and your expectations for yourself and for the people who you will be working with. This will also help you manage disappointments in the workplace. Through the next few months, you will come to understand the work habits of the people around you.

Get to know the boss. It does not hurt to get to know the boss—his or her quirks, pet peeves and working habits. If you do, you will learn how to please the boss and complement his/her working style, demands and expectations.

Make the most out of your first few days in the office. They may define how you will fare in the first years of your stay in that company.

If you’ve just started a new work, how did you survive? Share your experience in the comments.


Image credit: elainevdw via Flickr

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