May 19, 2017
How to get through the first day/week on the job
First days are a nerve filled occasion with excitement and apprehension in equal measure. Ben gives his top tips on surviving your first day in a new role.
So you've received a fantastic offer at a charity you've
always wanted to work for. The role looks great and matches your skills
perfectly and your new manager and work colleagues seemed friendly and
personable in your interviews. You've been counting down your notice period and
are looking forward to the first day; you've even circled the Monday morning
with a red pen in your excitement.
There does remain a couple of niggling doubts in your
mind - going into unknown territory where you're the new person can feel a
little daunting but it doesn't need to be. The key is to learn the tricks,
relax and you'll breeze through that first day on the job.
After accepting your new job you should invest time in
further understanding the charity. Use your notice period to read up on news
items and campaigns the charity is working on. Ask your new line manager if
there is any preparation you can do before starting.
Immerse yourself in work they currently do; this will
allow you to hit the ground running on your first day. You can also ask what
the dress code is so that you blend in with the team from the first day - there
is nothing worse than turning up in a suit when everyone else is in jeans!
What am I doing
On the first morning it's
perfectly natural to find yourself questioning whether you're in the right
place. You're likely to feel a little lost. Try to familiarise yourself with
your surroundings, take a little time to investigate the route from your desk
to the kitchen, bathroom or even the photocopier. Don't be afraid to ask what
time lunch is (usually nearer 12pm!). On the first day you're usually expected
to bring in various documents such as passport and bank details so don't forget
Be confident and remember to smile!
Confidence is an important quality for
career success. You'll be meeting lots of people in your first couple days at
the charity so when you are shown around by your new manager, hold out your
hand to your new colleagues, smile and introduce yourself. They'll see you as
someone dedicated to making the company better.
Sit with your new manager and discuss a
plan of action for the first couple of weeks; discuss with them what they would
like you to achieve in the first couple of weeks and begin working towards
Listen as well as talk
Listening and sitting with colleagues lets you learn as
much as possible in the first couple of days; I'm a big advocate of watching
those who are successful and adapting how they work to suit your own method and
style. Always feel free to ask your colleagues for help, you'll find that more
often than not they will help you out.
Make a point of speaking up in your
first team meeting; you'll break down an invisible barrier while you watch the
nodding heads around the room! Consider taking notes on the various rules and
processes of the charity.
Be proactive; it's likely that you'll be given a couple of
straightforward tasks to get you settled in, after you've completed these don't
just sit there, go to your manager and inform them that you're ready for the
No one expects you to have everyone's name in the charity
memorised by the end of the first day or week but it's a good idea to learn the
names of every member of your team. Some charities allocate a "buddy" to help
you out in the first couple of days; they can give you tips and how to navigate
your way through the charity's procedures along with any office politics. Also
find out if the team likes to socialise or if there are any company activities,
go along to these, it will help you fit in.
At the end of the day
So you got through your first day unscathed,
have met your new colleagues, introduced yourself and familiarised yourself
with the workings of the office. It is a good idea to let your boss know that you are
about to leave in case there was anything they wanted to tell you. Don't forget
to say goodbye to your new colleagues at the end of the day.