On the first day of your new job, you may be excited and a little nervous, and you’ll want to make a positive impression with your new co-workers. After all, these are the people you’ll be working with, talking with, bonding with and sitting next to for years to come. Your success and happiness on the job will largely depend on these relationships, and a mutual feeling of respect and interest can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a terrible one. So, what can you do on day one to start things off on the right foot? Try these moves.

Relax and be flexible.

Maybe you’re not a flexible person, and maybe you’ve never “relaxed” even once in your life. Shouldn’t you just be yourself right away, so your co-workers can get to know the real you? Nope. Be yourself on the second day. On the first day, quell your urge to react, stiffen up or jump to conclusions. Trust that nothing is quite what it seems and recognize that many projects and conversations are happening around you that you can’t possibly understand. Listen before you speak. Let others take the floor during meetings. If things don’t go as planned, don’t worry. If people treat you rudely, don’t hold grudges or push back. Just take in the scene and give everyone—and everything—the benefit of the doubt.

Remember names.

Most new employees allow a tide of names and faces to wash over them on the first day, and for every 20 names, they remember two or three at the most. Save yourself some trouble and put all your effort into memorizing names on the first day. If it helps, repeat each person’s name back to them as they introduce themselves.

Solve problems now.

Your desk chair has one wobbly wheel, but you don’t want to make trouble for anyone by mentioning it. Your boss keeps calling you “Sally,” which is not your name, but you’re embarrassed to correct her. Your HR pro keeps referring to “your handbook” but you don’t remember receiving or reading any handbook. Your trainer assumes you’re familiar with the company scheduling platform, but you’ve never used this platform before. Speak up and stop these trains now, before they leave the station. The longer you let these tiny things go, the bigger and more awkward they become.

Don’t eat lunch alone.

Maybe you’re a solitary soul and you have no problem eating lunch alone. That’s fine, but don’t start this habit during your first week. Each day reach out and find someone to eat with if others don’t come to you. If your boss or co-workers do invite you to lunch, by all means, accept.

On your first day, stay alert and friendly, and take notes so you can remember what you see, hear and learn. For more on how to get the most (and give the most!) during your tenure with this company, contact the career management pros at Extension.


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