First day at work mistakes
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New job? Avoid these 5 mistakes on your first day

14 Feb 2017

How many first days have you had? Do they still make you nervous? If you just got a new job, here are a few mistakes you need to avoid.

First days are always a nerve-racking experience. From your first day of school, all the way up to your first day of work and the many more that follow, it will never stop being exciting and scary.

Even if you’re a dab hand at introductions, every new job and company is different and it can be a lot to take in.

To help ensure your first day at work goes off without a hitch, take heed of these common mistakes and make sure you avoid them.

Being a know-it-all

You were hired for your knowledge, experience and skill. That doesn’t mean you have to desperately show it off on your first day.

No matter how much you think you know, you should take care to listen to how the company works.

Interrupting your manager as they explain something to you is a definite no-no.

Bringing lunch from home

The team at your new job might offer to bring you out to lunch on your first day, and you don’t want to seem antisocial or pass up an opportunity to be welcomed into the group.

Even if lunch with the team isn’t on the cards, it’s a good idea to get out of the office on your first day and get your bearings in your new surroundings.

Not asking questions

On your first day, you can feel an overwhelming need to be good at your job straight away.

One of the most important things you can do on your first day is listen intently and pay attention to everything you’re told. There will no doubt be a lot to take in, so don’t be shy about making notes.

However, once you’ve been shown to your desk and are left to do your first tasks, don’t make the mistake of not asking questions for fear of seeming stupid.

Your new boss won’t thank you for sitting there confused or making a mistake simply because you were too afraid to ask.

Being too eager

Don’t jump the gun in an attempt to make your mark straight away.

It’s your first day, so act like it. It’s okay to not be the same as the rest of your team. Even if you’re at the same level in terms of experience, take the first day to take it easy, observe your surroundings and familiarise yourself with your responsibilities.

If you jump in too soon, you are more likely to make an unnecessary mistake. You’ll have plenty of time to be busy with work and make your mark.

Not observing company culture

You might have noticed we’ve advised you to observe and take in your surroundings a few times, and that’s because it’s one of the most important things you can do on your first day.

Do your new colleagues play music while they work? Do they use their laptops during meetings?

Don’t make yourself too comfortable, especially on your first day. Observe your colleagues and their behaviour before downloading Spotify.

Every workplace is different, which means different rules for every one.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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