The long awaited but dreaded first day and for coming weeks
This Is It! Brings you the 9 step guide to preparing for your first week at work.
Pre-Preparation: If you tend to be tardy, set yourself the goal of waking up an hour earlier than you usually do for a week. If you’re an afternoon sleeper, I’m talking about those of you who sleep the day away (your youth away), set yourself the goal of waking up at 7:30 every morning: it will hurt you to the core of your stomach and break your spirit, but the rewards are great.
1. Map out your route
Make sure you map out at least two time effective routes to work, and keep an eye out for road works and spots on your journey prone to traffic. Great apps such as city mapper and bus times for live bus arrivals are useful travel aids. For those who aren’t so technologically advanced, a quick look at Google maps and a jot down of landmarks (Mc Donald’s) along your journey from point A to B should do the job.
2. Working to deadlines
Coming to terms with juggling your work load can be a daunting experience. There will be times when you have to drop one project in favour of another so the skill of prioritising tasks is a coveted one. The term ‘Time Management’ sounds rigid and regimental but it doesn’t have to be, to do lists are a must for an organised schedule and workflow. If not for the sheer byproduct of productivity, the to do list is the key to keeping sane through hectic days.
Purchase two notebooks (your employer will probably provide you with one, in that case smashing- that should save you a whopping £2, you can grab a snack with that or if you’re feeling fancy a bottle of Voss water in celebration of organisation) use one for idea generation and notes, and the other strictly for scribbling down daily tasks. Nothing feels better than crossing off completed tasks, you’ll feel a rush of accomplishment.
3. Mind over matter
The months of unemployment have taken its toll on your confidence, not to worry! You aren’t alone in this way of thinking, but we’re here to tell you, your mind is tricking you. You can be your own worst enemy at times; you take everything on board making a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t let your new job become one of those issues, it’s a time of learning and progression, you might not be working to a pace you would prefer. You may have a lack of confidence when taking calls or have a hard time understanding directions as clearly as you feel has been asked of you. Hum and huhs echoing through the office are most likely not directed at you, you’re probably not as terrible as you believe. Believe us! If your work ethic isn’t up to scratch you’ll know about it. Take those mental notes of self –analysis and formulate a strategy to improve upon the skills you feel aren’t your strong suits. Don’t fear asking questions, be transparent with your areas for development- they aren’t weaknesses. If you feel like you can’t complete something on time or you’ve made a mistake that could be detrimental to a project if not addressed, speak up! It’s better to sort things out in the early stages than wait for the problem to build up; you’ll receive a harsher reprimand for not being open and honest about the situation.
A lot of self-doubt comes from lack of affirmation. It may come as a shock, especially for uni leavers, or first time job seekers to not receive commendation for every project completed. The desire for approval has been ingrained from an early age, the institution of education is built on it, but you’ve reached the real world now. View the silence instead as an unspoken seal of approval.
“To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives” Denis Waitley
4. Office culture
Those of us who have had terrible times in former employment carry baggage with us. Be it a boss or line manager that rivals a character from ‘Horrible Bosses’ to an environment not compatible with our personality. The effects of these experiences can linger on with us into our new employment. You must recognise and remind yourself that your new employment is a fresh start, a new working culture with new employees. You can take this chance to reinvent yourself, become the person you didn’t have the confidence to be in your previous job. This doesn’t mean losing yourself or becoming a carbon copy of fellow employees, it just means being the best you can be.
5. Training offered
Many companies offer training opportunities for their staff. If you didn’t ask at interview, take the opportunity to ask in your first week. Jot down a list of things you would find beneficial to learn i.e. coding, marketing etc. You’ll be surprised by what’s on offer a larger company means a larger training budget, so don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
‘The early bird catches the worm.’ It’s a saying we all know so well but tend not to adhere to. We’ve all been there: woke up on time, dare I say 20 minutes early, and you still end up reaching work late. The key culprits tend to be taking a long luxurious shower reminiscent of an herbal essence ad, and lack of preparation the night before. Yes! You’ve over stretched your eating out budget for the week because your laziness got the better and you didn’t do that oh so simple task of preparing lunch for the following morning. Let’s not get started on your wardrobe selection. Those 90’s babies familiar with Cher from clueless will remember her highly envied virtual wardrobe, but let’s be honest only the 1% can afford such a lavish gadget. Unfortunately us poor mortals have to suffice with laying out our clothes the night before. Iron your shirts, pack your bag, charge your phone and for the love of god make sure you have clean pants for the morning- if you have to hand wash the night before, get scrubbing!
7. Activate your brain
Have breakfast! These are the words you’ve heard yelled at you a myriad of times by your parents-they weren’t wrong in their demands. We all get that mid afternoon sluggish feeling, our concentration seems to diminish, and without breakfast our minds often come to a halt. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it’s the fuel you need to rev your engine. Without it, your body is running on empty, the energy and nutrients received through breakfast activate your mind and body for a prosperous day.
8. Getting to know your team
You want to be chummy with everyone especially the support staff as they know how the office runs. Don’t be a snooty pants with the false illusion that your role is more important than anyone else’s. Everyone plays a part in the formation and running of a company. Remember from the Receptionist to the IT team, the support staff are the cogs in the gear; they keep the company running smoothly.
Become best friends with the IT staff in particular. When repressing the start button for 10 minutes and continuously pressing ctrl+ alt+ delete doesn’t solve your computer troubles, the IT team will be the knight in shining armour you prayed for.
9. Traveling lunch
Take a step away from your work environment for lunch, particularly if you work at a desk. Doing so will not only improve your health but the change in scenery will do wonders for your mood. It’s called a break for a reason; take the time out to reboot for the afternoon.
If this section of the article hasn’t already put you off eating at your desk for lunch, an article from the oh so trusted Guardian will do the job. Sam Jones states that keyboards harbour many harmful bacteria in the article titled ‘Filthy as a loo seat: hazard of computer keyboards’. So, if you want to digest more than you expected and be the office cooties host do so at your own peril. Oh, and just before we forget apparently eating at your desk gives your employer 19 extra days of work from you, so apart from being a heaving bogeyman you’re a chump, just saying.
Nothing sums up the first week like a golden old idiom ‘go off the deep end’ the best part of the pool is the deep end so jump in head first, congratulations and have an amazing first week!