Congratulations on your new job, you smart cookie, you! My best friend and I both started new office jobs this year, so I thought I should put together some tips for surviving (and thriving) in your new workplace.
1. Dress confidently and comfortably
Buying “business casual” clothes for the first time can be challenging, but I learnt that the key to confidence is wearing clothes you feel comfortable in. This goes for colour too: black may be classic, but you don’t have to dull down your wardrobe just because you’re working in an office.
My top tips are: wear shoes that don’t hurt your feet, and invest in layers so you can dress up or down depending on how cold the air conditioning is.
2. Ask lots of questions
If you need help or clarification, always ask for it. Asking questions shows people that you’re switched on, can show initiative, and are a good communicator. You will find any nervousness you may have lessens when you understand what’s going on.
3. Take notes and leave notes
Writing down what you learn is a smart move. The act of writing helps your memory, but you can also refer to your notes when you’re working independently without someone showing you what to do.
Also, leaving notes for yourself or others is a good habit to get into. If you have to leave a job half-finished for the next day, you can let yourself or whoever works after you know what’s going on by leaving a short message on a sticky note.
4. Be Present and Pay Attention
Double check the tiny details and ask a colleague to look over your work for feedback. If you struggle with multi-tasking, tackle one thing at a time and do your best on each job.
5. Take breaks
Don’t forget to eat and drink! I had a bad case of low blood sugar in my first week because I was so busy I forgot to eat enough. Nuts, fruit, muesli bars, or yoghurts are great snacks that you can eat at your desk between longer breaks.
Also make sure to rest your eyes and stretch your legs when you can. I avoid headaches and leg cramps by taking off my glasses and standing up to get folders or printouts …. as fun as it is to zoom around the office on my wheelie chair …
6. Invest in friendships
Some of my closest friends are people I know from work. There have been a few times when I or one of my colleagues have had a bad day and needed a hug or a break for fresh air. It really pays off to make friends and care about others.
What are you most excited and most nervous about starting your new job? Do you have any other tips to add to this list? Best of luck on your first day at work!