Surviving the First Week on the Job: Six Practical Tips

Surviving the First Week on the Job: Six Practical Tips

Starting a new job can be challenging, stressful, difficult and even scary.

As the new guy or girl in the office, you don’t yet know how things are done, or if you’ll fit into the team. You may feel uncomfortable, inadequate, and unable to cope.

If you are about to begin a new job and are worried about the prospect, try some of the following six tips for surviving the first week of a job.

1. Ask questions

Lots and lots of questions!

The only solution to confusion and ignorance is to find the answers.

Asking a bunch of questions, especially if they seem trivial or stupid can feel embarrassing, but remaining ignorant will ultimately be much more embarrassing.

Your superiors and coworkers will expect you to be a little lost at first. Take advantage of this time by asking all the questions you want during the first week.

Once you’re up to speed, no one will remember your initial cluelessness.

2. Be friendly

The Wall Street Journal emphasizes knowing your orbit: your boss and co-workers. If all goes well, you’ll be spending the next few years with them.

First impressions are never forgotten so be especially outgoing and friendly for the first few days. Inquire about family and hobbies, as well as work matters.

Your colleagues will be more likely to help you out if you’ve been friendly and kind. An outgoing first week will lay the groundwork for future success.

3. Wait it out

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused or out of place, time will be a good healer.

There’s a reason the first week is known to be so difficult. Things tend to get easier as you learn the ropes. Your manager isn’t going to fire you just because of a slow start, so be patient and wait for circumstances to improve.

Even your second week will probably be dramatically more successful than your first.

4. Observe

Every place where there are people, there is a particular culture.

Your new company might not do things in the same way as they did at your last job. In any office environment, there will be some unwritten rules. Don’t assume you know what’s going on – you’ll probably make mistakes. Watch what others do and pick up on the subtleties of their behaviour.

If you’re careful, you’ll soon understand the ethos and culture of the company as well as anyone.

5. Be on your best behaviour

Being late to the office or underdressing is never a good idea – but the occasional mistake of this nature isn’t fatal once you’re well established in the job.

For the first week on the job, you don’t enjoy such security so leave early for work, giving you a cushion in case you are delayed.

In the Professional Resume Writers post What to Wear to a Job Interview , they said the same for wearing the proper clothes as it resembles your understanding of the office dress code and company culture.

When it comes to clothing, overdressing won’t hurt. Operate on the safe side by wearing your nicest clothes until you’ve discerned the office norm.

6. Work hard

Professionalism is about taking your work seriously and this should start on your first day. Work hard on your first week and aim to become a valuable member of the team as soon as possible.

Remember, the harder you work, the faster you will learn.

Your manager will be willing to forgive mistakes caused by inexperience, but errors caused by lack of effort are inexcusable.


Don’t let first-week worries get to you. You were hired for a reason, so relax and be yourself.

Whatever challenges you face, just smile and you’ll feel a lot better.

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