Set off ridiculously early
Don’t lie. We all do it. First day of a new job and you know that above almost everything else, you do not want to show up late for your first day. You’ve checked on Google Maps, you know how long this journey should take you. That doesn’t stop all those little “what ifs” entering your head though. What if there’s a ten car pile-up on the M6? What if my car decides to have a catastrophic meltdown on our driveway? There’s only one thing for it. Leave the house at least an hour earlier than you have calculated would be adequate. Inevitably, you turn up to work way earlier than required, you’re knackered and you have 90 minutes to kill before it’s socially acceptable to walk through the door.
Go shopping for “new work clothes”
“Any excuse”, your other half will say rolling their eyes at you. It’s an absolute necessity that bagging a new job means at least two or three new work outfits. You’ve got to make a good impression and that clearly cannot be done in what you already own. A shopping trip later, and you’ve bought a couple of tops and a new pair of shoes. You are ready to boss that first week.
Don’t initiate conversation with anyone whose name you can’t remember
Inevitably, you will be introduced to the ENTIRE office on your first day. When the office has ten people, you might remember half of them. If it has a hundred, like my current new workplace, you are in trouble. You’ll never remember them as hard as you try, and you’re too embarrassed to ask them again. So what do you do? Well, the first rule, is to not talk to anyone whose name you cannot remember. Use the e-mail lists to try and remind you of the people around you and stick with it. You’ll learn ’em all eventually but concentrate on the ones closest to you and slowly spread your name knowledge out from there.
Pick the victim of all your stupid questions
Out of one of the few people whose names you do remember, you need to pick one who will be your unending fountain of knowledge. The poor sod will have just sent you one helpful e-mail and all of a sudden they are bombarded with your idiotic questions about the basic workings of their business. All they did was try to help and this is how you repay them. You know it’s a bit unfair and you’re probably getting on their nerves, but you can’t help it. They are your guide, whether they like it or not. If you’re lucky, you’ll be one of several new starters and you can spread out the stupidity amongst yourselves but if you’re on your own, you need that oracle in the first month or so. Choose them wisely and be as nice to them as you possibly can.
Drive the IT Department to tears in your first week
Speaking of getting on peoples’ nerves, these boys (they’re normally boys anyway) are in for a right treat when you clock in for the first time. It’s a damn near certainty that there will be something wrong with your computer or place of work when you first get there. You’ll try and fix it yourself for the first hour because you don’t want to bother anybody, but you realise that it’s actually preventing you from doing your job. Sheepishly, you will ask that it is put right. Once it’s fixed you will immediately see something else that’s wrong. It’s not your fault. If they’d set you up properly in the first place then they wouldn’t have this bother would they?
Carefully allocate your remaining holiday allowance to maximum effectiveness
Normally you don’t start a new job at the beginning of the holiday year and therefore you’ve got to plan what precious annual leave you have left very carefully. Fretting over whether you told them about the pre-booked stuff you had, and praying you’ve not forgotten anything. Then there’s Christmas… what’s the protocol? Does your new workplace close over the Christmas period completely or do you need to start making plans and booking time off. It’s all important and whatever plans you may have had could well just go up in smoke because of it. You can’t start taking unpaid leave in your first few weeks…
Live like a pauper for six weeks whilst you wait for your first wage
It’s always the way. Your old job and your new job will have totally different paydays. Now you’ve got to start moving your direct debits around to make sure you can pay ’em and realise that there’s now a six week gap where you’re getting nothing. You need to start getting creative with meals, digging stuff out of cupboards that you’re not sure is edible anymore. The weirdest meals of your life, you will have in that limbo period between one job and the next. Tinned tomatoes, chicken dippers and mashed potatoes? It’s unconventional, but it’s all you have left.
Wash up your own mug (and don’t use the “office” ones!)
There’s an unwritten rule in offices, that generally you know you should wash up after yourself… but there is a cleaner, who gets paid to clean the office up after you. You justify it in your head by saying “Well, I’d be cutting in on my productivity if I took the 90 seconds required to wash and dry this mug and this bowl. So really I’m doing the company a favour.” In the first few weeks of your new job however, you abandon everything you thought you believed and you wash up after yourself. Religiously. You start getting nervous sweats if your soup bowl remains on your desk for more than five minutes after you’ve finished eating. It’s only when you are really settled into a job do you delegate the washing up to the cleaning staff. Lazy bones.
Bring in super healthy homemade lunches.
At your old job, you were at the butty van every day. On the odd occasion you’d do one to McDonalds and sneakily try and eat it in the car before you went back into the office because one person would whinge about the smell. You weren’t known as the healthy one. But it’s a new job and it’s time to turn over a new leaf. You start preparing your own lunches… perhaps even splashing out on one of those cute little cool bags to store it in. Nothing fishy, because that always offends someone. Just something tasty and that makes you look like you’re going to the gym after work. You aren’t, but they don’t need to know that. It lasts about a month until you realise you’ve not lost any weight and most of the office aren’t looking at you when you’re eating. Normal diet resumes and the grumbling in your tummy falls silent once more.
Find your parking spot and never relinquish it.
On your first day, you hone in on a parking spot. Normally one that doesn’t have many cars around it. Not super near the door, because they’re always reserved for your boss. You make your decision and you wait all day to see whether you get a call from reception to move your vehicle because you’ve parked where someone important wants to go. The call never comes and immediately, you decide that this is your spot. You’ve not ruffled any feathers, nobody has told you the space is reserved. It’s yours. Every morning from then on you come in and you immediately dart for that spot. Your safe place.
This definitely can’t just be me. I cannot be the only freak whose entire personality changes as soon as there’s a new job on the horizon – so let me know in the comments what weird and wonderful things you get up to when faced with a new job!