What To Expect On Your First Day of Work

  • What To Expect On Your First Day of Work

    April 27, 2021

    What To Expect On Your First Day of Work You've landed a new job. Congratulations! But once you've finished celebrating, it's only natural for your attention to turn to your first day on the job. What can you expect? What should you do to prepare?

    First, it's important to note that first-day nerves are a common occurrence. You want to make a good impression, of course, but you also know that there will be plenty to absorb. Here are a few things that may help calm those first-day jitters.

    Onboarding Paperwork

    Joining a company's payroll involves paperwork. Quite a bit, actually. You'll need to fill out tax forms, enroll in direct deposit, sign confidentiality and security agreements, and maybe even get your picture taken for a company ID badge.

    That means your first appointment on your first day may be with someone in human resources. You'll likely be given documents to read or an online training to go through as part of your orientation. As mundane as all this reading and learning can be, it also can help with some of that first-day anxiety, since HR professionals tend to be great at helping new employees get acclimated.

    Workplace Tour

    Chances are, at some point during your first day, you'll be given a tour of the workplace. This is where you'll meet the people you'll be working with every day. Depending on the size of the company, you may even be introduced to employees you'll never directly work with.

    Even if there isn't a tour, though, chances are you'll deal with a steady stream of faces and names on that first day. Before your start date, it may help to learn some name memorization tricks that will help the information stick. If possible, jot down some notes on the names and job titles you learn and take the notes home to study them during those first few days.

    Meeting with Your Boss

    Maybe your boss will greet you at the door. If you're working for a small company, that's a very real possibility. But either way, at some point in the day, your boss will want to sit down with you to discuss the job. You may already have details of the duties from the job ad the company placed. Study that ad before your first day and write down any questions you have so you'll be prepared to ask them.

    Someone should also be assigned the task of making sure your workspace and equipment are ready before you arrive. If you have to log into any software or devices, you may have multiple usernames and passwords to keep up with. Jot those down for later reference, if necessary, but make sure you keep the information secure.

    Ask Questions and Observe

    Your boss may put you straight to work, but even as you're busy, be alert to the things going on around you. If uniforms aren't required, how does everyone dress? Even if you were handed dress code guidelines beforehand, there are some things you'll only learn once you're part of the team.

    While you're taking a look around, note the social structure. Even in a smaller workplace, cliques naturally form. There are likely at least a couple of people who go to lunch together or fraternize outside work. Also pay attention to the way other employees speak to those above them in the office hierarchy. This information could give you a feel for how formal the work culture is.

    Prepare to Lunch with Coworkers

    One of the most awkward parts of a first day is how the lunch situation will shake out. You don't want to seem overly concerned about the one big break you get during the day, but you need to know whether to bring your lunch or not. You may want to pack a lunch and wait to see if anyone invites you to join them at a nearby restaurant.

    If you do choose to eat the lunch you brought, consider taking your lunch to the break room versus eating at your desk. Chances are, others will be eating there, as well, and it's a great opportunity to get to know some of the people you'll be sharing an employer with.


    The truth is, everyone gets first-day jitters. Your coworkers will understand if you're a little nervous. Smile and show attentiveness as others are talking to you. Ask other people questions about themselves and you'll likely find they're immediately drawn to you.

    If you make a mistake or two, it's not the end of the world. Your boss knows you're still learning. The key is to show that you're eager to grow into the position. With each day, you'll become part of the team and your first day will soon become a distant memory.

    The first day in a new job can be stressful, but a little preparation can help. One way to ease the process is to work with a recruiter who can give you some inside information on an employer before you even interview. Express Employment Professionals specializes in matching employees with their ideal jobs. Contact us at (615) 441-8898 to find out how we can help you.