On the Job

9 first-day mistakes to avoid

The first day at a new job can be both exciting—and nerve racking. The old saying, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” is definitely true in this case, and it can also be the source of no small amount of anxiety as we meet new people, go to new places, and learn new work tasks.

No matter how experienced you may be, it’s all too easy to be stressed out and nervous when starting a new job. You can relieve some of this stress—and make a great first impression with your new boss and coworkers and customers—by avoiding these 9 mistakes on your first day of work.

1. Showing up late

Although this is a no-brainer, you’d be surprised just how many people arrive on their first day of work later than they mean to. Prepare to be 5-10 minutes early, and you’ll instantly come across as more professional.

2. Going out partying the night before

Just like not showing up late, refraining from a night of partying the night before you start a new job is incredibly important. You need to be sharp and at your very best—not run down or hungover. Avoid the party and get a good night’s sleep.

3. Starting tasks before you’re ready

While we all want to appear eager and ready to work, it can be a mistake to jump too quickly into assignments before you’ve received adequate instruction—no matter how qualified you might feel that you are when you start the job.

4. Not knowing the dress code

While not every company has the same dress code, whether formal or informal, it’s good form to have an idea of what other employees are wearing before you show up on your first day. After all, you don’t want to be the only one in an uncomfortable pantsuit while everyone else lounges in jeans and sneakers.

5. Giving off negative energy

Even though we all have negative thoughts sometimes, don’t show off that mindset the very first day at work. Do your best to be happy and upbeat—your coworkers will appreciate it!

6. Acting overeager

No one likes a showoff. Avoid appearing too overeager on the first day of work, and save your energy for the coming weeks, when you start getting more comfortable in your job, and with your work assignments.

7. Not admitting to your mistakes

It’s always a good idea to own up to your mistakes when you do something wrong. Not only does it show that you’re an honest and trustworthy person, you’ll be in a better position to learn from those mistakes and improve your own performance in the future.

8. Talking trash

The first day on a new job is definitely not a good time to start complaining about things you don’t like about the office or those you work with—in fact, it’s never a good time to do that. No one likes someone who constantly talks down their office, their coworkers, their boss, their customers, or anyone else every chance they get.

9. Making inappropriate jokes

When making jokes, it’s a good idea to remember that everyone’s sense of humor is different. It’s wise to get a feel for what your coworkers do and don’t think is funny before telling a joke that could offend them.

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