Starting a new job can be daunting, for even the most experienced and confident of individuals. You need to learn new company procedures and office etiquette, get to know the people you will be working most closely with, and find out where the nearest sandwich bar is too.
Luckily, most of what you learn in your first week is quite straightforward, so here’s our guide to your first seven days in a new job.
You probably won’t have much control over your first day, but make sure you listen, no matter how tedious the safety briefings and orientation sessions may be.
Don’t assume you’ll be given even a pen and paper – pack a small reporter’s pad and a pen you trust not to leak in your pocket (or even a pencil, to be safe).
Throw together a small packed lunch that you can eat in a few minutes even if your day is full from start to finish, and be prepared to bin it and join colleagues in going out for lunch if they invite you, so you don’t miss out on that icebreaking opportunity.
In many jobs this is the first time you’ll be expected to actually perform your role, so try to make a good start.
Speak to your manager in the morning to check what’s expected of you, and introduce yourself to nearby colleagues and teammates if nobody has taken you around the room already – they may be able to help you learn the ropes.
With (probably) between a half-day and two days’ work behind you, take stock of how things are going, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re uncertain about anything.
Approaching your manager for advice now helps create a close working relationship – and gives you plausible deniability if anything goes wrong in your first days.
All being well, you should be getting into your stride now, with several days’ work behind you and most of the orientation out of the way too.
Make this your day to do as much as you can independently – while asking for help if and when you need it – as your first real experience of what your role will be like week in, week out.
Your manager should review your first week with you at some point on the Friday, but if not, you can always ask for first feedback – just don’t wait until 5pm to do it.
Make some notes of your own about things you need to clarify or improve on in the coming weeks, anything you found especially hard, or anything you particularly enjoyed and would like to incorporate more of into your role.
You only get one chance to notice these things before your role becomes routine, so write everything down and remember to refer back to it in the days, weeks and even months that follow, for a reminder of how you saw your new job when you first started.
We’re assuming your job is Monday-Friday, but even in industries where you work weekends, you can take your first days off as a chance to take stock of your progress so far.
Think about anything that was missing from your week – even little things like stationery that wasn’t provided or gadgets that could make your job easier.
Consider whether your choice of clothing could be improved too, so you’re putting forward the right impression, but also staying comfortable throughout your day.
Settling in is about discovering these little home comforts and short-cuts, so the sooner you buy anything you’re missing, or fix those first teething problems, the sooner you’ll start to feel at home.