When you turn up for the first day of your job, you are entering the great unknown. From making friends with people you have nothing in common with to acing that first presentation in front of new faces, surviving your first company trip with people you hardly know... the list of firsts and unknowns is long.
But fear not, we have prepared some cheat cards on how to make the most of every workplace situation. The most important tip? Enjoy yourself!
Cheat card #1:
Finding lunch buddies
Hate eating lunch alone – again? It comes with the new-person-at-work status. But it doesn’t have to be a lonely affair. Try our work-all-the-time tips on how to make new lunch buddies.
BE BRAVE Do the asking first. Walk up to a colleague – choose a popular one – and ask if you can join her for lunch. Chances are nobody is going to say “no”.
FIND ANOTHER NEWBIE Nothing like seeking out someone else just like you to be lunch buddies. Together, you can also seek out others for lunch.
ALWAYS SAY ‘YES’ Call it pity but the newbie will almost always be asked for lunch. Our tip? Never turn down an invitation, especially in the first month. This is your fast track to getting to know your colleagues as well as valuable ins-and-outs of your department discussed only over lunchtime.
Cheat card #2:
Public speaking is way up there when it comes to common fears but to do in front of bosses and colleagues likely to judge the newbie? Sweats! Don’t worry, you can ace it like a pro.
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT Are you presenting to just a few big bosses or 30 in a conference room? Knowing what to expect will calm your nerves and let you prepare better mentally. Also, check what equipment you need. Mike? Laptop? Do a trial run.
PRACTISE And then practise some more! Know your stuff and expect the questions that will be asked. Made a boo-boo? Just keep calm and carry on...
FOCUS ON ONE PERSON Say you are in a room of 20. Say you are nervous. Do this: before you start speaking, find one person to talk to. Talk to that person for a few seconds, then find someone else to talk to. Do the same and move on to someone else. This helps you relax and “converse” better with your audience.
Cheat card #3:
Getting through day 1
Don’t turn up late and don’t make any verbal slip-ups.
LOUD ALARM CLOCK One that will jolt you out of bed. In fact, if you are used to sleeping in, you’ll need to adjust your body clock. Go to bed early and wake up early. If you’re commuting to work, factor in traffic jams and other transportation delays.
TAKE NOTES Your first day – or your first week – will be a whirlwind of introductions, meetings and briefings. You’re not going to remember everything. Our advice? Take notes, especially your new colleagues’ names.
BE YOURSELF... EVENTUALLY Take your time before showing your “true colours”. Ease into your witty self slowly. Let loose your bubbly hyper-energetic personality bit by bit. You don’t want to scare people. You’re the newbie, which means there are many lines you shouldn’t cross until you are familiar with everyone.
ASK QUESTIONS! Where is the best coffee joint? Where do you get office supplies from? More importantly, how do you complete a certain assignment given to you by your boss? Ask and get all the details. You won’t look stupid, just someone who is into details and thorough.
Cheat card #4:
Company party dos and don’ts
Sure, the office can be a fun place, especially during a company party. But that doesn’t mean you can let loose like you’re partying in Bali with your besties. Like it or not, people will gossip at the office and trust us, they talk a lot. So, take in these pointers and be the life of the party in a good way.
SLOW DOWN, PAL Sure, it’s an open bar (free drinks, woo hoo!) but don’t binge. Stop at three (if you must). You don’t want to start spewing out nonsense in front of your boss.
DRESS RIGHT The dress code may say casual but PJs are not it. Or it says “dress to impress” but that doesn’t mean “channelling Kim Kardashian”. Four-inch heels, anything short, tight or revealing are also no-nos.
MINGLE That’s the whole point of the party. OK, so you’re an introvert. Grab a glass of wine and put on that fake smile. And please, leave your phone alone – WhatsApp, Instagram, updating FB status can wait.
DON’T DO IT Don’t be cocky, don’t be rude, don’t start making out with the cute guy from Finance, don’t be too friendly with your boss, don’t gossip, don’t spill drinks on yourself, don’t do anything that you don’t want people to remember you by and enter company folklore.
Cheat card #5:
Live by the 50/20/30 rule
Last, but not least: how not to blow your entire first-month salary (but still treat yourself!)
50/20/30 This is an easy budget guide: Your fixed bills (rent, car payments, gym membership) should be no more than 50% of your take-home pay; you should save at least 20% of it (this can be investments, savings, retirement or building an emergency fund), and 30% of your salary can go towards fun stuff (shopping, groceries, going out).
ONE DAY YOU’LL GROW OLD No one likes to think of the future. Wrinkles! Kids! Education fund! Urgh but if you start a monthly direct debit which deducts a certain amount from your salary straight into a savings account, you won’t miss the money. It’s forced savings but when you’re 60, you will thank your younger self.
DON’T GET EXCITED Your first salary is more than what your monthly allowance used to be! I can spend, spend, spend. Not so fast. The money must last until the end of the month or near your next pay day. So, make it a habit to pay off debts (if any), save and then only spoil yourself with the leftovers.