How to Be the Office Newbie

Being the office newbie can be scary. But regardless of how nervous you are, you have to bring your A-game.  So before you spend the day worrying and wishing for the clock to strike 5pm, check out Modern Manners Guy's top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for surviving your first day at a new job.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #263

Tip #2: Introduce Yourself

The workplace is not the place to be shy. No one has ever made it to the top by being a hermit.  On your first day at a new job, you have to be personable. Sit in your cube, hoping no one will talk to you, and you'll fly under the radar. I don't suggest that you hop up on the conference room table and do a stand-up routine or send out an Evite for a happy hour after work, but you must be friendly.  Trust me, your new coworkers knew you were coming in today, so don't think you can camoflauge yourself into the crowd. So if you walk by and don't say a word, they make take that as you being snobbish or not wanting to be a part of the team.  

The first day plays a huge role in the all-important first impression and the key is to present yourself as someone who will be a team player. When you walk into the door, everyone will know you are the newbie. If you look away, don't smile, hide your face by looking at the floor, or bury your nose in your smartphone, they will think you’re rude. And doing all those things is rude, so they would be right.  Even if you are not the biggest extrovert in the world, make an effort. Come out of your shell and be ready to chat it up with your new coworkers. They will appreciate it and feel more comfortable working with you down the line.

Tip #3:  Be Accessible

I’ll never forget this one time my coworker Amy told our boss that she couldn’t stay late because she had to attend a spin class. Now, I am all for fitness, but telling your boss that you can’t stay late because you’re trying to knock off a few calories is a big mistake.  In the professional world, you will miss parties, dinners and yes, even spin classes because of your job. It’s just a part of life. Work does not have to be your life but it is the way you make a living and having to pitch in every now and then is just part of the package.

When you are fresh in a new job, you have to make sacrifices and by telling your boss you can’t help out, you’re making your commitment (or lack thereof) loud and clear. Granted, your boss doesn’t own you and your time, however, prioritizing is key. If you have an important event one night, by all means stand up for yourself. But a spin class or a date probably doesn’t qualify. And if you can’t stay late, give your boss a good reason why (a death in the family, for instance) and do whatever you can to get as much done as possible before you leave.

On day one, let your boss and your team know that you are there to help. If someone could use a hand with a project, make your willingness to take on more responsibility heard.  You'll have plenty of time to say “No” down the line and people will respect you for it. But if you start off immediately making yourself unavailable to your team, they will not count on you for bigger projects and the boss will not give you more responsibility, which would not lead to increased visibility within the company, which would not lead to promotions, raises, etc. You see where I’m going with this?  Your automatic answer to just about any requests made by employers and colleagues on your first day is “Yes!”

What was your experience as the office newbie?  Post all the details in the comment section of the article page. If you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

You can find more tips on building workplace relationships and improving your chances for success in my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available for pre-order now and goes on sale at your favorite retailers on September 17!

Woman and nametag images courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Richie Frieman

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