Remember your first day of school? I don’t. I’ve pushed that sphincter-tightening event into the furthest recesses of my damaged little mind because it was pure B-grade horror. A bit like the first day at a new job.
So in order to propel yourself confidently into what will be a virtual minefield of social ineptness, prepare to harness every bit of tact, audacity and brain matter you’ve got. And embrace these sanity-saving tips.
Don’t be a kiss arse
You’re out to impress, sure, but puckering up in your first week is a definite no-no. At this point, nobody wants to be your friend. In fact, a hundred beady eyes are dying to witness your first-week-faux-pas so they can guffaw loudly about it later in the staff kitchen.
Keep that suckyness for your post-probation interview. Or for the hottie in the adjacent pod. But harness it AT A MUCH LATER STAGE.
Beware the serial BFF
I will actually retract my former statement about your potential friendlessness, because there is a sub-species of colleague in every cosmopolitan workplace who is literally gagging to be your bestie.
Your best friend FOREVER. Visual cues – they have a desk overflowing with weird, creepy knick knacks, random post-it notes exuding positive (tedious) mantras and openly exhibit stalky, doppelganger type behavior. Run like Forrest and don’t look back.
Figure out the pecking order
Every organisation has a not-so-logical employee ranking. It’s part of modern company culture and knowing who’s who in the overall scheme of things is crucial.
That’s why the Myers Briggs dynasty continues to roll about in cash. Don’t know Myers Briggs? Wait for your first conference. This mind-numbing personality test will simultaneously delight and befuddle.
Do-gooder, Mr Anal, Social Butterfly, Aspiring CEO, Frigid Biatch. They’re all there. Eventually you’ll work out where you fit in. But for now, you’re the awkward Newbie. Suck it.
Dress to impress
Well, not really. Just try not to stand out like a homophobe at a mardi gras. Ditch the falsies, sinus-shattering aftershave, sky-high Manolos and tossy statement shirt (at least until the weekend).
Suit up if necessary but swap the attention seeking threads for attire that allows you to remain as anonymous as possible and blend delicately into the occupational haze.
And there should be absolutely no evidence of prolific chest hair, totem-inspired tatts or bountiful cleavage.
Pull your head firmly out of your butt
Let’s be totally clear. Nobody really gives a shit about your last job, how qualified you are or how many LinkedIn pros you had to stalk to get the gig.
It’s OK to be overly smiley, introduce yourself more than once to the same person, forget how to use a keyboard and start inane conversations over the water cooler, but don’t be a dick about it.
You’re the bomb right? But not everyone has to know about it just yet. Calm your farm and act like a normal person. Not like some buzzed-up extra from The Wolf of Wall Street.
Circle the sociability pit with caution
First day done. Dusted. Smashed. Nailed. And oh yes, an icy cold beverage is definitely on the cards. Do not, I repeat, do not accept an after-work drink invitation – no matter how enticing – on your first day.
It is a career-destroying, time-honoured maneuver formulated by calculating colleagues who are viciously plotting your demise. Many a doughy job virgin has fallen for ‘just a quiet one’, only to wake up in a pool of vom in the neighbour’s sandpit with a truckload of (nude) planking selfies to revisit. So not cool. Unless you were in The Hangover.