What do we want when we start a new job? Bar coming across as a crazy person? OH WAIT that’s impossible -the first week in a new office will always consist of you coming across as a crazy person.
The fact that you agree enthusiastically to every meeting that everyone invites you to. The fact that you scrawl a giant ‘MEETING ONE’ enthusiastically in your new jotter during every meeting. The fact that you have to give out this “I wear this all the time!” expression when someone mentions your good clothes during your first week (by week three you’ll be wearing whatever seems to be within the shortest distance from you on the bedroom floor). The fact that you have to ask for the code for the front door eighty seven times in three days and since you have forgotten it again you’ve been currently locked out for the last twenty minutes.
The headline of this article articulates that this will be a guide to making a good impression at a new job. That, guys, is impossible. What matters more is helping you keep your incredibly bad impression to an absolute minimum. By following these three simple steps, all of which I have failed to do.
Don’t accidentally set fire to the building – the first job that I ever had was at a bakery in my local town. Now let me just say before I continue that I have never been fond of bread. I have never bought a full loaf in my life, I don’t really eat sandwiches, yet I was so desperate for cash between the years 2004 and 2006 that I was willing to enthusiastically promote it to customers for £3.30 an hour.
What could have made this situation even more demoralising? Oh yes, half of my role involved cooking full English breakfasts in the bakery café between serving customers. I am not that good at cooking full English breakfasts. I tend to burn everything. I am also not a good multi-tasker, especially when it involves selling products I am not that thrilled about, resulting in my losing concentration pretty quickly.
The firefighters were called after a layer of black smoke started to alarm customers, seconds after a customer (who I was serving a small malt loaf at the time) shouted in alarm at me and pointed into the kitchen. Luckily the full English breakfast I had been cooking hadn’t set on fire, some toast that I had put into the toaster twenty minutes ago and had completely forgotten about did. This was my second day on the job.
So remember folks, always pay attention to your cooking (that is if your job involves cooking). Otherwise, 8 years later, everytime you leave the house – or even the kitchen – you make sure that the toaster has been switched off and unplugged. This bit of my OCD is probably because of that incident.
Two days into a new job don’t accidentally throw up into a bin in front of everyone. This was when I was 17 and, may I add, when I was significantly hungover. Now that I have got my defence out of the way, let me build a little bit of context.
The previous night was the first time that I had ever had alcohol. It was at a friend’s house. I literally thought a vodka coke was half vodka, half coke. I was wrong. I also didn’t know that you could get hungover after drinking vodka so I went straight to work (in a newsagents) with a splitting headache thinking that I was coming down with a cold.
I wasn’t. After giving someone some change and their Lucky Dip for that Saturday’s National Lottery draws my stomach turned, I fell to my knees and threw up into a bin behind the counter. I then stood up, gave the receipt whilst the customer looked horrified, and said “87p change and your receipt. Have a good day.” She was a regular customer. She never returned.
Don’t accidentally send an email where you talk about hot men to the entire company. And when I say ‘whole company’ I don’t just mean colleagues within my department or those within the immediate office. I mean, the entire company within the UK and United States.
The hot men were in reference a story about hot men I was writing at the time (yes I know “state of journalism today”) but I didn’t do this when at the start of an old job years when I was just starting out, or when I was a clueless intern with unrestricted email privileges. No, it was the start of my latest job.
It was last Tuesday.