Everybody wants to make a great first impression when they start a new job, but one graduate has approached his first day all wrong.
Meet Adam. He's just landed a graduate job at a marketing agency and is really excited to start his new role working in SEO and digital advertising. He's a bit nervous—but who isn't on their first day? Unfortunately, Adam is about to make several blunders, and though they won't get him sacked, it's not the great start he was hoping for.
Let's follow Adam through his first day and see what we can learn from his nearly catastrophic faux pas.
(Please note: Adam is a fictional character—but may be based on first hand experience from the current graduate-jobs.com team.)
Adam's on his way
Adam is going to work on his first day. He knows where the office is and has planned his route meticulously. He's been told to arrive for 10am, but Adam knows the usual start time is 9am. He wants to impress, so he arrives at 8:45am sharp—and no one is ready for him.
Adam should follow instructions. Though he is eager to get started, he has underestimated the amount of work it takes to get a new hire set up. Adam should have arrived at the stated time, which would have given his new employer time to set up his desk, computer and email address.
Adam thinks he's dressed to impress…
Figuring out what to wear to the office has become a bit of a minefield as casual office culture has evolved. Adam is joining a hip, young digital agency who proudly proclaim a relaxed office environment. When he considers his work wear options the night before, he picks out a checked shirt, ripped skinny jeans and cut-off converse—perfect for the company's image, he thinks.
But poor Adam is upsetting his employer and he hasn't even left the house yet. His definition of casual is far removed from his employer's and he ends up looking like a university student instead of a professional. Adam should have asked for clarification about office attire, and if he still wasn't sure he should have erred on the side of smart, knowing he could always tone it down later.
Tea time for the newbie
Mid-morning, Adam is sent on his inaugural tea run for his desk-mates and meets another employee, Grant from HR, in the kitchen. The pair stumble through polite conversation about Adam's first day.
Grant from HR: "How's your first morning going?"
Adam: "Really good. Can't wait to get started on some of the accounts."
Grant from HR: "How was your journey in? Do you have to travel far?"
Adam: "Not far, I think I'll be able to average it in about 45 minutes. Except today when this t**t on the train was holding up the doors, trying to get his f***ing bike on."
Grant from HR: "Oh…" *grabs kettle, pours the hot water onto his instant coffee and leaves without stirring*
Adam has misjudged the situation entirely. Dropping swears is acceptable in certain situations (including most at university), but not in the office.
Adam is a big fan of Indian cooking. He loves sag aloo and can't get enough of a good lamb madras. So much so, he brings in left-overs from his favourite curry house to reheat at work. This stinks up the whole office—not a good first impression, Adam.
Our new starter should have been more considerate of his co-workers. Reputations spread quickly and Adam doesn't want to be known as "the curry guy."
The mid-afternoon lull
Adam's focus starts to waiver after his filling curry lunch. He's ahead on his work, so he takes a little break to check Facebook and scroll through Time Out's latest listicle. Unfortunately, Adam's new boss happens to sit behind him with full view of his computer screen, and though Adam knows he works better in concentrated bursts, his boss does not. Returning to his work, Adam pops on his headphones with some background music to help him concentrate—an old uni trick. Unfortunately, Adam's new colleagues just think he's being rude.
Adam's having a hard time finding the right balance between getting his work done in the best way he knows how and giving a good impression. Employers sometimes have rules directly related to these office behaviours—Adam should ask about protocol or observe others before he takes the risk.
Clock watching until clock off
Late in the day, Adam contemplates what he's going to make for tea while he watches the minute hands on his watch tick towards clocking-off time. When 6pm hits Adam grabs his coat, says cheerio to his colleagues and strides out the door. What Adam doesn't know is that his boss wanted to have a chat about Adam's first day—but he finds naught but an empty desk.
New starters are usually told when they can leave. Employers like to review their first day—and they will often let new employees go a little early. But Adam's taken it on himself to leave as the clock strikes his contracted hours without checking in with his boss. Employers want to see a bit more diligence and communication from new recruits.
Adam's mistakes can teach us all something about how to approach a first day. Starting a new job can be tricky but if you pay attention and take the lead from others, you'll do fine. Not like Adam.