First day at work

first-day-at-workFirst day at work is rather similar to the first day at school.....the reason being that you only get to meet the principal and a few teachers and when the class of 30 or 40 bursts in – you really get bamboozled. The first day at work is no different. You would have met perhaps your immediate boss and his boss as well. A few simple steps can keep the butterflies in our stomach away on the first day.

Follow a proper dress code. This is important not for the sake of creating impressions but it enables a fresher to blend in. You will need to take note of how people dress when you go in for your interview. If you haven’t, then follow a muted, sober, corporate style which is light coloured shirt and dark coloured trousers and a good pair of shoes. For women a smart set of salwar kameez is the ideal work wear. Should the organisation insist on saris then light cottons would help one get through the day. Hair needs to be worn short for men and women need to wear it pulled back so that it does not get in the way. It would be unwise to splash on strong perfumes or colognes. Bear in mind that you are not out there to walk the ramp, so wear minimal jewellery, make up and no flashy footwear.

It is important that you do not feel inhibited or shy. Do go up to your colleagues, introduce yourself and figure out who they are. There are times when first day friends stay friends forever. Make sure you do not go around asking too many questions. Normally most organisations do not throw you into the work mode from day one. They wait until you are comfortable which could be either three days to a week. In case you are on the intranet and have induction modules on them – do take a look.

Lunch time is a good time to get to know people and mingle with freedom. If the dining area is common as you find in most large organisations today, ensure that you eat neatly and put away your plates after you finish. There could be a whole bunch of senior colleagues who could be watching your behaviour. With Kaizen being a part of most work places, please remember that neatness gets brownie points as does being methodical.

The place you have entered is where you are going to chart your professional life hence, it is important to be discreet, stay away from gossip while being muted and friendly. Loud people do get noticed for sure but they also become spoilers too.

Of course, it is important to be yourself. You will feel a tinge of disconnect but make sure you do not pull out your mobile phone and start sending smses to your friends or lounge in your chair. You have come here for serious business and respecting your environment is surely one of ways to get ahead.


- Gita Nair (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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