Even after surviving a series of first days in kindergarten, two schools and two tertiary institutions, I found myself turning and twisting in my bed on the eve of my first day at work in Pichonkun’s. I started having jitters and felt sick to my stomach as I reached the security post to register myself. You see, the downside of having a chattery monkey mind is that I always end up having wave of thoughts when something major is about to happen. I didn’t want to mess up, I had all these expectations on how well I’m supposed to do, also I kept playing the guessing game of how it’ll be like working there. I sorta panicked!
I blamed myself for wanting to be an adult all the time. It happened! Clearly I wasn’t ready for this. C’mon, I was a 23 year old whose parents had just dropped her to first day of work. I took a deep breath. I got this. So, this time, despite the nerve-wrecking description as above, I had a plan in mind. So, here are few things that I consciously (if you’re even slightly paranoid like me, you’ll tend to be extra self conscious) did on my first day :
1. Keep a notebook in hand (at all times)
First day mean lots of new information. Unless you’ve got excellent memory enough to win IQ contests (which I obviously don’t), it’s always good to have a notebook to write down anything and everything. Although I probably did not need to know the size of bolts used in an air-conditioning unit, I was glad that I wrote down some of the other useful things. Also, if you like me, have tough time matching names with faces, it’s good that your write down the names of people you meet. I wrote notes on their work stations or some ‘descriptions’. I think this time I remembered more people faster than during other times.
2. Ask questions
A lecturer once told our class, ‘Don’t make assumptions and make ass of yourselves!’. As much as we are all told to make assumption in Engineering schools, it is not a very wise thing to do in life. If you’re doing on-site tasks, it is even more undesirable to assume things. You wouldn’t want to lose a finger just to avoid looking stupid for asking a question. In most places, people are more kind to newbies, they’re happy to explain do’s and don’ts. Sometimes, what you may think is obvious may not be. If you’re in doubt, ask!.
3. Leave your expectations
Just because someone you know has gone to this place before, and has shared their thoughts with you, don’t expect the experience to turn out the exact same for you. While it is always good to refer to someone to gain information, it’s not very advisable to have preconceived notions before you have experienced something yourself. Your circumstances could be different. This place you’ve heard not-so-nice things about could turn out to be awesome, and another place where your senior seemed to be so happy be at may not be a great place for you after all,. So, wherever you go, on your first day, go with an open heart. Expectations could damage your morale.
Smile. You don’t want to come across as snobbish. Some of us *clears throat* do not have pleasant rest face. I’ve even stood in front of mirror trying to fix my resting face (okay, now you can forget that you ever read that sentence!). If you work in a place where everyone wears the same uniform (like I do), it takes time to recognise the bosses. During my first week, our GM actually sat in the same aisle as me for lunch, and I had no idea. High chances that my rest face didn’t give very good first impression. People notice the newbie. It’s always good to nod and smile as you see strangers along the way. You get to pick one, either be the budak baru sombong or budak baru yang senyum tu. If you’re the latter, chances are you find your job easy in future.
5. Take Initiative
During my internship, I learned one important lesson; don’t expect people to teach you every thing. I have heard of my peers and seniors who took pride in doing nothing much during internship, because their bosses were too busy to entertain them. When you’re not being assigned to anything within a week, you should take initiative. Browse through the PC at your work space. Read the available documents (SOPs, policies, working instruction), basically anything and everything you have access to. It is not a good sign if you’re sitting there doing nothing. You can always ask your colleagues if you can help them with something, or if there’s something you could do.
It’s now been three months since my very nervous first day at Pichonkun’s. Safe to say, I survived. Coming to think of it, it feels all funny that I was even that nervous. But it’s always like that, isn’t it? We all have anxiety and stress when going to a new place.
If you too are anticipating for your first day soon, keep the above in mind. 😀 Good luck!