A quick guide to starting a new job

Make an impression and start things off right with these top tips

By Hugh Upsher

Starting a new job is terrifying. Everyone expects you to know all the things, remember all the names and find the bathroom all by yourself. On your first day you’re going to be doing something that you think is completely normal, and your co-workers will mock you relentlessly for it without fully explaining why. These things will happen. Getting yourself into the rhythm can take weeks but there are ways to ease into it with minimal embarrassment and maximum fun.

Learn some new names every day

There will be an influx of new names and faces to memorise. Don’t be a hero, just smile, nod and hope for the best. Grow your set of new names organically and call yourself out early when you don’t remember. There are few things worse than working with someone who assumes you know their name because they have told you twice, but it just didn’t stick. You’ll go weeks looking for clues by eavesdropping and glancing at papers on their desk. After a month you’ll be too embarrassed to ask someone else on the team what that person's name is.

You’ll consider quitting to lessen the chance of being caught out. You’ll consider giving them a nickname, but you never feel confident enough to try it out with them. All this can be avoided by being a little more transparent from the get go.

Mark your territory

Once you are designated with a workspace, it is important to claim it as yours. Don’t do this with your urine though, a couple of postcards or a cute little pot plant will have the same effect, but with far less stench. Creating a little patch of home at your place of work will not only give you some much-needed comfort, it will also let people know you have officially arrived. Having a physical presence can also be a useful way to communicate that you really like David Shrigley and The Simpsons without shoving it down people’s throats.


Solid first impressions last a lifetime, so be sure you’re on the front foot going in. Set the tone with a touch of kindness to shamelessly bid for your co-workers favour. It’s better to come across as trying too hard than to be a complete deadbeat. Once you feel that you’ve effectively won them over, you can return to your regular shitty self.

Know your surroundings

Scoping out the neighbourhood where you’re working will prove an invaluable task. Use your co-worker's local intel to find out where all the best and/or cheapest lunch spots are. A week of scouting around will come in handy when you need to get some emergency airtime or buy a fineliner in a hurry.

I should mention that none of these tips are very useful if you're not killing it at the task you were hired to do. Don’t get overly distracted and lose sight of the reason they brought you in. Your focus should be on getting stuck in and proving to whoever took a chance on hiring you that they have great judgment. Remember, nothing will make you fit into the new job better than actually doing your job.