Preparing for Your First Day at Work

by sysop in On the Job 101

First Day 1

by Sam Ostranksy

Being a transient city, the job turnover rate in Washington DC seems higher than for almost anywhere else in the country.  If you live in this city, chances are that you’ll have more than one “first day” on the job.  To prepare for these starting gate moments, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring to the job site the proper identification to complete your Form I-9
  • Plan ahead or do a test run for transit to your new office. Be an over-achiever and do both!
  • Know the dress code in advance
  • Arrive at work a little ahead of your scheduled arrival time, giving yourself plenty of time for parking, metro delays and more. Things happen.

These are useful and necessary reminders. There are also some less common considerations; things that may leave a more lasting impression than basic tips. As an HR professional, I am usually the first person that new employees meet when they arrive for their first day.  These days are normal days for me; I come to work at the same time as usual, I follow the same dress code, and I maintain the same pattern as the day before.

For the new employees, their first days are anything but normal, and their biggest concerns may be that they arrived on time or dressed appropriately.  And these concerns should not be minimized.  But when I think back to all the new employees that have started with our organization, these are not the images that last in my mind from their first days.  I don’t remember what they were wearing, who was late, or which employees forgot their paperwork.

Here is what is memorable – and what matters in the long run: remember your purpose for joining and staying with the organization. Whether it is your first day on the job or your 10-year anniversary in a position, make sure that the people around you know why you are there and what you see as the purpose of your work.  I don’t remember the small details, but I do remember our conversation at the end of their first day – by the elevator, explaining why you were excited to join our team, and why your vision aligned with ours. When your co-workers think of you, what lasts is that understanding of your purpose with the organization and being able to express it.  When the small details fade into the background, your purpose is an impression that will last.