Our Best Advice For Making It Through Your First Week At A New Job (& Continuing To Thrive)

Once you've landed your dream job, it's up to you to stay on track if you want to continue thriving while earning a living. Most people who are in the market to find a new job are fully aware of how challenging it can be to secure a solid offer. Oftentimes, the application process, interview process, onboarding process, and training processes consist of multiple steps.


Once you're in, though, you're in! All you have to do is make sure you're leaving positive first impressions with everyone you interact with while maintaining your new responsibilities. It's possible you've landed a job that's similar to previous roles you've had in the past. It's also possible you've landed a job performing tasks you've never done before. Regardless of your situation, you were chosen and hired for a reason. Now, it's time to believe in yourself as you make it through your first week.

Become aware of your day-to-day responsibilities

Sometimes your day-to-day responsibilities are perfectly laid out for you when you get hired at a new job. Ideally, an organized member of your team will clearly express to you your daily responsibilities at the start of your first day of work. If that's not the case, though, don't worry. If no one presents you with a clear and concise checklist of what you're supposed to handle, it's up to you to seek out a person who can break down your daily tasks for you. 


In some positions, you'll be required to shadow another worker to observe the different tasks you're supposed to manage. In other positions, it's assumed you already know what you're doing upon being hired. Instead of shadowing, upper management might expect you to jump right into action and get to work straight away. You'll figure out which tasks to handle from someone with the right knowledge. Just make sure you aren't standing around twiddling your thumbs or roaming aimlessly.

Follow the dress code

If you've been hired somewhere with a strict dress code in place, you must adhere to the policy to avoid dealing with any write-ups or issues. This is especially important to keep up with during your first week, as it proves how seriously you're taking your position. If the dress code includes a full-on uniform, make sure all pieces of your uniform are clean, ironed, and ready for the day. If the dress code is a little more lenient or lax, just make sure you're still staying within the boundaries of what's been described to you before your first day.


One minor dress code violation you don't want to deal with would be forgetting to remove super-long acrylic nails, if that's what management has requested of you. Another possible violation would be leaving in any visible facial piercings during your hours on the clock. If no dress code is in place in any capacity at your new job, it's still a smart idea to dress in a manner you'd consider respectable and presentable and use your common sense to determine what types of clothing are not appropriate to wear on the job.

Take notes if needed

There's no shame in needing to take notes during your first week at a new job. Grab a small notebook and pen to jot down anything you feel might be important as you're going through the motions. You might want to avoid taking notes on your cellular device, however, as it could leave your new managers and co-workers thinking you're texting or scrolling on social media. If everyone openly uses their cellular devices where you're working, though, it's probably not a big deal for you to do the same. 


As you take notes during your first week, write down anything that stands out to you in a significant manner. Doing this gives you the chance to reflect and ensure you're doing your job to the best of your abilities beyond your first week. You're sure to learn plenty in the first few days that no one will repeat to you in the future. Writing everything down is the best possible way to keep track of it all.

Introduce yourself to your co-workers

You don't have to be the most talkative social butterfly in the world to understand the importance of introducing yourself to your co-workers. If you awkwardly shy away from all introductions during your first week at a new job, you'll be left feeling ostracized. Refusing to introduce yourself and ending up feeling isolated would be no one else's fault except your own. To avoid this, simply introduce yourself to new people you come across with a smile on your face, a wave, or a handshake. Do your best to maintain eye contact to showcase your level of confidence and comfortability in the position. 


It's crucial to remember as many names as you can throughout this process as well. Since so many names are going to be thrown at you in a short period of time, it's easy to get them mixed up. If you need to write people's names down in a low-key manner to better remember everyone, feel free to do so. It's a mistake to skip out on introducing yourself, though, because showing a lack of interest will potentially have you coming across as cold and callous.

Think up conversation starters in advance

Before you get chatty with any co-workers at your new job during the first week, think of some interesting conversation starters ahead of time. This way, there won't be a cringeworthy moment of silence after you join a group of colleagues and tell them your name. Once everyone's names have been exchanged, there should be a few other topics to cover to give them some more insight into who you are as a person.


It's your decision to keep things totally work-related or to delve into the realm of other social subjects. Do your best to avoid overused and annoying small talk questions about the weather, for instance. You should also avoid talking about anything too controversial or serious such as religion and politics. If you're questioning whether something might offend your new co-workers, simply keep it to yourself for now to avoid the trouble. You can ask everyone about new books they've read lately, which podcasts they enjoy listening to, which restaurants they love dining at, or where their favorite vacations have been, for example.

Observe others for the blueprint on managing your workload

It's in your best interest to observe others to learn exactly how to best manage your workload. It's likely you're working with a group of people who are in charge of similar tasks. If so, it'll be easy for you to gauge what your days should look like based on the way your co-workers handle a similar amount of work. If you see your co-workers taking their time to make sure each individual assignment is absolutely flawless before moving on to the next, you should take an ample amount of time on your assignments to match their level of excellence. 


This rule doesn't totally apply, however, if you notice your co-workers mindlessly rushing through their work in a way that appears sloppy and haphazard. They might speed through their work and ultimately turn in assignments full of errors and mistakes. You can prove to upper management that assignments can be done with more care and thoughtfulness if you dedicate your focus and patience.

Sign up for off-the-clock events to show your enthusiasm

A handful of off-the-clock events may be available for you and your co-workers to sign up for at your new job. Although these types of events are never usually mandatory, they're always great for team building. If you get a chance to socialize with your co-workers off the clock, you'll quickly learn who you mesh with best. Signing up for off-the-clock events also shows upper management that you're taking your new role seriously.


By participating early, you're letting everyone know you're happy to be there, excited about being part of the team, and willing to put yourself out there to grow with the company. Keep in mind that you never have to cave to pressure to sign up for off-the-clock events if they conflict with other obligations you already have with friends, family, or other work. These events are wonderful to do if you already have free time on your calendar and a willingness to get to know people you're working with away from the confines of a professional setting.

Make your desk or workspace comfortable

You'll enjoy your time at work a lot more if you appreciate your desk or workspace. Making your workspace as comfortable as possible is essential for long-term happiness in a place you're spending so many hours of your time each week. Within your first week at a new job, think about bringing a few items along to spruce your area up in a way that makes you proud. Consider framed photos of family members, color-coded notebooks and pens, and small potted plants. 


If you're working a job that requires the use of a computer, think about bringing in your own mouse pad and keyboard cover. If you're working a job that requires hours of sitting, consider bringing in a back pillow that fits conspicuously on the seat of your chair to promote better posture. If you're working a job that provides a cubby or locker space for your personal belongings, decorate it with small posters or encouraging stickers.

Be patient with yourself during the first few weeks

It's crucial to be patient with yourself during your first week at a new job. No one expects you to catch onto everything rapidly like some sort of superhero. You're only human, which means it takes time to adjust to a new environment. Keep in mind that you'll be able to overcome any learning curves at a faster rate depending on how much dedication and focus you have. 


There might be a handful of things to learn that you simply won't be able to grasp within those first few days, though. You might be the type of person who easily loses patience with yourself after being unable to catch onto new things, but that's not the type of mentality you should have at a new job. It behooves you to be patient with yourself during this time to show the people you're working with that you've got a level head on your shoulders.

Let yourself relax during your lunch break

You might feel tempted to work through your lunch break to show your new colleagues and management how seriously you take your new job. Regardless of how tempting this thought might be, you have to let yourself relax during your lunch break! Lunch breaks exist for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, you're supposed to eat midway through the day to keep yourself energized and revitalized. Secondly, you're supposed to give your brain a break from any overwhelming or monotonous tasks you face while working. 


Neglecting your lunch break will only have a negative impact on you. You need food to fuel yourself, and you need mental breaks to avoid burnout (even if you work from home). People who neglect their lunch breaks to get more work done often end up contributing work that isn't up to standard. It's better for everyone involved if you simply take time for yourself during your lunch break without focusing on any work-related stressors.

Don't overwork yourself trying to impress

There's no shame in wanting to impress your new manager and co-workers as much as you can during your first week. Still, you should avoid overworking yourself in an attempt to stand out in a significant way. Since it's your first week, their expectations of you probably aren't going to be wildly high. That said, it's a great time to observe what's going on around you, get to know people individually, and become familiar with what your day-to-day tasks will look like moving forward. 


Keep in mind that this isn't the time to volunteer yourself for a major project when you don't even know your way around yet. Your first week isn't the time to pretend you're knowledgeable about subjects you haven't learned about yet just because you want to look like the ultimate team player. Instead of taking on loads of work you won't be able to handle, focus on taking in as much as you can first.

Display a positive disposition and attitude

There's something beyond infectious about a highly positive individual who has a sprightly disposition and chipper attitude. If your outlook on life is generally miserable and bleak, you'll probably want to tuck that away during your first week at a new job. You don't necessarily have to be fake with your level of positivity, but it's better to showcase an optimistic version of yourself in front of brand-new superiors and co-workers. 


The best part about starting a new job on a high note with happy-go-lucky energy is that a lot of the people you work with will be energetically drawn to you based on the liveliness of your spirit. It's easy to avoid people who slouch their shoulders, avoid making eye contact, and maintain a frowning facial expression. Instead of being that type of person, do everything in your power to act the opposite way. Displaying vibrancy and excitement about your new job will benefit you greatly when it comes to how others perceive you.

Politely refuse to partake in workplace gossip

There's no reason to engage in workplace gossip within your first week at a new job. You haven't gotten acquainted with everyone yet if it's only been a few days, so you definitely don't want to get caught up in any unnecessary drama. Workplace gossip is super common in places where cliques have already formed. If it's abundantly clear to you that your new job is filled with cliques of people who are gung-ho about gossip, do your best not to partake in any of those conversations. 


If you're stuck in a small circle of co-workers who consistently bad-mouth someone, simply keep your mouth shut without adding anything to the conversation. If it's possible to politely excuse yourself from the conversation altogether without coming across as rude, feel free to do that as well. It would be unfortunate to get caught up in petty nonsense between other people that has nothing to do with you so early on at a new job.

Analyze the high points and low points of each day

Since it's your first week at a new job, you have time to decide whether the job is actually your cup of tea. Just because a company offered you a position and you accepted doesn't mean you have to stay there forever. Take the first week to analyze the highs and lows of the position to make a solid decision about what your future there looks like. 


Plenty of people start working at new jobs before ultimately changing their minds once the first week comes to an end. If you decide that the job isn't a great fit for you after week one is over, it's your prerogative to tender a resignation letter and start looking for something different. Analyze the treatment you received from upper management as well as the level of comfort you felt with colleagues at your same level.

Analyze your day-to-day responsibilities and decide if they'll be easy enough for you to manage long term. Reflect on your mood as you walk into work at the start of each day and the mood you feel once it's time to clock out. Taking these factors into account as you make your final decision will help you determine whether it seems like a place you'd be happy to stay for years to come.