How to survive being the office newbie

If 80's pop icons *cough* have taught us anything, it's that the work induced dread of a monday morning is as about unwelcome as a Duran Duran tribute act. Now while the words of Geldof and The Bangles is hardly gospel, the familiar sense of foreboding at the start of a working week is nothing when compared to the vexed butterflies born from the prospect of a new job.

Embarking on a new career path is one of life's guaranteed apprehensions and knowing how to undertake the role of new kid on the block is usually something that comes 'step by step,' providing you're 'hanging tough.' While you'd expect to be supplied with some clear indication of how to manage your recently acquired work responsibilities, being the office newbie comes with no such manual.


So while you marvel in the congratulations of landing your new job, take a peek at our office newbie survival guide and hopefully you'll still be there this time next week.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail (or something like that)

If the Great British Bake Off has taught us anything (besides not stealing other people's custard, horror!), it's that success is all in the preparation. Chances are that you'll have no idea what you're going to walk into on the first day so it pays to consider every eventuality. With the exception of a zombie apocalypse, dress code and lunch arrangements are probably two areas that should be prepared for; however these uncertainties can be easily addressed with a quick email and meal deal.


You might also spend much of your first day filling in forms so documents such as passport, NI number and P45 might be required. Other things to bring should include a notebook, pens, bottled water and probably a stress ball or voodoo doll.

Your grand entrance

Entering the office for the first time can be a little like walking into a party where you're only familiar with the host, but this doesn't mean that you have to become a white-collar wallflower. While you might want to avoid the announcer, dry ice and pumping bass (you're not the heavyweight champion of the world), you should walk into the building with confidence and with your head held high. Everyone has had that awkward first day at work, so don't be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions if you need some direction. A good boss should greet you when you first arrive and from hereon in should guide you until you're settled in.

What's in a name?

It always seems so unfair when you start a new job. You seemingly have to memorise the whole yellow pages, while everyone else has to learn just one new name.yours. Though the numbers seem stacked against you, nobody can reasonably expect you to remember the names, titles and eye colour of all your colleagues on the first day or even week. People aren't so intolerant and will appreciate that you're just finding your feet, so if someones name slips your mind, just apologise, laugh it off and ask again.

Be a leech (but not clingy)

When trying to make home in a new environment, it can be helpful and reassuring to have a mentor type colleague to show you the ropes and give you the office low-down. While this paints the image of a wise, grey bearded gentlemen in a hat and mystical cloak, you're generally depending on the kindness of strangers. Unfortunately, not every new role you take will be in Streetcar Named Desire and you might just have to secretly nominate a seemingly sane member of your team to learn from. You don't want to become a burden though and find yourself in a position where you develop separation anxiety whenever they leave the room. By all means tap into their company knowledge and follow their lead, but don't shut yourself off from the rest of the office.  

A new job; a new start

A new job is a chance to reinvent yourself and portray some representation of the person you've always wanted to be. This doesn't mean that you suddenly become that guy who thinks he can pull off a waistcoat and trilby hat, but it allows you to bury certain flaws that may have hampered you in your old position. If you had a reputation for being opinionated and confrontational by old colleagues, this opportunity could be used to tone it down and display a more easy going manner. A new start gives you the chance to be that model employee you've always pretended to be in your interviews, so don't waste it.


Though your bookbag is now a briefcase, your first day at work is really no different than your maiden venture beyond the school gates; and just like those early academic years, your stint as newbie will soon pass. While it may seem that you'll never establish yourself as part of the office furniture, the mechanics of time suggest that you will, so until then just nod, smile and try and avoid the tag of office weirdo.