13 Awkward Things Everyone Does At Their First Job
People will try to prepare you for your first job. They'll give you pointers based on their experiences. They'll remind you to have a good attitude and to listen and ask questions. They'll tell you that if you show up as your best self, you'll do just fine. But you can't ever really predict what your first job is going to be like. Even the person who held the position before you might have had a completely different journey. So you can only rely on the advice of others so much. Because no matter how prepared you feel when you walk through those front doors on the first day — awkward, weird, and unexpected things are going to happen.
So no matter what your job is, whether you work in retail, childcare, hospitality, or corporate offices, your first year is going to be punctuated with kinks and a lot of trial and error. You're going to mess up and make mistakes, but then you're going to learn from them and be a better employee. The best way to understand what your boss wants from you is to understand what they don't want! These are 13 awkward things that everyone does at their first job, so don't feel bad.
Screw Up Names
Names are hard to remember, so you're bound to mess a few up. Try to keep them straight in a note document on your phone. Write down a few key characteristics of the person next to their name to help you. If and when you mess up someone's name, just apologize. You're human.
Eat In The Wrong Place
At some workplaces, there's a strange class system regarding lunch zones. Some areas are for senior employees. Others are for people who have been with the company for a long time, and other areas are for newbies like you. Unless you're told specifically where to eat, you're going to have to mess up a few times before you find a place you can peacefully chow down.
Show Up Late In Last Night's Clothes
You're young, you're living your life, you haven't yet figured out how to balance it. One night you'll go out and tell yourself you won't be out too late. But when you wake up at 5 a.m. in someone else's apartment and you don't have time to go home and change, you're going to just have to make do. If this happens to you a lot, keep a spare set of clothes in your desk.
Get Locked In The Bathroom
A lot of offices have tricky bathroom systems. There are special keys needed and they're a ways away from the place of business, down some narrow hallway. You will get locked in or out of the bathroom at some point. Always bring your phone with you for this reason.
Get Reprimanded For Casual Behavior
Try not to get comfortable at your workplace until you're invited to. You might see people who have been there for a while acting casual and think it's OK for you to, as well. It's probably not. Keep your professional demeanor up as long as humanly possible.
You'll definitely get lost on your first day, but you'll probably get lost a few other times. Your boss will send you to another floor or another office and it will take you way too long to get back because you don't understand the layout. When in doubt, ask for directions, even if it's embarrassing.
Let Your Personal Life Get In The Way
Always check your personal baggage at the door — that's an important rule of the office. But know that at some point in your first year, it will be hard to do. Do your best to avoid having an emotional breakdown in the middle of the office — at least excuse yourself to the bathroom.
Open An Inappropriate Email
One of your friends will send you an email that's got nudity, or drugs, or tons of curse words and you will open it on your work computer and get in trouble. It's bound to happen.
Break A Machine
It's probably going to be the copy machine because those are always faulty, but it might be your computer. IT will yell at you, you'll be embarrassed, it will all pass over like a storm.
Have A Coworker Find You On Social Media
Clean up your social media account before you start looking for a job. Even if it's set to private. You have no idea what mutual friends you might have with your future boss. The last thing you want is to work your butt off creating a professional image and reputation at the office only to lose it because a co-worker finds a picture of you doing a keg-stand.
Develop A Weird Crush
It happens. You spend a lot of time with these people. You will have a crush on someone. Try not to act on it. It will probably pass. And if it doesn't it might cost you your job. It's a place of work, not a dating zone.
See Your Boss Outside Of The Office
It will be awkward for both of you, so just smile, say it's nice to see you, and go your own way as soon as possible.
Piss Someone Off
You won't mean to do it, it won't be malicious, but it will happen. You can't please people all the time and one day you're going to run into someone who can't hold it in. Do not let go of your professional demeanor and do not raise your voice or lose your cool. This is an opportunity to show off your good character.
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