What To Know Before Starting Your First Office Job

No matter what your first job is, it's totally natural for you to have questions. After all, who doesn't want a few tips before they start their first day? Luckily for us, the users of AskReddit joined together to discuss all the things to know when starting your first office job — and there's a ton of sage advice here. With over 1500 responses, Redditors shared the kind of tips you can only give someone once you've lived the office job life, which is helpful if you're fresh out of school or transitioning into the cubicle life from another work environment. The fact of the matter is that no matter what role you're in or what career path you're on, it's so important to make a good impression when you start in your new position, regardless of if you see it lasting for years or just a few months. And that goes for being a good team player with your coworkers and your supervisors.

One of the most important things to remember might seem kind of like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: Literally every single person at your job has been in your position before, because everyone is new when they're first starting out. There's always a learning curve, and it's assumed that you're going to ask questions, and yes, even make mistakes.

Aside from learning on-the-job skills, though, it's also possible that adjusting to a whole new work environment might result in you feeling uncomfortable asking your coworkers for advice. That's where this handy list of suggestions from AskReddit comes into play. Be sure to check out the full thread over at AskReddit, too.

1. Keep A Spare Outfit In The Office

This one can come in handy for a variety of situations, especially if you have a long commute to work or actually juggle multiple jobs at once and require easy outfit changes. It's also never bad to have an extra cardigan or raincaot on hand, just in case a coworker didn't plan ahead. Who knows, you could be well on your way to becoming the office go-to on your very first day.

2. Resist Gossip At All Costs

Yes, the middle school temptations are still there. Gossiping might make you feel like you're part of the team from the start, but the fact of the matter is it doesn't reflect well on anyone to engage in gossip, even if you're new. It's important to remember that people will eventually hear what you say about them, including your boss. Even if someone seems friendly, it's good to remind yourself that this is your workplace — you don't want to sacrifice your professional reputation for a few minutes of gossip in the breakroom.

3. Prioritize Being On Time

Even if people don't mention it, your coworkers totally notice when you're constantly late. Everyone runs late sometimes, of course, but you don't want to make it a habit. Even if it isn't directly impacting your quality of work, it's sending a message that you aren't taking the job seriously enough to arrive on time, and that's definitely not good.

4. Pack Your Own Lunch

This one depends somewhat on office culture (sometimes places will order in food for everyone, or go out and get lunch together, etc.) and your personal budget, but I think packing your own lunch is a great way to save money and eat food you enjoy. It's also a good way to give yourself a few minutes of alone time if you're feeling overwhelmed by the constant interactions with your coworkers.

5. Always Get It In Writing (Whatever "It" Is)

If you're worried about accountability or veering into new territory, it's always good to get instructions or approval in writing before embarking on a new task. Whether it's because you're trying to cover your own behind or just because you want clarity to double check on the details later, it's never a bad move to get something solidified on paper.

6. Treat Administrative People With Respect

Really, this one should be, treat everyone with respect, regardless of their role in the office. It's important to treat everyone with decency, no matter what role they are in with regards to your own position. At the end of the day, it's always worth it to greet someone with a friendly smile or make time for a little small talk in the elevator.

7. Have Hobbies Outside Of The Office

If you're someone who finds it difficult to not invest too much in a job or opportunity, it's always a good move to prioritize other hobbies and people that aren't connected to your workplace. Heck, even if you're someone who typically has a good work-life balance, it can still be useful to remind yourself of your other interests and passions. Thinking about work 24/7 can be draining, so give yourself something else to think about after you leave the office.

8. Stay Hydrated

There is basically no scenario where it isn't a good idea to stay hydrated. It doesn't hurt to remind yourself to drink enough water while you're in the office, either.

9. Remember That Emails Are Forever

Seriously: Emails don't go away. Even if you meant something in passing or meant it to be funny, it's usually better to err on the side of caution and not make that potentially damaging pun or joke. This is another reminder not to gossip, including via email or chat, about your coworkers or bosses.

10. Remember That Things Take Time

When you're working in a new environment, things will not be the same way that they are on your first day, or even your first week. When you are new, you are literally learning not only your job, but also how to interact with your coworkers. If you're super nervous or feeling overwhelmed, remember that this is a transitional period and won't last forever. Don't stress yourself out thinking something is permanent when it'll likely change as time passes.

11. Invest In Quality Headphones

What annoying situation can't be solved by investing in some quality, noise-blocking headphones? Whether it's your coworker's loud chewing or someone playing music a little too loudly from their own computer, there are few things headphones can't help.

12. Brush Up On Your Computing Skills

No matter what your role is, people always love it when someone is handy with computer programs. If you're fresh out of school or are one of the younger people in the office, people may very well expect you to know certain programs (like Excel) quite well. While you should of course prioritize getting your own tasks done first, it doesn't hurt to make it known that you can help others learn some basic but helpful computer skills, too.

13. To Sum It All Up...

Be prepared, avoid gossip or awkward conversations, and be polite! Educate yourself on your retirement plan and relevant information (do you even know what your pay cycle is, for example?) early, so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your finances ahead of time, not at the last minute. The readiness, as they say, is all.

Image: Fotolia