What to Expect Your First Week on The Job (And How to Prepare)

The first few days at new job will likely overwhelm you. You’ll go home exhausted, falling asleep on the couch at eight o’clock. You’ll likely feel inadequate, feeling like you’ll never get up to speed. You might feel like the company made a mistake in hiring you.

Fear not. These feelings are only temporary. The first week is filled with a lot of new information. It will take you a little time to figure out what’s important, and what you can stick in a mental drawer and never think about it again.

Here’s three things you’ll have to deal with as you move through the onboarding process at your new company:

Rules and Regulations

Don’t panic if you get inundated with some much information about company policies that you can’t process it all at once. Learn what you have to know to get started (“How do I get into the building?” “How do I get paid?”). And worry about the other stuff later.

More important than mastering all the company’s policies and procedures immediately: knowing where to find them out when you need them.

Make sure you have a copy of all the pertinent materials (employee handbook, company policies, etc.) and put them somewhere you can access them (say, an organized filing cabinet…not at the bottom of the pile of papers on your desk).

Also, figure out who to talk to if any questions come up in the future. This will likely be HR, but different questions might route through different departments. There might also be union reps or employee discipline committees that handle certain issues.


Along with the onslaught of policy information, you’ll have a lot of paperwork to fill out. You’ll need to get all the HR and tax documents straightened out. They’ll also likely ask you to sign a number of disclosure forms, attesting that you understand various rules and procedures (such as the company’s sexual harassment policy).

The whole process of completing this paperwork can seem very mundane. But there are some things to keep in mind.

First, make sure to read and understand what you’re signing. The document might not come into play immediately. It may never get referred to again. But having it in mind might avoid a costly misstep in the future.

Second, make sure to get the paperwork filled out in a timely manner. You’re making first impressions almost constantly in your initial days in a new job. You want all interactions to be positive. So, don’t leave someone in HR angry with you for not getting things tied up quickly.

Meeting Everybody and Blending In

The first two items here deal with the formal process of settling into a new job. There’s an informal process as well that you have to keep in mind.

When you first come in, you’ll be introduced to a lot of people. Unless you have a special talent for it, you likely won’t be able to remember everyone’s name. Don’t feel bad. But make some effort to learn names as quickly as possible. Practice. Take notes. Pay attention.

Meanwhile, there’s a host of unspoken policies you need to learn as quickly as possible…hierarchies, personality traits, even things like who sits where in the break room. Pay attention to these as well and learn them as quickly as possible.

Settling into a new opportunity becomes easier when you’re excited about the situation and the employer matches your goals and skill set. Finding these positions becomes easier with a top-flight recruiting partner. Team up with LaborMax today to find your ideal position.

You’ll get used to all of this stuff in time. In the meantime, your most important near-term goal should be to find a go-to person to ask questions. You want someone knowledgable and willing to give some time to help you figure out the lay of the land.