Starting a new job is a mixed bag. A combination of stress and excitement that is akin to riding a roller-coaster for hours each day. Things do eventually change as your new job just becomes your job, but those first days can memorable.
My first day at LexBlog was supposed to happen the Monday after I signed my offer letter. This was nearly a week, which is a good amount of time to plan for the new position and get a little nervous about how your first day will go.
After sending over that letter, I received a call from Brian, the person who hired me. I thought I forgot to sign or initial something, but the call was to invite me to the office Holiday Party that night. The invitation went a little something like this.
We are really happy to have you aboard and we think it would be great if you came to our holiday party tonight. No pressure if you already have plans.
(REALLY Long awkward pause)
That pause was my brain catching fire. The invitation was unexpected and raised a bunch of questions that I had to answer myself.
- Why the heck would they invite me to this party? Is this a test??
- How much small-talk can I make with people I don’t know?
- What was the name of the people who I interviewed with? They had very similar names. Jordan and Jacob? Is Jorb a name?
- What should I wear? Do I have non-interview cloths that would be acceptable?
I would eventually accept this invitation to the party, but in that pause I created a super-storm of doubt and stress. All the anxiety that one would or could feel about a first week of work, all of the excitement of meeting new people, it was all happening tonight!
While it was not exactly what I expected in a first day, I think it was actually better. I remembered names, I found some clothing that was presentable, but had not been worn during the interview, and most importantly it all happened in one night. It was like a gift from the work gods.
All my new co-workers, many decently lubricated by an open bar, were friendly and because it was a party and I was a novelty, they seemed to go out of their way to spend a little time with me. This made my actual first day more like my 2nd or 3rd day. It wasn’t, “Hey, nice to meet you.” It was, “Hey, did you enjoy the party?”
We shared an experience. At an office that is how commonality is built, it is the basis for office culture. By inviting me to a party that was already happening, I got to slip right into the herd, without it being a big deal.
I saw some stuff that night, that I still have me scratching my head. Like this oddly competitive oven mitt game. I might not understand what it was, but the important thing is that I saw it.
So my advice to anyone starting a job at a new company is jump on the bandwagon. Attend things that are not exactly work related right away. It might be stressful in the moment, but the familiarity you build in those events will make coming into work and communicating with your new coworkers a whole lot easier.