What NOT TO DO on Your First Day At Work

On her first day at work, Bridget Jones slides down a fire station’s pole in a skirt. Unfortunately, the camera is directly under her, offering the live TV audience a very generous view of her bottom. This is Bridget Jones, from Helen Fielding’s column about a thirty-two-year-old single woman in London. At any rate, Bridget’s first day of work was a disaster and it wasn’t even her fault. Or, was it? Many who are reading this might be looking for tips on what to do on your first day at work. While we are excited for you and your new job (congratulations!) we’re not here to do exactly that. In fact, we are here to help you do some preparation so you can make a good impression at your new job. This means, we’re going to tell you what not to do on your first day at work, so you don’t mess up like Bridget did!

3 Things NOT TO DO on your FIRST DAY AT WORK


This is a rule of thumb – never bad-mouth your former employer, unless you’re talking to a family member. Nobody wants to hear it.

“So, why did you quit your job?”

“You see, what happened was…”

Shut it. May be you got fired. May be you quit with less than two weeks’ notice. May be you had a fight with your boss. May be you realized how awful the organization was. May be you burned out and stopped working to the best of your ability.

Whatever the case it, keep your answer respectful. Do not dwell on the negative. There are diplomatic ways to talk about certain issues such as termination and layoffs. In any case, do not cast your former employer in an unflattering light, you could face legal action. Moreover, you never know, someday you might bump into former co-workers at the new job. Do not burn the bridges by bad-mouthing your ex-employer.

Maintain professionalism at your new job. You should rather be focused on your ability and the ways you can help the organization. Always, take the high road.


If your new job has resulted in a significant pay raise, good for you. However, it’s rude and inappropriate to broadly discuss pay information with your new colleague. First, it can cause jealousy in the workplace. Secondly, if your new colleagues are unhappy about their pay, their productivity may take a hit. They’ll turn on you if they feel you are getting more than they feel they deserve.

It’s best to remain tight-lipped about how much you’re getting paid if you want to avoid an unnecessary strife.


“I had hired this female who spent the first two hours on her first day of work decorating her workstation,” recalls Deborah Kelly, an account executive at a public relations agency in New York City. “She became the laughing stock right on her first day at work.”

You’re moving into a new office, not a new apartment with your significant other. If you want to show your personality by decorating your cubicle, do it later when you’ve proved your worth at the new company. It’s important to have a tidy workspace which has a calendar, color-coded files, and neat folders. Some of these things make space more efficient which leads to better productivity. But don’t get carried away, especially on your first day at the job. Rather than appearing as a hard worker, you’ll give the impression that you care more about the visually appealing aspects of everyday life.

Congratulations, once again, on the new job! We trust you’ll make a good first impression on your new boss and co-workers. If you need workplace-related help or advice, you may send in your queries to workplace expert Jane Harper at

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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