So you got the job – woohoo! You managed to blag your way through the interview, make them think you’re a grown up who’s not going to burn the building down, and now someone has agreed to pay you to be somewhere – what a result!*

After the euphoria of success wears off, you realise you now actually have to DO the job you were hired to do, and you’re worried because, well, you’re not really a grown up, and you might actually burn the building down. Fear not. Follow my top tips on how to nail your first day, and you will be absolutely fine.


*Perhaps payment is taking the form of brownie points /marbles/ kind looks, rather than cold hard cash, but hey, never mind, the important thing is you got the job.



This might sound like an obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. Do not set out to make an impression via your wardrobe. Take a look in the mirror and if your first day ensemble resembles any of the below, go back and change.

fur mariah carey Collage-of-Colors

 (NB The middle picture is Mariah Carey. If you actually ARE Mariah Carey you can probably get away with wearing this on your first day, if not, don’t even think about it).

Boring, yet profession should be the look you are going for – no statement T-shirts, no tie-dye and absolutely NO clogs.



Again, sounds ridiculously simply, BUT you would be surprised by the amount of people who on their first day, mis-time their route, get stuck in traffic and generally screw up the whole process of getting to work on time. Work out how long you think it will take you to get to work, double it, then add a fudge factor of about 30 minutes. You can remember this by using the simple formula:

T=2(Dx7)*{14+X-10} + 30

If however you are an idiot and you fail in this second point, here are some great ‘sorry I’m late excuses’ to get you out of a jam. These don’t just work for first days, these are good at any stage of your career.

“Sorry I’m late, my mum is scared of horses”


Great because: People don’t like to pry when it comes to family matters.

“Sorry I’m late, the tube wasn’t striking and it took me by surprise.”


Great because: Everyone hates the tube drivers, if you can throw in something about them striking, it will instantly win you friends and sympathy.

“Sorry I’m late, I thought it was Sunday because Saturday Kitchen was on TV.”

 saturday kitchen 

Great because: It makes no sense and it’s good to bamboozle people into forgetting you were late and start wondering what the hell is wrong with you.



The quickest way to impress your new colleagues is to remember everyone’s names after only being told them once. That way, hours later when you go up to a co-worker and say “Oh hey Kevin, here’s that document you needed help with,” or “hey Valerie, I love what you’re doing with your swivelly chair!” they will think, “Wow, new guy is great with names! What an excellent new addition to our team.”

The problem is that having a quick succession of people say, “Hi I’m Elaine” “Kevin” “James” “Valerie” “Aldegonda” etc, is the hardest way to try and commit names to memory. To help you imprint names onto your brain, here are some examples of the kind of handy tricks I like to use.*

ELAINE – Rhymes with brain – she’s got a big brain. Big Brain Elaine. Focus on Elaine’s massive head every time you speak to her and you will soon have her name nailed.

KEVIN – Rhymes with… oh, doesn’t rhyme with anything. That’s fine, just think to yourself ‘hey that guy’s name doesn’t rhyme with anything’ – see him as a failure in the rhyming arena. Just look at him, think failure, and you’ll soon have his name nailed.

JAMES – Rhyming won’t always work for you. Sometimes thinking of a celebrity or film could help. In this case, James and the Giant Peach – peachy bottom. Always look at James’ arse when you talk to him, and you’ll soon have his name nailed.

VALERIE – Bit of a stupid name. She doesn’t even look like a Valerie, she’s much more suited to Marge, or Barbara. In your head, rename her Margbara, then in your brain put an asterisks next to which you’ll need put a mental note ‘Margbara = Valerie’. You’ll soon have it nailed.

ALDEGONDA – Is this even a name? I mean you can’t be expected to remember names that you don’t even know how to pronounce. In some cases, just calling someone ‘bro’ or ‘hey there’ is perfectly fine. Before long the whole office will catch on to your casual friendly lingo. You’ll soon have it nailed.

*NB You will have to come up with your own memory tricks, depending on the names in question.


 Sounds simple but many people forget this, they think first days are all about ‘getting set up with IT’, ‘finding out where the stationary cupboard is’ and ‘establishing who the office bitch is’. No. The best thing you can do on your first day is actually do some work. If your problem with this point is that you’ve got no idea how to do any actual work, here are a few handy phrases you can throw into conversation to make people think you are working immensely hard.

“Does anyone have a stapler?”


This will make people think, “Wow – this guy’s done so much work he needs to staple paper together! That means he’s done MORE than one side of A4’s work. My god, he must be good.”

“Does anyone want my ticket to see Hamlet at the Barbican tonight? I’m not sure I’m going to get away in time.”


This one works on SO many levels. Firstly, your co-workers will think, “Wow, this guy is cultured, he likes Shakespeare. He must be smart, we should promote him.” Secondly they will think, “He managed to get tickets to a sold out show! He’s either really well connected or really on the ball – both attributes I admire in a co-worker.” Finally they will think, “Wow, he’s willing to give up those tickets to stay late and work – what commitment!”

One little sentence and it’s given you all that kudos.

*the only problem with this one is that you do actually have to have tickets to Hamlet and be willing to give them up for some minor office kudos.

“Does anyone have a log-in for Lexis Nexis?”


Find out one of the professional sounding websites used by your industry. (Lexis Nexis is a great one – its a service which provides online access to most magazine and newspaper articles ever written). Instantly your co-workers will think “wow, this guy knows about Lexis Nexis!” Next they will be wracked by self doubt thinking, “Shit, what does he need Lexis Nexis for? Should I be using Lexis Nexis!?” Finally it will make your boss panic as they’ll be thinking “Shit, we don’t have a Lexis Nexis log in, and we can’t afford one, gah! I’m useless at my job and everyone’s going to find out because this guy wants a Lexis Nexis log in!” Three-fold result.

To summarise, if you follow these top tips, you’re guaranteed to nail your first day and be on course to become the kind of responsible, hard working co-worker everyone enjoys being around. Congratulations.

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