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Girl guide: How to nail your first day at work

11 January 2017

Just as you wouldn’t attempt a faux glow without exfoliating first, starting a new job requires the proper prep

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

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Just as you wouldn’t attempt a faux glow without exfoliating first, starting a new job requires the proper prep

Anny Ma talks us through the five things you need to pack for your first day at work | @_annyma

1. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s common sense. Unfortunately ASOS doesn’t stock INITIATIVE – it’s something you possess, not purchase. The point of hiring new employees is to make everybody’s lives easier, and the better you can do that, the more valuable you’ll become. Always be the first to put your hand up to help out, but don’t make it a big deal. You’re not doing the extra work for the kudos; you’re doing it to cement yourself as a team player. Your girl squad’s only as strong as the weakest girl, after all. If you see somebody struggling with a task, lend a hand – even if they’re too proud to ask. If this means you’re sealing envelopes for an hour, or standing for three hours in your new heels looking for a file from 2003… well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Somebody’s always watching, and the pay-off will come down the track. Use your initiative, but also stay in your lane, which brings us to…

2. OBSERVATION. When you’re settling into a new job, it’s important to be memorable, but also to fit in. Yes, you’ve got a great personality and are an excellent addition to every team, but each company has its own culture which you’ve got to recognise and respect. At your last job, tagging your colleagues in memes throughout the day might have been standard, but don’t assume it’ll be the same everywhere. Watch how your colleagues act, and make sure your behaviour mirrors theirs. If people aren’t talking about what happened last night on The Bachelor, maybe leave that chat for wine time. Do your colleagues buy coffee before or during work? Is casual Friday a thing? Do people use their phones during the day? Eat your lunch at your desk for your first week, and see how everybody else behaves during a more relaxed time of day. If you’re not powering through your workload as you eat, familiarise yourself with the food chain to see where everybody fits in, especially in relation to you. Who knows, you may discover a role you’d like to work towards, or a person you’d love to have mentor you along in your quest to become Queen of the Yo-Pros.

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3. FLEXIBILITY is another key to career success, and we aren’t talking about your Downward Dog skills. Be prepared to stay late some days, and have spanners thrown into your workload at any given moment. How you deal with the spanners says a lot about you to your colleagues – do you have a reality TV worthy meltdown, or do you handle yourself with the diplomacy of Michelle Obama? Pro-tip: you want to be calm and positive like our fave former First Lady, offering more solutions than problems. If you’re unsure how to react, just think back to The Devil Wears Prada and ask “What would Andy do?” The Andy who gets advance copies of Harry Potter, not the Andy who walks away from her boss in Paris, obvs.

4. Speaking of Andy – she was a bloody cynic at the start of the movie, but with an attitude adjustment, she started to flourish in Ferragamo, thus proving that a bit of POSITIVITY always goes far. If people can’t remember your name, at least they’ll remember your sunny disposition. Even when your to-do list is longer than an emotional Facebook rant, just keep swimming. Look for the positives in each situation, and you’ll power through the work. And hey, if you can’t think of any positives, dream of payday and fake it till you make it! Hello, Deadly Ponies bag.

5. The hardest trait to put into practice is HUMILITY, but it’s also super important. When you’re new, you’re starting at the bottom. At your last job you were probs quite senior, and had super social relationships with your work mates. At your new job, you’re going to have to start over to find your gal pals, and do work you think is beneath you – like covering reception or making a soy matcha latte for a visitor. While a slice of humble pie might be hard to swallow, it’s the only zero-calorie pie that exists! Don’t think you’re too good for anything, because your #1 motivation should be helping your workplace achieve its goals. Your #2 motivation? Being able to pay your bills AND buy the bag.

Illustration: Makaira Lee | @makairalee
This article was first published in the launch issue of Miss FQ magazine.
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