How to Survive Your First Day on a New Job, by Personality Type

Alycia’s avatar

This is it, you’ve made it! It’s a big day – the first day of your new job. You may be fresh out of college, or perhaps you’ve just returned from a year volunteering overseas. Maybe you have spent the last few years working an unenjoyable but necessary job just to pay the bills. Whatever your circumstances, you are now standing at the precipice of your future, a new job that you hope will launch you into a meaningful career.

First Day on a New Job

So, how do you make the best of your first day on the job? How can you be sure to make a good impression, keep your cool, and do good work? Well, we have some advice to offer – based on your personality type, of course. All of the suggestions are helpful, in our humble opinion, so feel free to read all of them or just skip to your type. We’ve also included some relevant insights from our studies.

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We don’t want to take up too much of your time – we know you have a first-day-of-work outfit to pick out and lunch to pack. So, without further delay, here is our list of Dos and Don’ts for the first day on the new job for your personality type!



Don’t: Look for things to change right away. There’s a reason you were hired for this job, and it may be because of your ability to find things to change and improve. The first day, however, is more about getting acquainted with your surroundings – especially your coworkers. You don’t want to seem too excited to jump in and change things, so resist the urge to focus on what you want to get rid of and take time to get to know your role first.

Do: Listen and observe. Other people do know what they’re about and you most certainly can learn something from them. Absorb as much information as possible and take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn something. You’ll be on your way to “expert level” much sooner if you take this approach from day one.


Don’t: Try too hard... either to look smart or to “come out of your shell.” Don’t set yourself up to look like a social butterfly or a pretentious know-it-all. Just be yourself, so others know what to expect and how to best interact with you.

Do: Give it a chance. You may not click with every coworker or task you’re assigned to do on your first day, but don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm. There’s always day two, or even month two, to take a chance and re-evaluate what didn’t appeal to you on day one. It’s easy to find things that you don’t like about your job, but you’ll have a much better outcome if you spend your first day looking for things that you can appreciate.


Don’t: Take over and assume you know what to do. Even if you are in a leadership position at your new job it doesn’t hurt to spend the first day learning about the people you will be leading. In fact, take at least a few weeks getting to know your coworkers/subordinates/managers and the tasks for which you’re all responsible. The more you know, the easier it will be to implement your own ideas and get others on board.

Do: Pick a few candidates for mentors (not mentees – you aren’t there yet.) It may be hard to admit, but you likely still have a lot to learn about your new job. No matter how prepared and educated you feel there is always more that you can absorb – especially from those who have been there longer than you. Use your first day to scope out some potential mentors who can help you to truly hone your skills.


Don’t: Pick a fight. The first day is not the time to debate topics – especially on touchy subjects. It may be tempting to join in on the discussion about politics taking place in the break room, but not everyone may be ready for your “strong opinions.” Leave that type of discussion for the second day. Better yet, use your time outside of the office to get your debate on.

Do: Ride the curiosity wave. Ask lots of questions no matter how trivial they may seem (without being annoying, of course.) The more you ask, the more you will learn about your position, coworkers, and the company you are working for. Your enthusiasm for your job is likely to win you some points with management as well.



Don’t: Pick a pet project (task or person.) Give yourself some time to determine where (if anywhere) your “special attention” can go. Your tendency is to find something, even within your career, for which you want to be an “advocate.” This can be pushing a more environmentally friendly printer-paper agenda, or even giving extra support to an underperforming (potentially unruly) student in your class. These are wonderful things that should be done – but give yourself some time to see if that’s really where your attention is needed.

Do: Tune in to others. Focus on using your intuition to make some meaningful connections with your new coworkers/managers/clients/etc. Ask questions about their hobbies. See a picture of their family on the desk? Ask how old the kids are, or what kind of dog that is in the picture. Show your sincere interest, and you are likely to start creating some very useful and fulfilling relationships.


Don’t: Be a wallflower. There’s no need to be overly sociable, but don’t be afraid to be personable. This also saves you from having others assume you are incompetent or unintelligent because you were too timid to speak up.

Do: Have some confidence. Your natural inclination may be to assume that you aren’t prepared and don’t know what you are doing. This is especially true for Turbulent types. Keep in mind you were hired for this job because somebody saw your skills and potential. Leave your doubts at home on the first day especially – you’ve got this.


Don’t: Throw out all your ideas right off the bat. You may have some brilliant suggestions, but people who have been there longer will likely view your enthusiastic recommendations as a bit, well, presumptuous. The first day is all about getting to know who you will be working with and what you are expected to do. Save the big ideas for the following days.

Do: Endear yourself to others. Let’s be honest, having good relationships at work is a priority for you. Day one of any new job can be intimidating, but your magnetic personality can help. Use that natural charisma to win people over, especially that quiet fella over in Accounting – you definitely want him on your side.


Don’t: Start the party too soon. Getting coworkers hyped up for drinks and tapas after work should wait until at least day two. If you want people to take you seriously at your job, it’s best to focus on the tasks at hand. Don’t worry, though; you can definitely start focusing on the fun in the very near future.

Do: Play up the positive – in moderation. You are naturally optimistic, so use that skill to focus on the good stuff and calm your nerves. Just make sure to read the situation and don’t go too “sunshine and rainbows” if a more balanced approach is needed. Stay positive and pragmatic, and you will have a much more successful (and fun) first day.



Don’t: Focus purely on the facts. Sure, you need to get an idea of where the coffee maker is and how to acquire extra paper clips. Make sure you balance your need for practical facts with some positive social interaction on your first day. If you are too busy looking past your coworkers to scope out your new office, you are unlikely to gain any respect.

Do: Emphasize your skills. You bring a great deal of responsibility, practicality, and honesty to your new job. Make sure your coworkers/managers/clients see that from day one. You can do this by volunteering to work a less-appealing shift for a few days or even just by being punctual. (Like you would ever be late...)


Don’t: Be a doormat. People are perceptive and can pick up quickly (often subconsciously) when they believe someone will take on extra work – as you tend to do. Make sure your boundaries are in place from the beginning to avoid giving your coworkers the wrong idea.

Do: Build meaningful bonds. You aren’t a doormat, but you are loyal and very hard-working, and it’s always beneficial to let those you will be working with know that. You are more likely to see others reciprocate this behavior rather than take advantage of you if you build those bonds – with boundaries – right away.


Don’t: Move too fast. Even if you are being hired to lead others, it’s best to take time to see how things are done and build relationships before pushing your ideas and opinions forward. You’re likely to be working under someone (or several someones.) Even seasoned coworkers have much to teach you – and you have a lot that you can learn.

Do: Take your time to find your rhythm. You may have a desire to get your desk/workspace organized, your email account set up, and your entire schedule planned out for the next month on your first day. Slow down and give yourself some time to figure out what your priorities will actually be – not just what you think they will be. You’ll have plenty of time to get organized and figure things out. Don’t try to do it all on day one.


Don’t: Start passing judgement. First impressions are definitely important. However, your coworkers’ first impression of you will be soured if you pass judgment on anyone based on status, looks, or anything else for that matter. Especially on day one.

Do: Bring cookies (or other baked goods – you know you want to!) You’ll endear yourself to others and engage that part of yourself that naturally wants to make people happy – a win-win for everyone.



Don’t: Show up late (or not at all.) You like to live according to your own rules, but respecting the expectations of your new employer will ensure that you have a day two.

Do: Create a skills inventory. Use one of your greatest strengths by identifying which of your many skills you can utilize in your new position. You’ve likely been hired to this position because of the specific skills or talents that you possess. This doesn’t mean that those are the only abilities you will be using. Use your first day to scope out some places that you feel your skills will be useful, as well as where you can learn some new ones.


Don’t: Let yourself get too distracted. Lots of new things, people, and places can pull your attention in every direction. Prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by resisting the urge to take in all the new stuff on the first day. You have plenty of time to get acquainted with your surroundings – people included.

Do: Look for inspiration. Keep your eyes open for aspects of your job that can inspire and motivate you. It’s easier to get and stay focused on a new job when you can see the potential for growth on the job, and inspiration in your life in general.


Don’t: Jump the gun. Take your time to get to know the new terrain before letting your impulsiveness and desire for action take over. The first day of a new job is an exciting experience itself. Resist the urge to add any further thrills to your new job before you’ve even had time to figure out the wi-fi password.

Do: Focus on friendliness. You’ll win major social points being friendly and will be more likely to get support for some of your plans or ideas in the future if you make good connections right away.


Don’t: Bring the drama. You love connecting to other people, but giving them your life story or discussing any drama you may be experiencing isn’t a good idea on your first day. Save your complaints about the poor dating pool in your city and your insane student loan debt conversations for a later date.

Do: Let your colors shine. You are one of the most enthusiastic and friendly personality types. Let that show by engaging in small talk that expresses your excitement (and gratitude) for this new work opportunity whenever you get a chance.

So, there you have it – a somewhat comprehensive list of Dos and Don’ts for your first day at a new job. Our most important piece of advice, though, is to just be yourself. We may discuss personality types in a general way here, but we realize that your type is just one small piece of what makes you unique. Success in life, and on your first day of work, comes when you are able to align your strengths, skills, and passions in meaningful ways. We strive to provide you with knowledge and resources to figure those things out and achieve success in whatever ways you desire. So be yourself and, for goodness’ sake, don’t be late.

Interested in improving your skills and pursuing your personal development even further? Check out our Academy for great information, exercises, and resources to help you be your best self both professionally and personally.

Further Reading

Does Your Personality Type Determine Your Job?

How Does Your Type “Follow the Money”?

Ambition by Personality Type