March 05, 2010

The Art of the First Day

It was just this past Tuesday that I was packing up my cubicle, sending out last e-mail farewells and turning in my access badge in preparation to leave my quasi-government PR job for agency life. I left that day with a car full of mis-matched highlighter sets and a pocket full of dreams; tools I was counting on to get me through my first week. Although I was well equipped to highlight any document and stare dewey-eyed at my cubicle, I was hardly prepared to encounter the delicate dance that is the first day at a new job.

As humans, we become so accustomed to the cultural norms and nuances of our surroundings. We adopt them without realizing it and are usually only aware of them when our surroundings change. This being the case, I was the epitome of the proverbial “fish out of water” the moment I stepped foot in Pure. The staff was young and well dressed. The fridge was filled with various forms of flaxseed and granola, not Johnsonville breakfast sandwiches and Marie Collander’s macaroni meals. The computers were all Mac Books and there was nary a cubicle in sight. My, oh my. My first day had begun.

Trying to balance my giddiness and fear of inappropriate use of flaxseed, I happily went to my desk and went through the traditional introduction to my e-mail and phone. I eyed the other desks to see how people had “decorated”, what e-mail server they opened first, if they listened to music while working or not, etc. I was getting ready to attempt to appear like a regular Pure employee. That was, after all, how a successful first day should go, right?

I toured the office, went through a few HR formalities and played with the settings on my laptop so that I would have a friendly screen saver, er a professional screen saver, no, a screen saver that looked like I was “fun.” Oh dear, things were starting to fall apart. I was losing my cool. The first day was getting to me. I took a moment to collect myself and stared at the “Nature Images” I had opted for as my screen saver. Contemplating what the earthy images were saying to my co-workers about my personality, I made a pivotal realization about my first day: I should be embracing my “newbie” status and admit to not being a seasoned Pure-itan. I can ask questions about my clients and whether or not I should shut the outside door when I use the bathroom. I will be shy about taking lunch and drinking the company-provided soda. Ah ha! It was so simple!

So there I sat, 100% sure that it was going to be a much easier day and 0% sure how to use my new e-mail platform. It was going to be one of those days – one of those first days! Now, I was ready for it. The secret to the perfect first day revealed to be not a choreographed dance, but an impromptu free-style. It was time to start bustin’ moves. The lesson of this story is that the art of the first day is sit back and enjoy the ride. Be yourself, ask about things you are not sure about and approach everyone you meet as a new friend and a colleague.

*This also serves as a disclaimer to all Pure employees that I may approach you with several questions for the next few weeks. Thanks!

- Allison


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Great post! And help yourself to my flaxseed:) Welcome to Pure!

Congrats on the new gig, Allison, you're going to be fantastic!

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