First week survival

Well, not only did I survive my first week as an events coordinator, I think I thrived…maybe, possibly… who knows really to be honest, but I survived and that is what matters isn’t it?

Monday was a bit boring and well, anxiety inducing. I woke up way too early and by early, I mean whatever my fiance left playing on our TV woke me up at one in the morning and I couldn’t fall back asleep thinking about starting at a new job. So I focused on keeping myself calm, ate a good breakfast and then I was off. It was easy to start, fill out all the HR paperwork, and then it was desk set up, IT set up of my email and computer and then I was off. Thrown right into the fire, here is this contract and this contract and we need these from this venue and we need this deposit paid. No real training, no clear instruction just a lot of learning as I went. Considering no one told me I screwed anything up, I think I did everything correctly.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of each day, but I will say, looking over several websites that gave me tips on the best way to survive my first day, some seemed ridiculous and some were useful, but over the course of the last week, I discovered my own list of survival tips for your first day and week of school. So here it is.

1.) Be prepared for your first day, if you haven’t already filled out your HR paperwork, make sure you have your ID, SS card and direct deposit information with you. Don’t forget any other paperwork they may need for your position (certificates, diplomas etc…)

2.) Don’t wake up too early, like I did, I had time to eat breakfast, write an entire blog post, shower, blow dry my hair, curl my hair, do my make up and I still had an HOUR until I had to leave. You know what I spent that hour doing? Worrying. Freaking out, being an anxiety ridden mess until I finally got to leave for work.

3.) Leave ten minutes earlier than you think you need to each day, especially if you don’t know what traffic is like at that time, this way you can tell each day how much time you need exactly, especially if you need to pick up coffee, or in my case a smoothie, and you will still have time to get to the office, get your stuff put away before you have to start your day.

4.) Dress conservatively, especially the first day if you don’t have your handbook yet. In my case, I knew going in that my bluish/silver hair streak and tattoos were NOT going to fly, so cover them up. I got my hair stylist to return my hair to it’s natural color and that’s how I landed the job. After that it is all about what does everyone wear and what do I need to wear? My first day, I went simple, gray slacks, button up shirt, neutral color flats and then I observed what everyone else was wearing. Since then I’ve gotten some fun colored shoes, some more flowy blouses but I still know that I have to keep it covered up. If the job is worth it, so is the investment into the wardrobe that is appropriate for your job. Most importantly, bring a sweater, you never know what your office will be like, even when it is over 80 degrees outside, my office is held at 68 degrees, I was very grateful for my sweater.

5.) Be proactive with your training, if you find you have nothing to do, go find your manager and find out what you should be learning, even if it is just reading through old contracts, like in my case, or old files, at least you are not just sitting around.

6.) Move at their pace, whether you are a fast learner/worker or more slow, just move at their pace and then ask questions as you go, always try to make lists so you don’t have to ask about what you need to do multiple times and set up a calendar of all the things you have due on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

7.) Turn the phone off and put it away. In my case, I have a VERY strict NO phone policy when I am at my desk during work time. Which means if my phone is out, I am in trouble. Best way to remedy this, turn it off so you can’t hear it ring or vibrate. It’s actually liberating, I don’t feel as dependent on my phone, like I need to constantly check it. I turn it back on for my lunch, or if I take a fifteen, I’ll go call my fiance and just say hi, but other than that, I am no longer tied to my iPhone.

8.) Don’t get involved with the gossip of the office. My manager is close to almost every department because all departments pretty much have to report to the events department on what we need for specific events, so a lot of the time, other people wander into the office and just complain about things or other people. This was a HUGE downfall at my last job, everyone smiles to your face and then spits on you behind your back. This time, I don’t want anything to do with it, so I don’t say anything. I listen because it is always good to find out what everyone things of everyone, but I stay quiet and that is what I intend to continue to do. Gossip only breeds negativity and I quit my last job because of negativity and now I am not going to repeat that negativity.

9.) Read your handbook. Find out exactly what the expectations of the company are, the dress code, break policies, clock in/out policy, overtime policy etc, paid time off, holiday pay etc… That way, you know what your expectations are as a general employee, not just in your position. Reading my hand book, I found out that I not only accrue paid time off each pay period, but I also am granted a certain amount of “personal time” each year, “personal time” is if I have to go to the doctor, dentist, need to handle something one afternoon, I can ask for “personal time” which means that I will still be paid for the amount of time I miss that day. That means I don’t have to take a day off for a doctors appointment, only a few hours.

10.) Most importantly, you are new and expected to screw up. Don’t freak out, don’t try to hide it, just work to correct the mistake and ask how to avoid making that mistake in the future.

It was a long week, especially as I adjusted to the new M-F 8-5 schedule, but I was able to hold my own, figure things out and at some points even impress people around the office as I caught mistakes, took proactive steps and made sure that no matter what I seemed useful at all times.