OK, you got the job. Good on you. Enjoy the congratulations from your friends and family. Revel in the jealousy seeping from every pore of your poor comrades, since they didn’t get a spanking new job and you did.
Now, you only have one problem.
You’ve got to lose your new job, and fast.
Considering that your employer was dumb enough to hire you in the first place, it’s not going to be easy to convince the firm that they’ve made an enormous blunder. You could show up naked on your first day, or arrive dressed in your best “My Little Pony” outfit, but that may not do the trick.
“Yes, he’s a little unusual,” your manager will say. “But let’s give him a few days to see how he fits in.”
You know what happens then. Those “few days” turn into a whole ton of days, until you’ve worked at the place for 30 years and have become a mindless, soulless shell of a human being.
Really, we can’t let that happen.
And that’s why you need to rush to your computer and read Rachel Gillett’s recent post on Business Insider, “17 things you should never say on your first day of work.”
Author Gillett believes you can avoid being fired if you avoid these 17 specific statements. I believe that if you should look at the 17 statements you shouldn’t say as the 17 things you absolutely must say if you want to realize your dream – a career that starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. the same day.
No-no expression No. 1 is, “In my last job…” The idea here is that you must demonstrate your commitment to learning how your new company works, and not be perceived as a know-it-all. This could make sense if you wanted to stay, but that is not case. So, just do the opposite and spend your first morning telling everyone how much better your last job was in terms of the benefits, the offices and the coffee. Be persistent enough and obnoxious enough – no problems for you, actually – and you could find yourself shipped back to your last job, pronto.
“When do I get a raise?” is another expression that could turn your supervisors against you, which is exactly why you should say it – loud and proud – on your first day. Maybe not when you walk in the front door, but after a decent time has passed, and you can show that you value your work, even if no one else does. “Hey, it’s after 10 a.m. and I haven’t had a raise, or a bonus or a big fat stock option grant,” you tell your boss. “I really feel underappreciated.”
According to Gillett, a similar situation arises if you point out, “BTW, I have to leave early on Fridays.” I say – why wait until Friday? “BTW,” you tell your boss on your first – and hopefully, your last – Monday. “I have to leave early today, and Friday, and every day in between. But don’t worry – BTW, I’ll be coming in late every day, too.”
“Hang on … I’m just finishing up this HR paperwork” is another must-not-say. Unfortunately, this may not work as a way to alienate your manager, since she has been with the company for 15 years and still hasn’t yet finished up her HR paperwork yet.
The simple question, “Who should I meet and who should I avoid around here?” is also not considered a good first-day comment since “this is basically asking coworkers to gossip.” It also doesn’t work for our goal of putting you out of work. When your co-workers realize you are an opinionated snoop who loves to dish, they’ll never let you go.
Also, you’re not supposed to say “What’s the holiday party like? Do we get bonuses or a ham or something?” This is exactly why you should say it. Considering your puny salary, it might be worth hanging on to the job if you’re going to get a ham out of it.
“That makes no sense” is the kind of first-day comment that Rachel Gillett believes “makes you seem like a Negative Nancy or – even worse – just plain dumb.” My fear is the opposite reaction. Pointing out that something – actually, everything – about your new job “makes no sense” is not only going to keep you on the job, but will probably get you promoted.
You could be the first Negative Nancy to realize that on day one.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.