You charmed the recruiter, avoided most swear words during your phone interview, and padded your resume just enough to not raise suspicion. Congratulations! You got the job. So now what?
Heading to your first day at a new job can take you back to your first day at school. “Will the new kids like me?”, “Will I be able to find the cafeteria?”, “Why can’t I stop peeing in my pants?”
But worry not my fellow first-timers. At one time or another, we’ve all been there. As for me, I’ve been there recently, having just started working at Marketing in Color (MIC) three months ago. With the emotions still fresh in my mind, I wanted to write a brief primer for anyone out there getting ready to step foot in a new office for the first time.
The day starts with picking out your favorite outfit, the “never get a second chance to make a first impression” outfit. Sadly, my wardrobe could best be described as “what you’d find on clearance if Big Lots sold menswear”. But this isn’t about me, it’s about you. Let’s move on.
Once you’re looking good and feeling confident, it’s off to work you go. Not sure about traffic, you get there way too early and end up in the parking lot for 45 minutes listening to NPR. This is usually when the nerves kick in. When the appropriate amount of people begin to arrive, you exit your car and prepare to walk through the pearly gates of your new work life. Go get ’em, tiger!
“Hi. And You Are?”
Get ready to meet the group you’ll be spending more time with over the coming years than your own family. It’s a tall order. If the company is large, you may feel like a dust particle that got stuck in a microscope slide. If it’s small, you’ll feel more like you’re visiting your significant other’s family for the first time at Thanksgiving (you won’t know any of the jokes, everyone seems a tad suspicious of you).
You exchange pleasantries with the gatekeepers, do the tour, the meet-and-greets, then get settled into your new home away from home. If you picked the right company, and I’m sure you did, most of the people are courteous and helpful. The day flies by and you feel it went well. Susan in finance complimented your meeting doodle, you discovered your office door locks, and no one seemed to think the joke you told at lunch was inappropriate. Great job!
The First Day Can Tell You A Lot
Some people say they knew they were going to marry their husband or wife on the very first date. Similarly, you’ll probably be able to tell on Day One if this is a company you’ll want to spend a good chunk of your career on. How? It’s all about the vibe.
Every company has a vibe that reveals itself on Day One. I believe the preferred nomenclature in business speak is “company culture”. The brass believes this trickles down from the top, and it can. But the true soul of any company is the summation of its foot soldiers.
Now, this being a company blog, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the vibe I discovered on my first day at MIC.
My Kind of Place
When you work in a creative field, you get used to working with colorful characters. Some are quirky, smart, and funny. Others are brash, loud, and arrogant. Dealing with ego is almost a necessary evil in the advertising world – call it a work hazard.
That’s why it floored me to experience such a high level of talent at every level of MIC without the faintest glimmer of hubris.
I would learn this wasn’t by accident. Most shops focus squarely on work and resumés when mining for new hires. Not good enough at MIC. They focus on personality just as much as talent. Sure, you may have a great book, or a killer resumé. But do you have a good heart? Are you honest? Are you kind? Each employee is a puzzle piece, the perfect fit needed to join together and build something great.
The results of this experiment speak for themselves. The company continues to outpace its own growth projections, and the work keeps getting better and better.
One heartbeat, all working together, accomplishing amazing things. Pretty cool.
I’ve worked for a lot of companies who were proud of their perks: game rooms, on-site massage parlors, nap rooms. And while those things are great, at MIC I found a unique company perk that they didn’t even advertise: a family.
So good luck on your first day at the new job. Who knows, you could be walking into a family of your own. If not, we’re always taking resumés.