Getting ready to start work can be very exciting—there are so many things to do. First, put yourself on a budget before you receive your first paycheck because if you do not, you will find yourself deep in debt before you even get paid. Very few people realize going to work every day is very expensive.

What Do I Wear?

If their workplaces does not have assigned uniforms, many people are late to work because they cannot figure out what to wear. The Salvation Army and other thrift stores have plenty of attractive clothes to get you started.

What Should I Eat for Lunch?

Try to get into the habit of fixing your lunch instead of buying each day. Peanut butter and jelly, tuna, spam, or anything that is filling can make a nice, healthy sandwich that will hold you until you get home from work. Many successful men and women bring their lunches every day inside their briefcases.

What Time Should I Leave for Work, and How Do I Get There?

The bus, metro, and subway offer discounts for frequent travelers, and usually, they are dependable and less stressful. Make it your routine to take an earlier bus or train. That way, even if you are running late, you will still get to work on time. Remember that you are on probation, and being on time is extremely important.

The First Day

Before you leave home, be sure to eat a good breakfast. It is important to feed your body and brain. You cannot concentrate when you are hungry, and today is going to be a very long day. Your body needs fuel for energy.

You are given a brief orientation, and then you are taken around to meet more people. Your first break has come. Do you have any questions you wish you had asked? Are you taking notes and writing down the questions so you can ask them later? Remember that your break of 15 minutes starts as soon as you leave your desk and is over 15 minutes from that time. Figure out the distance from your desk to the rest room or the lunchroom so you will have complete control of your time.

Lunchtime has finally arrived. Now you can enjoy your lunch, the one you made at home. While you are sitting in the lunchroom, look to see if the company has a microwave so that you can bring some of the soup mixes that require only water. Also, notice if they have a refrigerator available to employees. Never take someone’s lunch, no matter how tempting it looks. Once again, notice the time. You do not want to be late returning from lunch.

It appears as though the clock is moving so fast that your second break is now here. Now you have a better idea about what is going on and how you are keeping up with your assignments. If there is anything you do not understand, remember that you are in training, so ask questions. The only dumb question is the one that is not asked. Make sure the questions you wrote down earlier have answers beside them now. Be sure to do your followup.

The clock is now ticking toward the time you will be able to go home. Make sure you know the exact time you are off from work. You may notice people stopping work five and sometimes 10 minutes earlier, but you stop at the time assigned to you unless otherwise told by your supervisor.

While on probation, do not go to the neighborhood bar with your new coworkers. Everything that happens in the bar is discussed at work the next day at the water fountain or on the first coffee break. Keep your social friends and your work friends separate. The only time they should meet is at your funeral.

Most companies give Christmas parties. Many employees have lost promotions and sometimes even their jobs because of their behavior at the Christmas party. If you attend, be sure to leave while everyone is still on the first drink.

Office Policies

1.Be pleasant and courteous to everyone.
2.Do not participate in office gossip.
3.Keep a neat work area.
4.Clean up behind yourself when you finish eating lunch or while on break.
5.Don’t put your feet on the office furniture.
6.Help keep the rest room clean.
7.Don’t eat at your workstation.
8.Come to work on time every day.
9.Leave work when your shift is officially over.
10.Don’t bring your personal problems to work.
11.Don’t make personal calls or receive personal calls during your work time.
12.Give out your office number for emergency calls only.
13.Don’t invite your friends to come by and visit.
14.As soon as you are eligible to join the credit union, do so.
15.Do not begin a personal relationship with a coworker. No matter how attractive you think that person is, it rarely works out.
16.Do not remove any office supplies from the office, for example, pens, pencils, rubber bands, staplers, push pins, or anything you know is the property of the company. You can be terminated for having stolen property on your person outside the building.
17.If you are having problems, talk to someone because your work will show signs that something is wrong.
18.Remember to respect all your company’s rules and policies. Never share or give out confidential information regarding your company.

Your probation may be as short as 90 days or as long as six months. During this time, you will be making the decision whether this is something you can handle as a new career. You may need or want to be in another department, but this can only happen after you have completed probation. Always set your goals high. Make sure you are on time every day, are dressed appropriately, and have your mind set on the company’s business. If your supervisor asks to see you, don’t panic—he or she usually wants to get to know you better. Consider leaving the perfume or cologne off or put on very little as some people are sensitive to smells. When the employer and employee both want to be together, it is a marriage made in heaven. Most people spend more time with their coworkers than they do with their families.

Time management is one of the most important functions for anyone in any profession and, in fact, in life. How you handle your time, I believe, is one of the keys to success. Everyone has 24 hours each day. You have the power to determine how to get the most out of them. Some people will say the day goes by too fast for them to get anything done; others do not say anything, and they just keep on getting things accomplished. Planning your day the night before gives you extra time in the morning. Planning when you wake up takes precious time from that day. The sooner you wake up and get started, the more things you can accomplish. No matter how hard it seems in the beginning, you will soon be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Congratulations and much success on your new job!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Arlene T. Dyer is an internationally known motivational speaker, author, group facilitator, radio personality, and publisher. She is the Founder and President of M.Y.S.E.L.F., Inc. (Making Youths Successful Employing Lifetime Formulas) and M.A.M.A. (Making A Major Adjustment). Her areas of expertise include careers, women’s issues, abuse, at risk youth, achievement and peak performance, activists, authors, children, education, and the workplace. To contact Arlene, call (323) 754–6749 or visit