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How to Avoid Culture Shock Day One at a New Job

Culture shock on the first day at a new job is inevitable. It doesn't matter if you're used to pulling 14-hour shifts, your first day will undoubtedly feel like it's dragging on for eternity. This is due to a number of factors including endless hand-shaking, name remembering, smiling, nodding and generally being very, very agreeable.

Culture shock is something that is often overlooked by endeavoring new hires hoping to make a great impression day one at their new company. Moving between any company is difficult, even moving from one corporate cubicle farm to another can be a challenge. Even more strenuous is a move from a corporate office to a start-up environment.

Here are some tips to avoid culture shock on day one:

Do your research - You probably researched the company's history, maybe you even went as far as to look at a few hiring managers' LinkedIn profiles. But did you do any investigating about workplace norms? Find out when most people take lunch, what time people show up to work (the real time, not the one written in your contract), and whether or not it's okay to decorate your desk. Knowing a little more about the "human" element will help you avoid possible faux pas day one.

Prepare for your bodily needs - In my experience, training managers sometimes forget that you're a human. If you're lucky, they will have a robust schedule for you on your first day. If you're really really lucky, there might even be a built-in time for lunch. Sometimes they just plain old forget. Most people don't think about others' bodily functions. Don't be embarrassed to ask where the bathroom is, even if you already know. This will cue them in on what you need. Eat a solid breakfast, don't drink too much coffee, and for heaven's sake - wear an outfit with pockets, ladies! Having essentials on hand is important in case you get separated from your bag.

Dress to impress - During your interviews, you probably got some idea about how people at your company dress. You might not have been paying great attention though. Or the interviewers may themselves have been a bit more dressed up than normal. Look at sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and the company's Google profile to find pictures of their employees "in their natural environment." Always ere on the side of caution and overdress. It's not going to damage your career to be overdressed day one, but it certainly will if you walk in sporting a graphic tee. Check out this post by Workopolis on What to Wear on the First Day of a New Job.

Some amount of culture shock is inevitable, no matter how much you prepare. But with a little pre-planning, you can mitigate your discomfort and ensure any that you are feeling isn't making a poor first impression with your new work-mates!

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