How To Survive Starting A New Job And Your First-Day Horror Stories

How To Survive Starting A New Job And Your First-Day Horror Stories
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This week on The Upgrade we’re discussing the challenges of starting a brand new job and sharing some of your horror stories about your very bad first days. It’s like the first day of school — but your career’s on the line.

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This Week’s Discussion: How to Start a New Job on the Right Foot

A few months ago we asked to hear about your worst experiences with your first day on the job, and you certainly delivered. From eerily empty offices to getting hit by a truck on your way out, some of you have had pretty cruddy first days. Luckily those horror stories aren’t typical of most new jobs.

Starting a new job is an exciting, nerve-wracking experience. You probably spent countless hours tinkering with your resume and rewriting cover letters, went through an arduous interview process, and were finally rewarded with an offer. You should be proud! But when the day actually comes your sense of accomplishment quickly fades because you have to show up and do the work while facing so many unknowns. How do you navigate your new workplace? What can you do to understand the new company culture? What kind of relationship will you have with your new boss? What if you are the new boss?

Joining us on the show this week is Adrian Granzella Larssen, editor-in-chief of The Muse. Adrian offers advice on how to set your expectations and pace yourself for your new workplace. You should strive to find a balance between eagerly hitting the ground running while also taking time to understand how your new workplace functions. Ask questions! And just be yourself — but don’t pretend to be too chummy and accidentally stick your foot in your mouth with a bad joke.

Our Upgrades of the Week

Every week to round out the The Upgrade with the little upgrades of our own. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Andy: I’ve recently been revisiting How to Practice, the Dalai Lama’s guide to living a meaningful life, and was reminded of the idea that you should put other people’s needs before your own. It might sound a little sanctimonious but I’ve been keeping that in mind — to live for the enrichment of the people around me.
  • Melissa: Melissa says she fell into the habit of just turning on the TV after a long day of work and switching into automatic mode, just because it’s easy. Now she’s taking pause, though, skipping the mindless shows, and actually taking time to have an intentionally calm, quiet evening.
  • Adrian: This week’s guest Adrian has decided she wants to get back into the habit of writing regularly and is using Stephen King’s book, On Writing, as a source of motivation.


  • I remember my SECOND day at work, it was April Fools day and someone placed glue pots on peoples desks upside down so the desk surface was holding the glue in.
    First person slid a piece of cardboard to avoid the glue spilling.
    The second person just lifted the glue bottle spilling the glue and I burst out laughing until I realized I shouldn’t be laughing like that as the new boy and the laughter fizzled out.
    I didn’t do the glue trick but I thought my laughter was ill timed. (I was only 18).

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