Unemployed dad’s Weblog

January 8, 2009

Fantastic First Day at Work

The exhaustive job search finally over you head to your new employer, ready for action, excited about the myriad of possibilities that await you at the new company, and relieved to have landed.

Or are you?

Executive HR consultant Eli Bartkowski thinks that both employees and their employers are highly vested in what he calls “Day one impact.”

Bartkowski recommends the following “Do’s and Don’ts” in setting the tone for a “fantastic first day of work.”

  • Do take time to soak in the surroundings, get to know your fellow employees at a cursory level, but keep an eye out for non-verbal cues to the new personalities you will be working with.  “Listen twice as much as you talk” is Bartkowski’s advice. 
  • Don’t be fooled by job titles.  In many organizations the most influential workers are not easily identified by their title.  “Just because the door plate says VP doesn’t mean that the individual has more pull than a first rate administrator, or expert field rep”
  • Do size up the toughest person in the office, and then challenge them to a fistfight in the company parking lot.  “This way they know you mean business, and nobody will mess with you after that” offers Bartkowski.  “Make sure to do it when none of the bosses are looking, but with lots of people around, so everybody hears about it.”
  • Don’t worry about raising eyebrows if you leave someone with a shiner.  “If someone asks what happened say ‘they must have tripped or something’, if pressed for more details, especially among office snitches, glare at them menacingly and say ‘you didn’t see nothing’, or ‘you’ll keep quiet if you know what’s good for you’, either are effective” he adds.
  • Do eat someone else’s lunch as a great way to mark your territory.  “I advocate rifling through the office fridge and picking a random lunch bag, polish off the contents, and leave a handwritten note that says ‘Thanks for the grub, I’ll expect the same tomorrow’.  Handwritten notes are a lost art in the electronic age we live in; they really speak volumes about character.”
  • Do grab an MP3 player, or digital photo frame grab off their desk of one your counterparts and say something like “Nice i-Pod, it’s mine now”.  “What are they going to do about it?  Nothing, that’s what they are going to do about it” adds Bartkowski.
  • Don’t worry if you lack the physical attributes necessary for a great first day using Bartkowski’s method.  “No problem” he says, “Find the prettiest and most popular girl in the office and pay her $1,000 to pretend to be your girlfriend, like in the Patrick Dempsey movie ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.   Once your counterparts see you hanging out with her, they will want to be your friend and you’ll get invited to all the parties.  And it works for her too, because she can use the $1,000 to pay for a new suede outfit to replace the one she borrowed from her mom without asking and ruined by spilling red wine on it.” 
  • Don’t forget your unpopular friends because you are now part of the cool crowd.  “You’ll come across as a real asshole if you let it go to your head” Bartkowski notes.  “Better to keep it real.”

A great first day is critical to establish a long and mutually beneficial career between a new hire and his company.  As Bartkowski puts it, “It’s all about the win-win.”



  1. I found success with Bartkowski’s methods. To this day, Cupcake still brings me lunch every day.

    Comment by marybt — January 8, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  2. That’s awesome! And she’ll keep bringing you lunch if she knows what’s good for her!

    Comment by Michael — January 8, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  3. Very funny stuff. I’m coming back here for sure.

    Comment by yikbo — January 8, 2009 @ 9:09 am

  4. Thanks! I hope the new couch is meeting expectations!

    Comment by Michael — January 8, 2009 @ 9:10 am

  5. Great tips, I’ll start doing this in my student corridor.

    Comment by LimEJET — January 9, 2009 @ 12:29 am

  6. Thanks for resetting my attitude and introducing a new command for respect in the workplace. It all begins on day one.

    I’ve returned to light and airy.

    Comment by iowacompact — January 9, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  7. Thanks! You only get one chance at a good first impression!

    Comment by Michael — January 9, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  8. But you can’t say light and airy, you have to be light and airy!

    Comment by Michael — January 9, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  9. I have NO doubt you will be a great asset to the company you started working for. They are lucky to have YOU! Have fun!

    Comment by Doraz — January 9, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  10. I wish! Actually I don’t wish, I truly hope I never get a job ever again!

    Comment by Michael — January 9, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  11. Does this apply to temp jobs as well?
    I love how you can create a different persona with each new place (school, work, rehab…).
    I’ve never been the office slut.
    Or the office alcoholic.
    Or I could bring pictures of my fake kids – but it would be the model kids they sell already in the picture frames. And then be the annoying mother who always shows pictures and talks of her kids – ‘Timmy did the funniest thing this morning! Oh, and Annie is quite the actress – what a drama queen! Why, the other day…’
    Then I’d decorate my office with something bizarre like unicorns and bumper stickers that are only about cats.
    Now I’m actually looking forward to this upcoming temp job!
    (Question: should I have an unidentified accent?)

    Comment by i was normal (once) — January 12, 2009 @ 11:02 am

  12. That’s awesome! I wish I could advise you, though I’m really great at short term pretending, the adage about dramatic and comedic actors applies to me: Dramatic actors are good at playing other people because deep down they can’t stand themselves, and comedic actors are bad at playing others because they can’t stand not being themselves!

    Comment by Michael — January 12, 2009 @ 11:11 am

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