Keen to make the right impression in your new job? Our indispensable guide will ensure you survive any first week wobbles.
You've just landed that juicy new job, and though you can't wait to leave your old one, there's something slightly daunting about being the new kid on the block. Will they like you? Will you like them? Will you like the job and, what's more, are you up to it? Only a conceited buffoon could claim to have never held these fears…
1. Comportment with colleagues/subordinates. It's important to strike the right balance. Be polite and friendly, yet do not appear desperate to make an impression. Most people will be naturally suspicious of you and are looking for a scapegoat. Remember, in every workplace there's always one person who is universally hated - and you don't want to be it.
2. Behaviour with the boss. No one likes a super-keen employee so make sure you are not branded as one. Never leave an apple on his desk or howl at his jokes in front of colleagues. Never talk to him with holy reverence; approach him as an equal even if he makes you feel like a jabbering fool.
3. Peoplewatch. If you are of a garrulous nature, now is the time to tone this down and hone those antennae for conversations by the water cooler or in the smoking room. Keeping a low profile will enable you to suss out the dynamics of office politics and the boss's sexual peccadilloes.
4. Don't be lairy with the opposite sex. Even if there is someone whose mere presence gives you palpitations. Always play it cool and never hit on anyone at work, especially in the kitchen or, heaven forfend, the toilets. If you fancy your boss, start taking bromide in your tea.
5. Be sure to blend in. At first anyway. You will automatically zoom to the top of the office gossip agenda so don't fuel it further by bizarre behaviour. This includes brandishing your air guitar ‘skills' at the earliest opportunity and baking the boss a ‘life-size' breast cake for his birthday.*
6. Make coffee. Or tea. Never forget to make your drink round or pop to the coffee shop when it's your turn. This assures instant popularity, disarms potential enemies and gives you the chance to ingratiate yourself with all and sundry.
7. Be nice to the receptionist. The tea lady. And the cleaner. These are the people who really wear the trousers in any company. Never be too hoity to fraternise with any of them, especially the receptionist who will appreciate you stopping for a chat so that he or she can avoid answering the phone.
8. Go for a drink after work. Do not ‘go for one' and then down ten - you will say or do things you'll live to regret. Always make sure it is after work and not at lunchtime - there's nothing worse than a pissed newbie. More importantly, never hide in the toilet when it's your round.
9. Don't reveal your religious beliefs, political bias or unusual hobbies. Lie low on these subjects until you can be sure there is someone you can trust or that most of you fall into the same camp. No one need know you're a Klingon-speaking mormon with an interest in guns.
10. Don't reveal your private life. Raving to everyone about your gorgeous wife/ husband/partner/cat will just make you appear weedy and spineless. Plus it'll ruin your chances of copping off at the office Christmas party. And, quite frankly, what could be worse?
* This is taken from a true incident. A female colleague called everyone into the meeting room, whereupon she unveiled the boss's birthday cake which she'd baked and decorated herself - with life-sized breasts and front bottom, complete with stomach-churning detail. You could've heard a pin drop and she got reported to HR. Funnily enough, she wasn't having an affair with him...