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Season 1, Episode 2: “How Should I Behave on My First Day at Work?”



Wow, thanks to all the folks who left a nice review on our very first episode! Please continue to ignore our amateur hour aspects. Squint hard and see only the good!

The second episode of our podcast returns to the realm of the workplace, where we give A++, very sound and rational career advice to a listener.

Today’s question

“Hey Bitches! I hope you can help me on time. I recently accepted a job offer after 6+ months of being unemployed!! I start this Monday and I want to know: what are the most important things you should do on your first day at work?

I’m a fresh grad so all this is new. I keep finding lists with like 15 things, and that’s way too much to keep track so I need help! Also one bit of advice I saw often was that I should ‘check in’ throughout the day with my manager/boss: how exactly do I do this?”

– A Patron

All love to our Patreon donors for sponsoring the first season of our podcast.

Episode transcript (click to reveal)

Theme Song 0:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
 
Well here’s the ‘sitch
We’re gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches
 
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you

Kitty  0:31
You know I’m very sad that I can’t hear you sing on the reg. I think this will delight our listeners. I just decided that they’ll be delighted.

Piggy  0:43
They will be delighted!

Kitty  0:45
When you and I were roommates it was always so much fun to listen to you practice songs on your guitar and to practice singing – like of all of the roommate noises that one can be expected to tolerate within their lifetime, that’s like way way way over on the side of the spectrum. That’s like the best possible roommate noises like hearing like lovely, lovely singing, lovely music playing. Besides like, I’m going to abuse my personal knowledge of you and your relationship here.

Piggy  1:22
Here it goes.

Kitty  1:23
It was you playing a guitar that brought you and your then boyfriend together.

Piggy  1:31
That’s true. I have had one of my guitars as long as I have had my husband because we went to the guitar store to pick it out together and I won’t repeat what he said because it was very sweet and gross and no one wants to hear that.

Kitty  1:49
Anyway, so what happened was…

Piggy  1:50
NO!

Kitty  1:51
She was playing this particular guitar, which is like – it’s a very classy, very pretty looking guitar. It’s got like I’m like mother of pearl accents and it’s got like this sort of like, um, like reddish pinkish sort of rosewoody type look to it. And, and she’s strumming and she’s like, “I don’t know. What do you think boyfriend?”

Piggy  2:14
I don’t sound like that you motherfucker.

Kitty  2:16
And he was like “I really liked this one. I think it looks nice with your hair.” And then he reached and gently, gently caressed your cheek. That’s how I remember it. So see if you don’t tell your own stories, then I’m going to add some spice and then he’s like, “Oh, when you sing with this guitar, it leaves those bass in your mouth and it’s perfect for my tongue to just go ahead and slip right in there.” I don’t know why he’s a surfer.

Piggy  2:43
That is completely false. What he said was “When you sing with this guitar, it looks like my dick can fit into your mouth perfectly. It wasn’t his tongue. It was a dick. Get it right. Goddamn.

Kitty  2:56
Thank you. What did he really say?

Piggy  3:00
He said something like, well, I don’t really know much about guitars, but I really like this one because it looks kind of cool with your hair.

Kitty  3:08
Wait, Let the record reflect…

Piggy  3:21
Should we get it going then?

Kitty  3:23
Yeah.

Piggy  3:25
I’m Piggy.

Kitty  3:27
I’m Kitty and I’m cutting all of that out.

Piggy  3:28
Yeah, nothing’s staying from the intro. We are the bitches in Bitches Get Riches.

Kitty  3:34
We are five little kids in a trench coat.

Piggy  3:36
And we’re here to convince you to buy us booze and cigarettes from the corner store.

Kitty  3:40
Our time on this planet is limited.

Piggy  3:42
So let’s get started.

Kitty  3:43
Today’s letter comes to us from our Tumblr. If you aren’t already following us on Tumblr, go to BitchesGetRiches.Tumblr.com and we ask and answer a lot of questions there. So the question is, “Hey, bitches. I hope you can help me on time. I recently accepted a job offer after six-ish months of being unemployed.” Yay!!

Piggy  4:06
Woo!

Kitty  4:07
“I start this Monday and I want to know what are the most important things you should do on your first day of work? I’m a fresh grad. So all of this is new. I keep finding lists with like 15 things and that’s way too many keep track of so I need help. Also, one bit of advice I often saw was that I should check in throughout the day with my manager or boss. How exactly do I do this?” This is so pure.

Piggy  4:08
I know it is so pure, they just want to do a good job.

Kitty  4:37
We’ll help you.

Piggy  4:38
We are here to help. Bitches to the rescue! So first of all, like I feel like some combination of all the like 15 things you should do on your first day of work like that’s probably all correct. But I do want to say like the most important thing I can recommend is don’t try too hard.

Kitty  4:58
I am so glad that you said this because you and I are on the exact same page about this. In my very first ever corporate job. One of the best possible lessons I could have learned, I learned in my very first week, and it was to chill the fuck out and stop with the overachieving shit. I think a lot of people in school get the idea that I should give my all to everything, which is amazing. But when you start working in a communal workplace, unless you’re working in a role like sales, where you’re kind of like out on your own, when you’re working as part of a team, you have to pay attention to the pace that everyone else works in. And you need to learn that if you don’t match that pace, you’re either not carrying your weight, or you’re making everybody else look bad. And this is something that no one told me about, but I remember very distinctly on my very first day: My mentor, who was basically in my same role, but much more senior than I was, she said, you know, here’s a document that we need translated into Spanish, very simple design task for a beginner, just take the existing document, strip it out, put in the the new content from the copy deck. And I came back to her 20 minutes later, and I was like, “Okay, I did that. Now what?” And she sort of paused and looked at me a little bit like, “Oh, I thought that was gonna take you like half of a day. So I have one other thing for you, but then I’m gonna have to start thinking of things for you to do.” So I took that, as that person was telling me quite literally, that is the type of thing I expect you to spend half of the day on in the future. So the kind of stuff that maybe seems like for a student like you’re, you’re thinking about like, “Oh my god, the deadline is on this date. So I need to have it ready to go by this time” Reorient yourself so that you’re thinking about it more in terms of like, what is the current pace of the team? And how can I match that in a way where I’m not a crazy outlier working either very slowly or very quickly?

Piggy  7:22
Yeah, absolutely. And that kind of ties into their final question, which was, you know, how to check in with the boss.

Kitty  7:29
Please not every couple of hours.

Piggy  7:30
Yeah, exactly. And I  say this as somebody – I used to be the internship coordinator at my old job. And I would have – we didn’t have a lot of space. So very often, the intern was sharing an office with me, I had kind of an extra desk under the window. And, you know, so they were like, in my space, and I was, you know, teaching them because they’re an intern, but I also had my like, regular job to do. And sometimes I would have interns who like, as soon as they would finish each task, they’d be like, “Okay, I got I’m done with that!” And it would definitely be like faster than I expected them to. And like I would sometimes run out of like prepared things for them to do so I’d be like read this chapter in this book like read this whole manuscript just like finding stuff for them to do that would give me the time to continue my job and I do think you know an internship is very different from a full time job and you know, your first day your internship is going to be a little different from your first day at you know, a job, but you can benefit from like spending some time you know, Kitty mentioned reading the company handbook but I would say also just like familiarizing yourself with any like database or file organization or like internal server like just like know your way around the company’s – this is gonna sound so fucking lame – like the company’s internal you know, file organization like my new job which I’ve had for a year and a half now, so it’s not really do but like my first week was just like, every time I tried to do something new was like, “Okay, I don’t know where those files are located, I don’t know how to find that spreadsheet, etc, etc.” So, you know, I spent a lot of time just like figuring shit out and like working on the processes and learning that. And that’s stuff that like someone can explain to you, but you also should, you know, take the time to poke around and get your hands dirty and learn it yourself as well. But, you know, don’t, don’t feel bad about bothering your boss. Don’t feel bad about bothering your other coworkers, but definitely, like, try to keep that to a minimum. And you know, get to know them ask questions that are pertinent. But just be aware that it might be your first day but it’s their 100th or whatever.

Kitty  9:39
Yeah, sometimes – I know this is true with interns. I’ve been in the same situation and it’s true of new employees as well that sometimes getting stuck with babysitting them is kind of its own task and it’s not one that people love. So get comfortable with like – have something to do to occupy yourself. I think it’s incumbent on you to tell people “Hey, I’m in I’ve got my my emails working my voicemail setup I did all the things that IT told me to do on my first day, like I have capability now if you want me to help you with anything, just come over to my desk and grab me.” Once you’ve told people that have made made everyone especially your boss aware that like “I am here now and ready to work” after that, like chill out, go like read some fanfiction or something to like occupy your time don’t don’t do the like thing of of kind of popping up at somebody’s desk every 10 minutes going like, “Okay, I did this and now what?” because that in and of itself is kind of its own task for your manager. They hired you because they want you to a certain extent to be a self starter and if no one’s giving you something to start poking around. What are some of the things that you would say on your first day are really helpful to start doing?

Piggy  11:07
Let’s see, I know we’ve sort of beaten the dead horse of you know, don’t try too hard. Don’t be all up in people’s business. I would say, you know, introducing yourself to the people you’re going to be working with is a great thing to do. Get to know the people you’re going to be working with, so that you have an understanding of you know, their work style and what they need from you and who they are as a person. I thought that one of our production editors didn’t like me for the longest time because she has a very abrupt email style. Turns out she’s the one who like brings cookies to the office every Friday and is like a mother hen. Yeah, she just is so busy that she prefers to spend her time not emailing. So her emails are very short, like very like, like I said, abrupt and they come off as rude when really she just is trying to maximize her time efficiency.

Kitty  11:56
I think that’s a super valuable thing to point out because I think one of the most valuable things you can do, aside from learning, you know, set up one on ones with anyone who’s on your team, anyone who you might end up working with, even if it’s someone infrequently and just say like, I’d love to get a coffee or tea with you, or lunch or snack and just hang out, “Tell me about what it is that you do. Tell me about your role. How can I help you as I get up to speed on my role”, but then also just like make chit chat, get to know them as people – that’s going to be incredibly valuable. If you can know like, here’s the communication style of this particular person, here’s what they’re passionate about outside of work, like all of that’s going to be really valuable because I found for what it’s worth in working in corporate America, the number one thing that will make me butt heads with coworkers is when we have very misaligned sense of stakes. There was I remember there was an internal client that I was working with and she was being such a pain in the ass on a regular project of mine. Like, from my perspective, there’s nothing special about this project, but she was just being incredibly exacting, and very for me like bossy and up in my shit. And I was like this is not working. This is creating conflict. So I kind of just like got coffee with her just to sort of reset and we ended up just chit chatting and not talking about the project. And what I learned from that chit chat was that this project represented like half of her goal for the year. So to me, it was just a regular project, but to her, it was the culmination of a massive amount of work that very much determines whether she has a budget next year whether she has a job next year and like it was really high stakes. Once I understood that I was like, Oh, we are going to communicate so much better because now I’m going to understand why everything is so high stakes for you in this case. And I’m just like, over here like, with my, like, stoner attitude like, yeah, I guess it’s good enough, whatever.

Piggy  14:18
No, absolutely. And I like, it’s, it’s weird that on a first day, you know, it’s so much about the people and learning their styles of working and communication. But that’s really what’s going to help you the most, I think, and I also want to caution, any, you know, first day employee from oversharing about themselves. And this is a really weirdly specific bit of advice, but it’s because I’ve met people in the past who like they told you their whole life story. It’s like, “Okay, I’m just trying to work here.” But, ya know, it’s, it’s hard to sort of warm up to somebody who wants to tell you their whole life story on their first day of work rather than you know, just like focusing on learning things that are useful to both of you, such as you know, your communication style and how you prefer to work together and the speed at which you work. I’d also say like, don’t worry too much about what people think about you. If I may share an anecdote from my first day of work at age barely 23 this is going to sound so stupid, but I, I showed up to my first day of work. And I was you know, I was dressed up a little more than I needed to be for the office, but it was it was still you know, it’s fine. It’s a professional setting and I parked my car and before I went in the building, I was like, I don’t have like a very professional looking lunch box or anything. And I don’t know, like, when people take lunch or they eat at their desk, like what’s the protocol and I just like totally psyched myself out because I was so worried about like, looking lame by taking a lunch break that I didn’t know what to do. So I just, I left my lunch in the car. It was like a sandwich or I just left it in the car. And at like 2:30 or 3, I was so hungry that like I couldn’t hold out anymore and I hadn’t noticed like anyone else leaving for lunch or anyone saying like, it’s lunch hour now and like, up to that point I had only had either retail jobs or service industry jobs where it was very clear like when you broke for lunch. So I was like, god I’m hungry. I just, I can’t help it. I like I’m gonna sneak down my car and get my lunch. Totally like idiot move, right? I should have just like eaten my fucking lunch, like bought into the building in the first place. So I go down and get my sandwich and on my way back to the office I pass my new boss in the hallway. And he’s like, “Oh, you’re just eating lunch now?” And like laughed out loud. And I was like, “Oh, God. Now I look even more awkward for like, overthinking this and waiting until so late to grab my lunch but I’m so hungry and I just like, it’s like it’s so bad”. So the moral of the story is just like, just do natural human things. Don’t overthink it. Nobody fucking cares when and where you eat your lunch, especially if it’s an office job, like, just calm down. It’s going to be okay. Don’t let your weird anxieties get the better of you totally.

Kitty  17:13
Totally. I know I’ve definitely had those kinds of like, so like, do people ask to go to the bathroom or do they just get up and do it? Is it like high school or like college? Do we need passes?

Piggy  17:27
I’m like, ready? And like ready to go home at five o’clock? I don’t have anything else to do. Can I just leave? Who do I check with?

Kitty  17:33
All of those feelings are a bunch of totally normal and I think you have the most goodwill when you are a brand new employee. So that’s the time to ask questions that you’re afraid might make you sound dumb. In the past I’ve heard a lot of advice that like first impressions are everything, first impressions are so important. I guess maybe there are some like really judgmental people who their opinion of you is formed in the first five minutes of your first day there, but I will say, I will share an anecdote about the last time I had a first day on the job. I missed my orientation, because as I was driving in, on my very first day, my car died on the side of the highway. And I was so overwhelmed. I’m like, it’s my first day. So I’m like wearing more makeup than I usually do. I’m wearing like a nice dress. But now I’m broke down on like September 1st, and it’s like 90 degrees out. So I’m sweating like a hog, calling a tow company.

Piggy  17:39
Hey now! Hey, now hogs – let’s not denigrate the noble swine species.

Kitty  18:48
I was sweatin’ like a whore in church. I was…

Piggy  18:51
There you go. That’s better.

Kitty  18:52
It was bad. And so I kind of had to get towed and I called my brand new boss and I was like, “Hi Mike. I’m on my way. I’m literally broke down on the side of this tollway” and he was like, “Oh my gosh, do you want me to come get you?”, and I was like, “No, no, no.” He’s really, he’s a nice guy I really like him. Like, don’t feel like, I think especially folks who are very young, who are in their first role, get this feeling of like, there’s some kind of threshold that you pass over when you become an adult where you have to, like, sort of know everything and be like your parents were to you when you were children, the sort of endless source of knowledge about how the world works, and always having it togetherness, and that’s just not how it works. And I think you get more comfortable as you sort of evolve in your life and in your adult identity where, you know, now I’ve met with folks who are like executives at my giant company who are, you know, probably making a half a million dollars every year and I remember the first time I met one of them, she was like, I was in the lactation lounge like what did I miss? Like, folks get a lot more comfortable. I think about just like, here is who I am, here is where I’m at. So don’t feel like you have to like, be this sort of weird, perfect automaton, you can still be a human being and you will not like mess up your life. No one had a bad opinion. My car breaking down on my way into the office on the first day. It was just a funny anecdote.

Piggy  20:39
Absolutely. So the moral of the story here, just like it’s gonna be fine, just calm down. Like spend your first day meeting people and familiarizing yourself with the systems and the processes. Don’t check in with your boss every hour. Like it’s gonna be fine.

Kitty  20:55
And ask lots and lots of questions because this is the time where you get a pass

Piggy  21:01
And be and be nice. Like I know that goes without saying but like, you’ve already got the job, like there’s no reason to impress anybody like they’re not going to fire you after the first day unless you like really fuck up. And that’s unlikely so you know, just be a polite, nice, gracious person, and it’ll all be fine.

Kitty  21:21
Are you good with that?

Piggy  21:23
Yeah, I’m good with that. Okay, listeners if there’s a question you’d like for us to answer go to BitchesGetRiches.com and click ask the bitches.

Kitty  21:31
There’s only one way to guarantee that will answer a question and that’s to become a Patreon donor.

Piggy  21:36
If you like what we do and you want us to keep going, please become a Patreon donor and support us with whatever donation amount you’re comfortable with.

Kitty  21:43
We also have a merch store where you can buy t-shirts and printable worksheets and more.

Piggy  21:48
Finally, there are some free things you can do to say thanks. Please rate and review us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play whatever you use. It bumps us up in the charts and makes it easier to find. Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. And subscribe to our articles that you never miss a new one. You can do all of that at BitchesGetRiches.com.

Kitty  22:05
Is there anything else that they should know?

Piggy  22:07
Yes. So, when I was about to get married, my mother in law told me that the only way to get my husband to do anything was to convince him that it was his idea and I was like “that’s some heteronormative nonsense.” And yet she was completely right. And I’m ashamed to say that this works.

Kitty  22:27
Don’t worry, I won’t tell him about this podcast.

Piggy  22:29
Great. Bitches out!

Kitty  22:30
Bitches out!

Huge thanks to Purple at A Purple Life for her help creating these transcripts!

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