40 First Day At Work

Based on Research by Jamie A. Gruman, Ph.D. Psychology Science Minute written by Thanh Hampton and Erich Richard, Ph.D.

It’s your first day at work.  You don’t know anyone.  You are nervous and want to make a good first impression.  “What am I going to do? Who do I talk to? What do they expect? Am I going to like my boss? Do I have something in my teeth?”  These questions can run through your mind as you start your first day.  Starting a new job or career can be intimidating. What can you do to make it easier to adjust to your new job?

Dr. Jamie Gruman and associates looked at the ways that newcomers adjust and socialize in work settings.  Their study found that newcomers to an organization, who utilize proactive behaviors to better understand their work environment, adapt and adjust more quickly. Proactive behaviors in the workplace include actively seeking information about how best to act and asking for feedback about one’s performance. These help you adjust to your new workplace.

Take the initiative, ask questions and get to know others who can help you acclimate to the workplace. If you do, your transition and adjustment will be easier and quicker.  If you are running an organization, help newcomers by creating structured training activities and team building exercises.


Gruman, J. A., Saks, A. M., & Zweig, D. I. (2006). Organizational socialization tactics and newcomer proactive behaviors: An integrative study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 90-104.

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