5 Things to Avoid Saying on Your First Day at Work

New office, new faces, new rules. Starting a new job can be intimidating. While you might be eager to showcase your skills and abilities, be careful not to overstep your boundaries before understanding the company’s culture. Here are 5 things you want to avoid saying when starting a new job.


“That’s not how I did it in my last job.”

Appearing as a know-it-all before being familiar with the business’ culture may backfire on you. Even if the current processes are less efficient, making comparisons to your previous job can make you seem rigid, critical and close-minded.

Instead, be slow to speak, quick to listen, and take lots of notes. Regardless of the job position you’re in, keep an open mind and be willing to learn from others. You may have a viewpoint but be prepared to learn and change it.


“So…What are the employee benefits like?”

An innocent question. However, as you have yet to contribute to the company’s growth and performance, it would be unwise to ask about the perks and benefits on the 1st day. It’d be better if you let the HR policies and manuals address these questions instead.

Instead, ask questions relating to the job requirements and tasks at hand. Find out about the projects you might be working on, the job roles of your colleagues, or the challenges that the team might be facing.


“This doesn’t make any sense.”

It’s normal to be confused by some of the policies and methods of the company. However, such remarks may come off as critical and disrespectful to the company’s culture and norms.

Instead, try saying “I would like to learn more, can you help me understand how this policy came about?” Being eager to learn about the company’s systems and rules shows that you are proactive and adaptable to change.


“I have to leave early on Fridays.”

If you did not raise this request before you signed the official contract, it might be unwise to highlight it now. Making requests to leave early or shunning over-time can make you seem unenthusiastic or having a poor work ethic.

If it is a last-minute or urgent request, try saying “Would it be possible if I leave early just this Friday?”,and be sure to supplement your request with specific reasons. Positioning your request as a question signals responsibility on your part and respect to your bosses.


“No thanks, I already have a lunch date.”

While it’s natural to feel shy, the first few weeks at work are important in developing meaningful relationships. Lunch is a great way to get to know your colleagues in an informal setting. Turning down a lunch opportunity may make you appear anti-social or distant.

Instead, keep your lunchtime free and avoid packing lunch from home, especially for the first few days at work!

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