It’s the first day of a new job! This is a pretty memorable experience. There’s that unique mix of excitement and nervousness, and the mild-to-moderate chafing you get from wearing your fanciest clothes, and the massive amounts of sweat.
But maybe you don’t know! Maybe you’re new to the workforce, due to age, inexperience, or spectacular personality problems. Well, I’m here to help. Here are some things which always happen on the first day of a new job:
You’ll Get The Tour
On your first day at your new job, you will always get a tour. This has multiple purposes. It shows you where the bathroom and photocopier and things like that are, but it’s also to introduce you to everyone in the office, so they’ll learn your scent and not attack you.
And you’ll meet everyone. People you’re going to be working with. People you won’t be working with. People you will never see again. You’ll meet the surly IT guy, and the lady with too many plants on her desk, and the person who is way more attractive than everyone else in the office and kind of knows it. You won’t be expected to remember everyone’s names, but you will be judged negatively if you don’t so … kind of set up to fail there, huh.
You’re Given The Worst Computer In The World
You’ll be sitting at a computer. (Well. You’ll be sitting in a chair, but you get it.) There was a better computer here last week, but it looks like someone stole it. But that’s ok, because this thing does the job. The parts of the job that require Windows 98, anyways. And! It comes with a disgusting, germ-infested keyboard.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t hazing, or anything being done specifically because of you. This is just the natural way wealth tends to accumulate to those with the most seniority, like you’ll see in any office or herd of lowland gorillas.
You’ll Find Strange Artifacts From The Last Person To Sit There
It’s always a slightly weird sensation sitting down at someone’s desk. Even when they’re gone, and the desk is now nominally yours, you can usually still detect traces of your desk’s previous resident. Old CD cases, bent paperclips, dried up pens; things like that.
Stranger still are the items that are more personal. A forgotten coffee mug. Little Post-it notes they left themselves. Maybe some lip balm or hand cream. A revolver with one bullet in it.
You’re Given Work Which You Only Just Mostly Know How To Do
Although you didn’t necessarily lie on your resume or during your interview, you will inevitably soon be given a task which you don’t entirely know how to do. And that’s fine, everyone goes through it, and you’re usually given time to get “up to speed” anyway, so no one really minds. Also, you can usually pass this off as a legitimate unfamiliarity with some weird quirk of this particular workplace, a piece of software or unique business process maybe. At which point …
Someone Half-Heartedly Trains You
Before too long, someone is going to sit down with you to train you on some small wrinkle of your new job. You met them during the tour, so you should know their name, but it won’t actually come up much in conversation, so don’t worry if you’ve forgotten it. This should be good news, the only wrinkle being that this is part of the job that they almost certainly hate, and in fact kind of resent that they’re the only one in the office who knows it well enough to train people. Which means your “training” will be fast, incomplete, and simmering with inexplicable tension.
You Have To Defeat Your Trainer In A Fight
Then (and this is weird, but you should just go with it) to prove that you’ve understood everything that you’ve been taught, you’ll have to defeat your trainer in a fight while the rest of the office gathers around and chants.
This is part formality – you are supposed to win this, and the fight will be engineered so that you do – but you still have to take it seriously. Pick a weapon you understand rather than one that’s flashy; a simple staff over a chain whip, for example.
Something Is Broken
With the formalities out of the way, you can get down to the business of doing actual work, at which point you’ll discover that some vital component of your job doesn’t work very well. It can be a computer or a piece of software, but it’s more likely to be just some clunky bureaucratic process which makes everything far more frustrating than it needs to be. With your limited training and outdated process documentation, you’ll have a hard time doing anything. And so, in your efforts to get something, anything, done, you’ll come across …
Notes From Your Predecessor
Whether it’s some sticky notes, a file left on your computer’s desktop, or an actual hand-written letter, you’ll soon find the first legitimately useful piece of information you need to do your job: words from someone who’s actually done it.
Finally the cruft and nonsense of your new role will peel away, and you’ll get a clear vision of what’s expected from you and how to actually do it. The best versions of these notes even contain advice on how to navigate office politics, and who can be counted on for support, and things like that. Almost every one of these missives will be filled with cryptic statements that hint at something larger afoot in this new company of yours. Knowing that these notes might have been uncovered by your manager, the hints are coded in a way that only someone who does your job will understand, and slowly, over the course of the day as you learn your role, you’ll realize that something, something beautiful, something horrific, is hidden in …
Room 212 wasn’t mentioned in the tour, lying at the end of a dusty, underused hallway, guarded by the surly IT guy. But thanks to the notes from your predecessor, you know when he falls asleep at his desk and will thus be able to slip past his den and come to the threshold of Room 212. The threshold of understanding. And so, heart in your stomach (those first-day jitters catching up with you), you’ll reach out, grasp the doorknob and …
You’ll Open A Door That Should Not Have Been Opened
Happens to everyone.
You’ll Prepare Your Desk For Your Successor, So That They Might Stand Some Chance Of Surviving
And now, having seen the dark truth that lies in Room 212, and understanding the implications it has for you, your quarterly performance review, and the chains that bind and indeed have forever bound humanity, you’ll return to your desk and quietly prepare it for your successor. More notes, better notes, adding what you’ve learned to the wisdom of your forerunners so that someone, someday might break the cycle.
That done, you’ll tidy up your desk, wave goodbye to your manager who’s just heading out for the evening themselves. “Good day?” he asks.
“You know it, chief!” you’ll say, meaning it, playing your role to the end.
The revolver awaits …