should I leave my new job after the first day?

A reader writes:

I started today my job and I am feeling very disappointed.

My manager didn’t show up as he is on holiday and another is working from home. Fine!

Another manager introduced me to the team, which replied “nice to meet you” without really caring about me. Example: everyone has left for lunch without even say nothing and I had to eat by myself in front of my laptop.

Nobody is even talking to each other at their desks.

I had an orientation meeting of an hour and a half, and a safety training of 15 minutes (i.e., “fire exits are here and there”). I had only one other meeting of one hour, and for the other hours of my first day I have been left alone at my desk with three or four documents to read.

The only manager who talked to me and introduced me to the team has left without even say goodbye, and I have no idea where should I leave my laptop and at what time should I leave, as someone has left and someone not.

Last but not least, they require 300 translations everyday (it’s an e-commerce) and I didn’t know there would be so much translation every day.

Am I overreacting?

I left my previous company after five months as they cut my position and another after four months because the manager was crazy. I worked before that for two years for another company, but I am worried that if i leave now nobody will hire me again!

Yeah, I think you’re overreacting.

First days can often be pretty underwhelming, with not a lot to do. They shouldn’t be that way, but they often are.

Ideally your manager would have told you that she’d be on vacation and/or have left someone else with clear instructions for getting you settled in, but sometimes this kind of oversight happens.

The fact that people left for lunch without saying anything to you is not a slight. In most offices, people do their own for lunch, and since there’s no point person there to get you set up today, it’s not surprising that no one thought to specifically talk to you about lunch. Ideally someone would have, of course, but it’s not a quit-your-job offense that they didn’t.

None of this stuff, even when taken all together, seems like anything that should be terribly concerning. Wait and see how the next few weeks play out.

If it does turn out that this job has serious problems, you’ll be just as able to leave it in a couple of weeks as you are right now — and waiting will give you a lot more information than you have right now. (But again, I don’t think any of this is a serious red flag.)

If you did end up leaving this job in the near future, you’d just leave it off your resume, so I wouldn’t worry that it’ll add to job-hopping concerns (although if you do stay, I think that you need to stay for several years in order to combat those previous short stints).

But really, give this some time and don’t jump to conclusions.

{ 361 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP, the things you’ve listed are very normal for a first day and are not red flags. Usually welcomes and socializing happen in the first few weeks, but there are also many workplaces where employees are not expected to socialize together or go out of their way to say hello/goodbye. With respect to the number of translations required, I’m not sure what to say, because this sounds like it’s an essential part of your job (this workload could also be why folks are not chatting each other up). Did the employer grossly misrepresent your daily workload during hiring? Or is it simply that you had different expectations, and those expectations have not been met?

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      Good point –– there are approx. 30 translators as well as 10 editors on the floor of my building. It’s essentially a library atmosphere.

      1. Nanani*

        When I worked in-house as a translator (I’m self employed now) that was definitely the vibe most days. We’re a quiet lot :)

    2. Purest Green*

      (this workload could also be why folks are not chatting each other up)

      Agreed. And it might also be the culture there that people aren’t particularly chatty at their desks (if you ask me, that’s preferable!).

    3. Lemon Zinger*

      A lot of us neglect to ask questions in interviews about culture, fit, etc. I think OP probably didn’t ask those questions and came in assuming things would be X way, and is now discovering they are done Y way.

      I like working in a quiet office. I like doing my own thing for lunch. It’s important to me to have an environment like this, so I’m sure to ask about it in interviews.

      1. Allypopx*

        “How would you describe the culture here?” and “How would you describe your management style?” are the two most important interview questions for me.

        1. designbot*

          In my industry this generates stock answers. “We like to mix it up to keep the creative energy flowing!” and “but there are breakout spaces for more focused work.” Throw in some, “work/life balance is important to us but of course there are sometimes late nights in preparation for a deadline.” and you have the exact same thing that every other design firm says.

      2. LawBee*

        I would love to share an office with my paralegal, but do lunch on my own. Sadly for me, she is adamant that this NOT EVER HAPPEN. :c

        1. Noobtastic*

          What? She won’t share an office with you, or she won’t let you eat lunch on your own?

          She does not own your lunchtime! Don’t let her claim it every day. Maybe set up once or twice a week standing lunch dates, and the other days are yours to do as you like.

          Or just tell her that her clinginess is a major turn-off and you think it might be time to break up. Oh, wait. She’s not your girlfriend. She’s just acting like it.

      3. Raspberry Zinger*

        Me too – quiet office, doing my own thing for lunch. I’m an introvert who doesn’t need a lot of attention. And one can attempt to determine culture, but sometimes that’s difficult

        Still….this is an unwelcoming situation. I think she is right to question this. But good advice to wait a couple of weeks.

    4. Annonymouse*

      The feeling I’m getting is OP thought the job would be a lot more social than it is and have a more “new kid at school/college orientation” experience. You know have an assigned buddy/guide to show them around and eat lunch with them.

      That’s not how it normally works in workplaces. Most workplaces can’t afford to take a person off their regular job for a day or have a team take an hour off to socialise with the new person. Most jobs aren’t highly social either.

      Also people make friends gradually over time not on the first day – give it time, ask questions and get to know the culture and people before you decide if this place is right for you.

      1. Noobtastic*

        I moved all over the place when I was a kid, so I was frequently the new kid at school two or even three times within the course of one grade. I never had an assigned buddy/guide.

        Guess I went to the wrong schools?

        1. Annonymouse*

          Maybe wrong country?
          I’m from Australia so it was normal in high school to have someone in your class group / home room to show you which classes were in which buildings at least for the first day

          1. La*

            Yeah I now live in Australia but grew up in the NY – there is no buddy or anyone to help you out. I never had issues with this personally but it would be nice I suppose.

    1. JessaB*

      Sounds to me like since they said e-commerce that they’re translating product names or descriptions for client’s websites. IE the site is in French but they want to have a German site too, so 300 products doesn’t sound like a lot. Because each one is just a name and a blurb. Anything else would be kind of outrageous.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If OP has an eight hour day 300 translations is one translation every 1.6 minutes all day long.

  2. Murphy*

    I think a lot of that is that your manager wasn’t there. I imagine it will be different when they come in.

    At my current job, nobody even showed me the bathroom on the first day.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Agree about the manager. It’s surprising they didn’t try to time the new employee’s first day a bit better so it didn’t fall on a day when they are not there, so it’s no ideal, but I agree, it’s none of is is too unusual.

      I’d echo what others are saying (and AAM) — give it at least a few more weeks, if not a a bit longer, and see how it plays out.

      With translation — it really might also be an ebb’n’flow situation — you’ll either have hardly any, or 30 documents that need to be translated right now

      I’d try to look at the positive side — a change to more slowly acclimatize yourself to a new job, new work space, new setting, etc., rather than getting thrown head first into chaos…with no one eve pausing to tell your where the bathroom is.

    2. MegaMoose, Esq*

      I have been surprised how infrequently new people are shown the bathroom – I’ve had to specifically ask at a number of workplaces. Honestly, I’ll find the copy machine on my own, but where do I pee?!

      1. Murphy*

        Luckily it was in the first logical place that I looked, but I would have asked if I hadn’t found it quickly!

      2. heatherskib*

        Yes! I always try to snag new recruits and show them where the “other” stuff is because no one else ever does. Things like how to escape the building for a fire drill, where there are microwaves, sinks, first aid kits, the cafeteria, the gym and locker room, multiple building entrances, the fact that the top floor is used as a walking track, etc.

      3. Aietra*

        When I first started at my current job, I asked where the bathroom was, and was told there wasn’t one! So I spent the first little while either holding on all day, or going across the road to Subway to use theirs! (And my guilt-purchases developed into a crippling addiction to six inch meatball on Italian Herbs and Cheese, which I still haven’t broken myself of.)

        After a while, I heard someone else mention the loo in passing, and asked about it, and was informed that yes, we do have one! It’s out the fire escape, up two flights of stairs, along two long unlit corridors and through three locked doors, but it exists! When I told the person who showed me what the first person said, she thought that was pretty funny, and said First Person “probably just couldn’t be bothered showing you.”

        (First Person has since been let go at the end of her trial period, for skiving off.)

    3. Jackie Paper*

      Yes, my manager was out for my first two days at my current job. The admin asst. gave me an email saying I should get familiar with the ‘knowledge base.’ That was it.

      Since I was a brand new master’s graduate new to the profession I was totally lost. I had to start from scratch (basically, what is a knowledge base and where do I even find it?) all on my own. Had lunch on my own. I was a bit worried because I had literally no idea what I was or should be doing. But after my manager came back we had a meeting that gave me some direction and by the next week I felt much better about things. Been here 2.5 years and things have been fine since then.

    4. Tammy*

      Same. And on my first day at my current company, my boss had his coat on when I got done with new-hire paperwork and arrived in my department. “I’m headed out for an executive off-site,” he said, “and I’ll be back on Friday afternoon, so…figure out something to do, I guess.” Four years later, I’m still at the same company, and have been promoted to a management role, so I’m glad I wasn’t inclined to do something rash based on first impressions.

      It seems like a lot of companies – especially smaller ones or startups – are fairly terrible at thinking through the new-hire onboarding experience.

    5. Bea*

      I had a job for months before I found the bathroom. Not being shown the facility any being young and high anxiety, it was hellish. I would go to the supermarket for bathroom breaks before I finally found the stupid things!

      It’s always part of my “tour” now for new hires or visitors.

  3. Catalin*

    Removed. Please read and follow the commenting guidelines, which tell you to be kind to letter writers.

    1. BBBizAnalyst*

      Right. It could be that they’ll wait until your manager is back to do a welcome lunch.

        1. Natalie*

          Sure, not a universal thing but definitely a thing. At one office it sort of varied, depending on the position, but often we had lunch ordered in and had an informal office meeting during it.

        2. Leatherwings*

          Yeah, they’re totally a thing (not everywhere but it’s not unusual). I’ve always had a welcome lunch, actually.

        3. BBBizAnalyst*

          I’ve never had a job that didnt have a welcome lunch or breakfast with the team during the first week. Typically, it’s for introductions since you’re likely not interviewing with every team member during the hiring process.

          1. Evan Þ*

            My team does – but then, we normally have a team lunch every week, so we just invite the new person along.

        4. JustaTech*

          I got one, but not until I’d been at the job for 4 months. We weren’t super organized about them, but we did at least go someplace nice. I think my boss had his 6 months after he started.

          We were better about going-away lunches. Built in time limit and all that.

        5. Kate*

          They’re common at my job, but it’s typically just within teams. So your team leader will take your team out to lunch to welcome the new member.

        6. k*

          I’ve never had welcome lunches. Places I’ve worked, people typically have had staggered lunch breaks (either scheduled that way or they just naturally take them like that), so a big welcome lunch wouldn’t make sense. At my current job my direct manager took me to lunch on my first day, but it wasn’t a formal thing.

        7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Very much a thing, but not so much of a thing that they’re expected or happen in all industries. Three of my last four jobs have had them, although they do try to group “cohorts” of new employees when doing this.

        8. Anon Anon*

          I’ve had one at every job I’ve been in (and I’m on job number 5). Sometimes it hasn’t been the first day, but I’ve usually been told that on my first day, and it’s usually because someone on the team is out that day.

        9. Sarah*

          I have definitely had one at most places I’ve worked, although definitely not always the first day (I would say somewhere in the first few weeks is typical).

        10. Koko*

          We do them with all new hires here, but in my previous gigs they weren’t usually done. Both of my previous gigs were smaller places – the first I was in a department of 5 and the second I was in an organization with a total headcount of 4. So I think in these small environments where you are working pretty closely with everyone you work with right away, there’s less need to make a point of doing a welcome.

          Whereas I currently work on a team of around 25-30 people. I work very closely with about 5 people, but my work intersects with the other 20+ only occasionally, so if we didn’t do welcome lunches you could conceivably not even meet some of your coworkers for a few weeks. Doing a big group lunch helps break the ice with those coworkers you will eventually work with a lot, if infrequently, so that you aren’t just awkwardly hearing about each other for weeks before you actually interact.

        11. Elizabeth*

          They haven’t been at any of the places I’ve worked, but my previous workplace instituted a “first day lunch buddy” thing where people could sign up to eat lunch with a newbie on their first day, which seemed like a nice gesture.

        12. Kore*

          With my team we had multiple – one with my manager on my first day, one with the team I work with (which is just all of us bringing our own food), and then once a quarter they have an office-wide new teammember lunch. Having this many welcome lunches is probably unusual, but they’re spread out, so if your company did one joint one every quarter then you might be there for quite a while before actually having a welcome lunch.

        13. Anon for this*

          CurrentJob had welcome lunches for the first year, year and a half, of its existence, then the tradition somehow died off. Sometime during the very first welcome lunches, someone had started a tradition that the team lead, formal or informal (most of us were informal, as it was a very new company) paid for the new coworker’s lunch. I was the one with the highest seniority on my team. I think I paid for maybe two lunches before I said to the other leads, “sorry guys, money’s tight and I can’t do this anymore”. (Everyone was okay with that, thankfully!) But, while I didn’t care for that part, I thought welcome lunches were a nice way to, well, welcome a new person on board and create an initial connection between them and the rest of the team.

        14. Spreadsheets and Books*

          I work in NYC so we’re drowning in restaurants and food options. When new people, we always go out for a really nice lunch at one of the more upscale places by the office so everyone is pretty excited to have new people join the team.

          We went to a sushi/steakhouse place on my first day and I was the only one not to order off the prix fixe menu. Inexplicably, that ended up meaning that my food came out way later than everyone else’s and I got to sit there like an awkward weirdo without food while everyone else ate. It was horrifying. But still worth it for the free lunch.

        15. JAM*

          I never had them till my current job. Then I had about a week’s worth. Boss, daily supervisor, and my support team match on day 1. Day 2 was lunch with facilities and hospitality since I’d work with them at times. Day 2 had an event with the full team I’d be working with and clients. Day 3 was blissfully alone. Day 4 was boss again wanting to talk about goals and plans over a working lunch. Day 5 was daily supervisor taking me out the the build site of the new office and grabbing lunch. Even now I still get invited on lunches every month or so. We have an entire fund for lateral integration and another for new hire integration so they like to use it.

        16. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I’ve had welcome lunches at the past several jobs I’ve worked. We do welcome lunches in all three of the university departments I’ve been in. Since we’re a public uni, we can’t call it a “welcome lunch”, so we have to cite “departmental planning” or some sort of business reason. Then at the lunch, the department head will say, “So, how about that budget?” and everyone else will say, “Yeah, how about it?” and the department head will say, “Well, there being no further questions, let’s eat!”, and that’s the ‘meeting’ part.

        17. Bea*

          We had a split “welcome/goodbye” lunch when I started the job I’m in now since the person leaving was around 6 weeks to train me. My boss set it up the week I started for the last week the previous person would be there.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        I wouldn’t use the term brat. I would say that the OPs expectations are unreasonable and slightly needy.
        • Don’t expect coworkers to care for you like your family and friends. It’s not that kind of relationship
        • People aren’t at work to be your friend. They aren’t there to hang out at talk to you – they are there to generate income for the company
        • It’s possible the managers vacation was an unplanned emergency, or the person the manager had asssigned to bring you in didn’t do their job (or not). One thing is sure – they didn’t do it to disrespect you.
        • Getting loads of documents to read the first day is very normal.
        • It is actually a good thing that they told you about the target goal of 300 translations per day
        • The burden is mostly on you to fit in to this job. Read the docs, ask work related questions, make sure you are producing what they want
        In closing, I want to focus on what you shouldn’t expect:
        • Don’t expect nurturing
        • Don’t expect close friendships (those are rare)
        • Don’t expect to be validated as a person

        1. Dizzy Steinway*

          “Don’t expect to be validated as a person”

          That’s a really good point. If you’re looking for that, get it from the fact they hired you!

        2. LBK*

          I generally agree, with the caveat that some of these things can and usually do build up eventually as you prove yourself as an employee and spend more time with people. But I agree that you shouldn’t expect them, especially not right out of the gate.

        3. Anonygoose*

          I think some of that was hard for me to learn in my first white-collar professional job! I am just starting to get used to it – I think it’s just that, until we enter the world of work, we are expected to have best friends amongst those that we are in school with. It’s not a huge stretch to assume that the working world is like that. Even among retail/food service type jobs, often there is a large social aspect that you may expect to be in existence in other types of jobs.

        4. Mazzy*

          I think they were saying there were too few documents not too many.

          Also I’ve been “fawned” over at many new jobs I don’t think it’s unreasonable.

          There was only one job where I had the experience of the OP and at that company, their interpretation of being professional was to be quiet at standoffish. There were a lot of young managers there and I think that they thought they had to come across as cold and hard to get results, and that demeanor permeated the office. It wasn’t unpleasant after I learned to navigate it but it was weird in the beginning.

        5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I quite like this list, and I think it’s a helpful summation of the differences between personal relationships and work relationships.

          Of course, no one should expect to work in a frigid or abusive environment, but it’s important to know that there are high-functioning, polite, and extremely professional environments that are quiet. It’s too early to know, but the fact that people are being polite (which does not require them to ask you to join them for lunch or other activities) is a good sign.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      I’m hearing more bewilderment than entitlement. It’s odd to feel like an invisible person when you’vebuilt yourself up for the first day at a new place.

      1. k*

        I agree. It sounds like they didn’t do a great job of planning for someone else to handle on-boarding OP while the manager is out, which left OP feeling like they were just shoved out of the way. This is a common first day thing, but never the less, it can feel very odd to be sitting there with nothing to do, not having anyone to turn to for questions. I can imagine the things OP wrote going through my head while sitting at my desk at this new job.

        OP, I agree that you should stick it out a bit longer. Hopefully this was just a rocky start and once you get settled in things will improve. Best of luck!

      2. Lindsay Woolsey*

        I was reading honest bewilderment until I got to the point where the OP stated that they’d worked at other places before this. This is such a normal description of a first day at an office I’m left to wonder what the heck the OP was expecting and why, because it reads like they’ve never had a job before.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          Most places I’ve workd they’ve at least told you where to get lunch, when you can take your break, what the typical end time is, though. It didn’t sound like OP was expecting a banquet in their honour.

        2. SarahTheEntwife*

          It probably depends on the job. My first day was pretty much a constant string of various coworkers shepherding me around to get assorted forms and IDs and such, which is pretty standard for our onboarding.

        3. CheeryO*

          Depends on the job. I have worked for companies like this, but my current agency absolutely fawns over new people, to the point where you want to say, “Okay, now let them breathe for a minute!” There is a definite emphasis on being tight-knit, for better or worse, and that means you might have 10 different people ask you on your first day if you want to join their lunchtime walking group. There will also be breakfast pizza in your honor.

      3. Anon Accountant*

        Me too. This reads to me like a person with limited work experience who is drawing from experiences at 1 or 2 other places who has universally accepted this is a thing at each workplace.

      4. Koko*

        Yes, I think many of OP’s complaints are valid, but her evaluation of the complaints is what’s a little off-base.

        Her on-boarding was pretty objectively terrible. She wasn’t given enough to do, nobody really showed her around, nobody gave her basic information like where to take lunch or what time is considered COB, and she was left twiddling her thumbs most of the day. But, on-boarding is pretty objectively terrible in those same ways at a LOT of places. On-boarding is an area where managers often don’t have any training or experience and are just winging it or it doesn’t even occur to them that they should do more than fill out your new hire paperwork and immediately throw you in the deep end of your work.

        It’s kinda like how it’s rude for an employer not to tell you when they’ve rejected your candidacy, but it’s also commonplace, so you need to factor that into your judgment.

      5. aebhel*

        This. I’ve had first days like this (though certainly not at every job), and they always leave me feeling… weird.

    3. Pontoon Pirate*

      It’s a little disingenuous to see you exhorting the OP to be pleasant to people when you’re providing feedback in such a rude way.

      OP, give it a few weeks – new jobs can be lonely and frustrating because you don’t know the social rules there yet, but see how you feel after you start to learn those rules. I’m not sure what advice I’d give with respect to the translations, other than to see how many you can get through and try to assess whether or not the goal number you have matches a realistic output – but again, give it some time so you can get a good sense of cadence, workflow, etc.

    4. Leatherwings*

      This comment is not cool. OP hoped the new job would be welcoming and fulfilling on the first day, and it wasn’t. That’s not necessarily unusual or a huge cause for concern, but it’s hardly indicative or bratty or entitled behavior.

      Name-calling OPs is not a good way to get people to write in.

    5. Roscoe*

      Brat is a strong word, but I agree with the entitlement. I think she feels like people should be fawning all over the “new girl”. In reality, people are busy. I’m sure they will be happy to get to know her over time, but to expect someone to just go ga ga and stop doing their work to learn all about the new person just isn’t realistic. I think inviting the new person to lunch would have been nice, but there could be any number of reasons that didn’t happen today.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        OP wrote nothing about expecting people to fawn over her or go “gaga”. It sounds more like she felt completely ignored, not like she expected confetti and streamers.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I don’t think this is a fair characterization of the letter. I think OP expects slightly more welcoming and sincerity, but nothing indicates that OP expects “fawning.”

        1. JessaB*

          Exactly and it’s not odd to expect sometime on the first day to be told what the hours are, when the breaks are and what they do about lunch (everyone goes at once and it all shuts down, take it when you want it, we stagger, so pick a time…) Also things like is it okay to nosh at your desk, and the bathrooms are there and the break room is downstairs on the 2nd floor. Or at least to appoint a go to person for the newbie to ask questions. Or even to sit and watch someone if they have nothing else to do.

          On the other hand there’s nothing wrong with picking a person who looks to be in between tasks and asking: hours, lunch, breaks, food? thanks. It’s a five minute conversation and if anyone is really against that you’d probably tell right away when you say, “first day have a couple of technical things I don’t know.”

      3. Leatherwings*

        It’s really not that out of line to expect a warm welcome at your new job. That’s not the same thing as expecting fawning (she never characterized herself as the “new girl” either, and if OP is a woman, she’s a woman not a girl).

      4. sara*

        You’re ridiculous. Nobody expects to be “fawned over” when they start a new job but some directions and basic process guidelines are the very bare minimum of what a workplace should provide a new employee. OP wanting to know what to do with her laptop, aka COMPANY PROPERTY is not even remotely close to wanting people to go “ga ga” over her. And if I entered a workplace where no one bothered to look up or say hi then I’d question just what the turn over rate is in such a place where people don’t bother to acknowledge a new individual. This constant use of “busy” as an excuse is flimsy at best and can only cover up so much.

        1. LBK*

          There’s random people from other departments that walk around my floor all the time, and I don’t say hi to all of them as they pass my desk. If she hasn’t been introduced, they may not even realize she’s their new coworker.

        2. Cube chick*

          Agreed. It’s called kindness and respecting people as human beings. People seem to be forgetting that regardless of whether or not it is a workplace, kindness and respect are paramount.

      5. LBK*

        I think people are getting distracted by your hyperbole, but I do agree that I get a little bit of a sense of the OP expecting to be a sort of novelty that people would take notice of as “the new person,” like when you get a new kid in class. The working world just doesn’t operate that way.

        1. Natalie*

          I mean, it does actually work that way in plenty of places. If the LW has just happened to work places that do more intense onboarding they may well have assumed that’s fairly universal. Which makes the absence of it potentially alarming.

          1. LBK*

            I’m not talking about actual working training, more what I felt was the OP’s implication that people weren’t immediately engaging her socially the way she expected. For instance, that the other manager she got introduced to just gave a pleasant greeting and “didn’t really seem to care” about her – what did she expect? Even a formal onboarding process doesn’t usually have official time built in for small talk and personal chat, or being incorporated into your coworkers’ lunch plans.

            1. Natalie*

              I wasn’t really thinking of official “onboarding social time”, but every office is different as far as how chatty people are and plenty of them do make it a bigger focus. When I started at my current workplace a bunch of people made a point to come over to our office and introduce themselves. I don’t think it was organized, it is just the culture here. At my last company, having lunch with the new person on their first day was the norm.

              All I’m saying is that since the LW is earlier in their career, a couple of work places in a row would be enough to start thinking X or Y is a norm.

              1. LBK*

                Makes sense. I think it’s just a question of separating out the onboarding process from the company culture surrounding welcoming new people. I don’t think of the more friendly, sociable people in the office voluntarily making an effort to get to know the new person as part of the “onboarding process” of a company.

                1. Natalie*

                  Yeah, fair enough. I don’t really know what I would call it, just “office culture” I guess.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            You know, now that you mention it, I’m realizing that I felt very similar to LW in my first post-college job and that OP’s expectations might be totally reasonable. I don’t think I developed a strong sense of what are reasonable/unreasonable workplace cultures until I’d had 3-4 non-student-worker jobs.

            I took a job overseas, and despite private language study and travel research, I remember being totally lost—think different country, different norms, different language. I didn’t expect hand-holding, but my coworkers were extremely stand-offish and super quiet/work-focused. They were no help when I asked basic questions that were essential to my job, and they were kind of condescending/irritated when they replied. I wasn’t hurt by their responses, but it was frustrating, in part because they didn’t seem friendly, and I’m the kind of person who derives satisfaction from being friendly and getting along with everyone. I spent almost every day wondering if I’d made a huge mistake and should try to quit.

            But my second job, which was also quiet and work-focused, was kind of amazing in terms of how warm and welcoming people were. The outgoing team took me out for dinner/lunch several times, gave me a site tour, helped introduce me to core support staff, etc. Even though my daily work was kind of quiet and on my own, I felt much better integrated.

      6. Night Cheese*

        Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t read anywhere that indicated OP was a girl, much less an entitled one expecting to be fawned over or treated like the new girl.

        1. LBK*

          General convention on this site is that when a LW’s gender is unspecified, we default to female.

            1. LBK*

              Fair catch, although “new girl” is an accepted colloquialism where “new woman” isn’t, so I don’t think it was meant to be diminutive.

              1. afiendishthingy*

                maybe not meant to be, but impact > intent – I think it’s a good idea to avoid use of the term “new girl” in the context of a workplace. It totally calls to mind Mean Girls. Whereas new guy is fine. New hire? new team member? New girl is in fact patronizing.

                1. LBK*

                  Whereas for me, “new girl” calls to mind the eponymous TV show, so I just think of Zooey Deschanel.

    6. AMG*

      I agree that this is more lack of experience / understanding than entitlement. OP, this is very normal. I think I worked 2 hours at my current job on the first day. Two. My coworkers are great, we have a good team and a good rapport, there is a ton of work to do, and my insanely busy manager was the best boss I ever had. Don’t expect to be BFFs who hang out together all the time with your coworkers. It’s all okay.

    7. Kathleen Adams*

      I think “brat” is a bit harsh. I agree that the important thing is to come in, do your work and be pleasant, but come on, somebody really should have thought to ask the new kid to lunch and maybe pass a friendly remark from time to time.

      That said, I definitely agree that this does not by any means sound like a disastrous first day. It sounds more or less on the lower side of “normal.” Things will probably get better if the OP gives it time, and if they don’t, he or she can just as easily quit in two weeks.

    8. Tomato Frog*

      It really feels crappy when you come to a workplace on the first day and nobody makes an effort to reach out and your boss doesn’t make a point of introducing you around. I had that on my first day at my current job. Unlike the OP, I had the ability to contextualize and qualify how I felt, and even so it was pretty alienating. I’ve come to like my coworkers quite a bit, but frankly the way I was treated that first day (and days after) was symptomatic of larger communication and morale problems in the office, and I was right to be leery about how they welcomed me (or didn’t).

      OP is overreacting, but that doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of just how miserable this situation can be.

    9. The IT Manager*

      Woah, I disagree. The LW doesn’t sound at all like an entitled brat to me.

      I did read a bit of hoping that work might provide a more of a social circle than one should expect, but that’s it.

      I did get a funny response when I said via email to someone working with me to get me onboarded: “Maybe we can get lunch my first day.” It wasn’t a thing at that office (because of a short 30 min lunch break), but I carried expectations from my previous jobs.

    10. (another) b*

      That’s a pretty nasty thing to say to an OP. I don’t blame him/her for feeling a bit put off, I know I would feel the same based on how the day played out. It’s probably just the office culture but it can be hard to adjust, and it sucks when it feels like no one cares that you’re there.

    11. Kathleen Adams*

      Exactly. It doesn’t sound as though OP has a ton of experience, and part of the experience he or she does have is under unpleasant circumstances (the layoff and the crazy boss). So it’s not surprising that she’s bewildered and a bit adrift when she gets all wound up to start a new job gets a tremendous let-down when her first day is a big ol’ zero.

    12. Dan*

      I was gonna say, you’re going to get some pushback on your comment, we don’t typically speak that strongly around here.

      However, I picked up on some of that. What actually really raised my eyebrows was that OP has a series of short term employment for one reason or another, including “the manager was crazy.” That combined with the OP wanting to quit on the first day at this job makes me think s/he needs to calibrate expectations. And to OP’s question, I think s/he needs to stick it out, because that employment track record doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies.

        1. Roscoe*

          Well her opinion that the manager was crazy can be true without the manager being crazy. I can say I have a crazy ex girlfriend, and truly believe that. But her side of the story may tell something different.

        2. LBK*

          It’s obviously possible, as proven by the very existence of this site, but I do agree with Dan’s point that maybe the OP needs to recalibrate their expectations a little. Nothing they listed here is overly egregious, so if this is the same kind of criteria that was used to evaluate that the previous manager was crazy, it might not be realistic.

          And moreover, the OP might need to adjust their perspective on what makes a manager or a job so bad that it’s worth leaving, especially after such a short time – being ready to run for the door on day 1 (!!!) is a pretty big deal usually reserved for cases where the job was wildly misrepresented or the manager was outright abusive. Same thing applies for leaving after 4 months – I’ve had a few managers that I might casually describe as crazy, but they weren’t so bad that I couldn’t stick it out longer enough to put a decent stint on my resume. In many jobs, you’re just going to have to learn to suck it up for certain less enjoyable elements.

          1. JessaB*

            It’s not like what happened to me where a job was supposed to be accessible and totally wasn’t. I don’t see anything in what the OP says that screams “Leave now, don’t let the door close behind you.” Not very organised, and the sup being on holiday is hard, but it looks like somebody dropped the ball in terms of giving the OP info. On the other hand the OP kind of dropped the ball in not generally asking. It’s expected to ask a few questions, and as long as you don’t overwhelm other workers, I might ask one about where’s the loo, and where’s the break room and another about scheduling, but really, they had no idea that the OP didn’t know, because the OP “suffered in silence.”

          2. Freya UK*

            I wanted to leave this job after the first day – I chose to override my intuition and see if it was just new job jitters… almost five months in and I have my resignation letter drafted to just hit print the moment I accept a new job, or it just becomes necessary, whichever happens first.

      1. Natalie*

        I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment. I wouldn’t call a 2-year stint a “short term” job, and one of their short term stints was due to a layoff. So that leaves one job that they left because of a crazy manager. I wouldn’t call that eyebrow raising, at least with the details we have here.

        That said, assuming the two shorter jobs were the positions immediately prior to this one, I wonder if the LW is on “high alert” but calibrated a bit too high. A sequence of layoff followed by toxic job could lead anyone to be a bit paranoid.

    13. kb*

      I don’t think it’s necessarily bratty. If they had extremely warm and welcoming workplaces previously, it could be messing with their sense of what’s normal. I went from a small office in the South to a large office in a Northern city and it was bewildering at first. I grew to really like it, but I felt very lost the first day.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I’ve worked pretty much exclusively at small offices in the South, and most of the places I’ve worked have prided themselves on being a warm and welcoming workplace. As an admin, it has been my job to be part of making the office warm and welcoming. So I’d probably feel very off kilter in a place that didn’t do that; it has been part of my experience in nearly every office I’ve ever worked in, so I’d probably if I’d made a huge mistake if everyone was very cool and indifferent.

    14. Kittymommy*

      This seems a little out of line. While the OP may have expectations that are a little excessive, stating that they’re a brat and coming of as entitled is over the top and quite frankly, rude.

    15. Mike C.*

      I just think it’s really interesting how many job applications stress having the skills and experience to “hit the ground running on day one”, yet don’t have an effective on-boarding process. It further boggles my mind that the employer can (and often does!) stretch out the hiring process for weeks at a time yet none of that time is spent ensuring that the eventual hire will be ready to go.

      1. LBK*

        I actually think those things are perfectly congruent; I’ve always taken “hit the ground running” to mean that there won’t be much introduction to the job or guidance on how things work and you’ll be expected to basically operate on your first day as if you’ve already been there for a while. In other words, “hit the ground running” pretty much means “no extensive and/or formal onboarding process” to me.

        1. Mike C.*

          I guess where I find the gap are in things that the employee can’t do on their own – have a desk and computer set up, have accounts set up, that sort of thing.

          1. aebhel*

            Right, ‘hit the ground running’ makes sense from a ‘you should be able to do the required work with minimal instruction’ perspective, not from a ‘you don’t need to know where the bathrooms are, what your login information is, or what hours you’re expected to work’ perspective.

            If a place doesn’t have a lot of turnover, they may take a lot of these things for granted, ime.

        2. Anna*

          That seems weird, though. How on earth can anyone hit the ground running for a company they just started working at and know little to nothing about the internal structure? It seems unrealistic.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            It’s almost comical because if she is supposed to hit the ground running you’d think there would be someone there to make sure she is set up to run.

      2. Lora*

        I know, right?? You’d think that this would be part of posting the job opening and figuring out the job description: We need another engineer for our group, therefore we will need (desk, computer loaded with fancy programs, PPE, cell phone, coffee cup, corporate card, badge, business cards, another license for the very special software), we will be hiring X number of people per year therefore should hold training classes every (week, month, whatever), and just put in the requests for these things with the job description. By the time you finally hire someone, you’ll be all ready for them.

        Where I’m at now they have a very good onboarding process in general. Crummy mentoring, but good onboarding. When I arrived on my first day they gave me a little backpack that had a water bottle with the company logo, my security badge, my desk, a couple of business-y books and a small book about their technology, had various senior managers do presentations on the company structure, and did the safety and orientation and computer training right away. I spent three more days in training stuff and meet-and-greets and poster sessions with the various departments. It was really helpful, since when I got to the actual technical part of my job it was very much, “here’s your lab, good luck” and I’ve been making it up as I go along ever since.

      3. CM*

        I agree! Can’t tell you how many times I have been asked to start sooner because they have so much work for me to do, but when I arrive on the first day everyone seems a little surprised that I’m there, my computer isn’t set up, and the only thing I’m asked to do is fill out paperwork. And 90% of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve eaten lunch at my desk on the first day. (I always pack a PB&J for new jobs! It keeps well, it’s compact, and can be a snack later if I do get invited to lunch.)

  4. Squeeble*

    Agreed, agreed, agreed. Maybe it wasn’t the most welcoming first day ever, but none of this is terribly remarkable.

    First days are always weird. You don’t really have any work to do yet and barely know where the restrooms are, never mind what the office culture is or what people’s expectations of you are. Give it some time.

    1. Purest Green*

      Agreed that first days are weird. I will never forget the first day of a new employee who sat on the couch outside my manager’s office for who knows how long because she couldn’t get into her office and manager was running late, and nobody else had come along to greet or help her. Because I was so busy, it took at least ten minutes after I saw her to realize she must be the new hire. But as horrible as that day must have been for her, she’s still here.

  5. Nan*

    I agree with Alison. Wait it out. My first day at CurrentJob, I was stuck in a room with a computer for training. Didn’t meet my boss, and wasn’t told where the break room and restrooms were. I thought about calling it quits, too, but I needed the check. When I got to meet the guy who was training me, he was mean and slightly scary. Then I got to meet the nice people. But the first couple weeks kinda sucked.

    I’ve been here almost 9 years now, and we’re staffed with all nice people and we do onboarding much better now.

    1. Kj*

      Yep. My first day I couldn’t access the core computer system to look up my clients- because my name is too long (and it isn’t even that long) and my company-issued cell stopped working suddenly (they’d given me someone else’s number) and the person who was supposed to be helping me get settled wanted nothing to do with me. It sucked, but things got better, at least interpersonally. My manager turned out to be nice, the lead who didn’t want anything to do with me quit and a nice-coworker trained me on some of the stuff I needed to know. Our IT department is as (in)competent as the name and phone things imply though, but I rarely have to interface with them.

      Point is, give it a few weeks. When your manager gets back, you’ll have a better idea of what this job is really going to be like.

      1. JessaB*

        In all the jobs that I’ve had over the years, I can think of only one where the computer was already set up with passwords and stuff. It’s almost all the time where you have to wait on IT when you start. Mr B’s current job it took literally over a year for his email to be straightened out before it stopped dropping things that were addressed to him. Waiting on passwords is so normal at this point. I don’t even worry about it.

        1. Koko*

          Our IT department does this cute thing where they ask you to fill out a new hire questionnaire when you have a new report starting, listing any unusual computer specs or special software they need, what internal email lists they should be subscribed to, what servers they should have read and/or write access to, etc., and then they do nothing with the questionnaire and you have to request everything all over again on your employee’s first day.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Koko, I wasn’t expecting that conclusion, and it made me laugh out loud. I was like “Wow, that form is such a great idea.”

        2. Kj*

          It wasn’t waiting on a password- my assigned user name was too long for the box that was labeled “user name.” The box only allowed for a certain number of characters and my first name last initial was a couple of characters over that. It took them a whole day to figure out I wasn’t typing it wrong (seriously, that is what they thought was going on) and a phone conference with 3 people from IT to “solve the problem” once they found out my name was too long. My first name is not that long for my area and I’m sure at this company they’d had others with long names before. We ended up using my nickname, which I suggested at the start of the long phone conference, but they had to discuss 6 other options before they’d listen to me state my already stated preference.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            OMG, Kj, did we work for the same employer? When I came onboard, IT completely misspelled my last name, which then prevented me from accessing any of the databases I needed to do my job because the personnel data and my IT data didn’t match. Our IT guy tried to blame the misspelling on me, and then he asked why I couldn’t just go by the misspelled last name (!)… as if changing my name legally with personnel and getting a new passport was a reasonable option. It took over 3 weeks to fix, in part because he lied to his boss and said I didn’t know how to spell my name, so he never sent a ticket.

            The second time, I transferred to a different division of the same agency, and the old IT guy refused to shut down my account at the old division’s extension, so the new division’s systems froze me out. That one took 5 days to fix, which sounds long but was actually crazy fast.

    2. Tuckerman*

      I can honestly say, I have wanted to cry after the first day of every job I’ve held. But after I established a routine and got past the initial training phase, I felt very different, much more at ease. I’m so glad I stayed. Hang in there!

    3. Jen RO*

      I almost quit on my first day. My manager was in another country (with 7 hours of time zone difference) and I was the only one in my department. Someone in another team was training me, but she didn’t exactly know what to do with me. I ate alone and basically didn’t talk to anyone, because it was my first professional job and I was scared of everything.

      7 years later, I’m still here (and I’ve made improvements to the onboarding process!).

  6. Loopy*

    I have to agree. I’ve seen some really underwhelming first days on my team and they were almost embarrassingly so, but things always improved.

    It’s never been an indication of how the job will go and I think two weeks is a good marker to start evaluating the job, not the first day.

    I’d also think someone was overreacting leaving after a first day and it might stick in my mind if I ever came across that person again.

  7. The IT Manager*

    Echoing Alison’s response. It’s not a great first day, but nothing is terrible.

    Ideally your manager would be there on your first day, but she may have had a long scheduled vacation, appointment or a sudden emergency.

    It can be disappointing not to be enthusiastically welcomed, but your new co-workers are hopefully busy working. It would have been nice to be invited to lunch especially if they went somewhere as a group, but did they? Or did everyone leave to do there own individual lunch plans?

    It does sound like you should have gotten some more information. (Where do I put the computer at the end of the day? When can I leave?) But even with the manager there, a lot of new employees find themselves with not enough to do while their manager tries to get them up to speed.

    So they don’t have the greatest onboarding, but I don’t think there’s any real red flags yet.

  8. Quaggaquagga*

    When you start a new job, you’ve probably spent the previous weeks anticipating the very first day, wondering what the people will be like, how you’ll fit it, whether you’ll be comfortable with the new work. You probably spent the evening before planning your new commute and thinking about what you should wear. However, for your new coworkers, it’s just another day at work! It can be disappointing to arrive and find out that no one’s terribly excited to meet you or get you settled in. A huge part of work, any work, is figuring out stuff for yourself and being the one with the initiative to introduce yourself to your coworkers and ask questions. I hope the rest of your week goes much better, LW.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Your second to last sentence is exactly what I was thinking. Is there another manager you can reach out to with questions? Or even one of the coworkers? Some jobs sort of just throw you in the deep end and expect you to figure things out. At least you had some orientation meetings. I’ve had jobs where they just sit you in front of a computer and throw a huge pile of files on your desk and say “enter all this”, and that was as much “onboarding” you got.

    2. LBK*

      Totally agreed. Remember that you’re the only one who doesn’t have a routine here yet; these people have things to do and certain plans established for how to go about their day. If your manager didn’t set up a training schedule beforehand, you can’t really expect them to juggle their day around unexpectedly to take care of you.

    3. Engineer Woman*

      That your manager isn’t there is possibly causing some of the perceived slights. Not ideal but also could be that your manager was thinking whoever “led” your first day would be more inclusive but that person just isn’t. And with no introductions, your other colleagues didn’t know what to do with you and just largely left you alone, did their jobs and went home.

      I’ve had very friendly welcomes at each of my jobs and can understand the feeling of such a lonely first day at work. But as lots of commenters have said: nothing you noted,
      nor the aggregate, is so terrible as to quit. I would stick it out at least a few months, just to be sure of the job and the culture.

  9. LQ*

    This may sound strange, but you can reach out and ask questions on things. Like “Hey where’s a good place to go to lunch?” or “Where should I leave my laptop?” Some organizations just aren’t great at onboarding people (that might be because people love it and usually stay a long time, so I’m not sure you can judge things by the actual onboarding process). And even at orgs that ARE good at onboarding the first days are often a little weird or underwhelming.

    It may be a different kind of work environment from what you’ve experienced in the past (quieter, more focus on work/less social), or it may be a crunch time, or it may be that while the boss is gone things are quieter and it’s different when the manager is around.

    If you feel like you aren’t getting what you need for information and resources, you need to speak up and ask. I know that I sometimes assume that people know, but they don’t.
    Example: I had the same standard computer everyone else had. Everyone else does web based work with 1 program running besides, that’s about it. I assumed since I had been given the same computer everyone else had I just had to suck it up and deal while I tried to run a bunch of heavy resource hog programs. Finally when my coworkers would get frustrated watching me wait (like they’d be frustrated for me, not at me) I sat down and asked my boss. He was shocked that I hadn’t asked sooner! He had no idea. He put in a request with a rush for a shiny, speedy new machine while we were sitting there basically. You have to ask. You can’t assume, even if you think it is super obvious.

    1. MWKate*

      This is a good point. It can be nerve wracking especially in a new position, but you can’t always wait for someone to show you something or tell you something. If they don’t have a good procedure for new employees – you need to take responsibility to ask questions if you aren’t sure about something.

      Your co-workers probably aren’t thinking about what you are up to. They may very well have assumed your manager had set something up for you. Take the initiative and approach them for what you need. (Like where to put your laptop maybe not striking up social convos until you’ve evaluated the office culture for that kind of thing.)

      1. Bolt*

        Questions are SO important!

        I once sulkily ate my lunch on a park bench (in the rain at times) for a month… no one had shown me that there was a break room in the basement and I was too embarrassed to ask what to do at lunch since everyone confidently trotted off. It was only when we won a free pizza that I discovered a break room existed!

        No one was there to babysit me – they assumed I knew about the break room and would go in if I wanted to eat there. I sat on my bench assuming that they all ate out at restaurants and we weren’t allowed to eat in the workplace.

        1. Dizzy Steinway*

          This happened to me except I worked in a psychiatric hospital and nobody told me there was a staff canteen.

          My workplace has a checklist of things you are meant to tell new staff, which works well.

          1. Koko*

            I use the fantastic onboarding agenda template that Alison provides in her Managing to Change the World book.

            It makes a big difference – you’re able to make sure you don’t forget to tell the employee anything critical because you wrote it all out in advance, and you get to see the big picture of what the first day is going to look like and are more likely to spot if you’ve crammed way too much into the day or if you’re not going to be able to fill the day. It’s also great for the employee, who gets a printed copy of it so they don’t have to retain as much info on their first day and are empowered to consult it for answers to their questions (like where to put your computer, what people do for lunch, or what working hours are!). It also got me a lot of praise from my own boss who had never done any sort of formal onboarding agenda and was impressed with what I created!

            I also have a packet of reading materials (our annual report, member newsletter, things of that nature) and structure the day so that we go over the agenda, then I give them an hour or so to read from the packet, then they meet and greet a couple of teammates to talk about how their work will interact, then a bit more reading on their own, then lunch, then another meet and greet, a bit more reading, then training/completion of their first assignment(s) near the end of the day. For the first assignment I’m usually able to work it out so that I start the project with them and then it gets to a point where it’s repetitive and I can leave them to finish the rest on their own with me sitting 10 feet away if they have any questions. Breaking up the day between reading/learning/socializing in bursts this way helps mitigate the overwhelmed/fatigued feeling common to first days.

              1. Bethlam*

                I just bought the book! I don’t know where I’ll land after our shut down, but I’ll be looking at office manager/HR type of jobs and decided that I should read this before I pursue new employment. And, since the current comment thread is about onboarding and orientation, I have to say that my current company gets an A+ in that department and I may specifically go looking for a company who could use my expertise in that area.

          2. Cassie*

            I love checklists. I have one for visiting students/researchers so I don’t forget to tell them anything when they show up for their first day. Many of them are international visitors and it might be their first visit to the US (or first non-vacation) so I don’t want to overwhelm by just verbally telling them what they need to do. I’ll go over the checklist with them and then they get to take it with them in case they need to reference it.

      2. JessaB*

        They also might be thinking since you’re not asking that you already KNOW the stuff. They’re not mind readers.

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      And let me just add, there’s also places with great, formal on onboarding processes that turn out to be terrible places to work.

      1. Kj*

        Yep. I’ve been in those. They have the checklist and everything and your first few days feel good, then they are horrible to work for. What it usually boils down to is they hire a lot- because people are quitting left and right.

    3. AthenaC*

      That’s a great point. Additionally, the way your coworkers respond when you smile and say, “Excuse me – I just started today. Would you mind telling me how I should secure my laptop before leaving for the night?” will tell you loads about what type of workplace you actually have.

      I just hit my one-year anniversary at Current Job and I STILL have to do the “Excuse me, how do I do this completely obvious thing that someone at my level really should know how to do?” routine. Thankfully, everyone has been very friendly and helpful.

  10. MWKate*

    I think your expectations are a little high – I’m not sure if it’s for your workplace in general or just for a first day, but quitting after the first day would be a really drastic move and not warranted in this situation. Additionally, if I was a manager looking to hire you and somehow knew about this – it would be cause for concern especially considering your previous short employment period (crazy manager doesn’t give a lot to work off of).

    Work places are not social clubs, and while it would have been nice for your new coworkers to show you the ropes more, it isn’t their responsibility. A lot of people don’t speak to one another throughout the day because they are busy – working. Social chatting can be disruptive to some people and excessive amounts frowned upon.

    Your manager should have left better instructions, but none of these things are cause for concern.

    1. Dizzy Steinway*

      Am I the only one who doesn’t think OP’s expectations are that high?

      Do stick with it, though.

      1. Squeeble*

        I don’t think OP’s expectations are high, either, more that they’ll have an easier go of it if they realize those expectations often won’t be met. If that makes sense.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I don’t think the OP’s expectations are too high, but I do think being prepared to quit is an overreaction.

      3. MWKate*

        I think they are high not in that they want to know where the lunch room is, what to do with the computer, but in that they wanted the other manager there to ‘show they cared’ about her, and that everyone was quiet at their desks and not talking. I can understand being disappointed that your new coworkers weren’t particularly welcoming but there were a couple statements that stuck out to me.

        I think a lot of the issues probably stem from the manager not being there, and resulting in that no one was there to guide her through the day.

        1. Reverend(ish)*

          This. Something very similar just happened to me as well yesterday ( I also started my new job). Somehow the recruiter set up all my info and contract, but didn’t forward it to my new boss and team. So I was told to report in with my supervisor that am for orientation but no one new I was coming.

          It definitely made for an awkward start, and made me feel that much more nervous. As the security guard at the parking garage told me ( after adding me to the visitor list when I wasn’t on the employee list) “first days are hard enough when everything goes according to plan.”But it all worked out.

      4. LBK*

        I don’t think her operational expectations are necessarily too high (although she did get a general orientation, so it’s not like she’s received literally no guidance about any element of working at this place). But her cultural expectations seem too high – I don’t understand being miffed that the other manager she got introduced to didn’t say anything beyond “nice to meet you” (which is pretty much all I say when I get introduced to new employees). I don’t get feeling upset that the manager didn’t say goodbye before she left (again, most people I work with just kind of get up and go when it’s time to leave). And the lunch thing definitely feels out of place – most people have their set lunch routine, and I don’t think the OP should expect to be automatically incorporated into that.

        1. fposte*

          I’m wondering if this is the way new-job anxiety is presenting for the OP. It can be really stressful to feel like an interloper.

          1. LBK*

            Good point; sometimes the anxiety of trying to settle into a new place can turn into feeling intentionally left out or shunned. I remember a letter from a few years ago where the OP felt like her coworkers were being clique-y and Mean Girl-y by going out to lunch together without her, but it was because they’d worked together for years and established a routine that the OP just wasn’t part of. Not an intentional slight, just how workplace routines develop.

        2. MWKate*

          Yes – that is what I was trying to convey in my follow up but couldn’t quite put into words. thanks!

      5. Not So NewReader*

        I don’t think that OP’s expectations are that high at all. I am really, really surprised by how sharp some of the responses are here. I don’t think OP deserves those comments. Her work place sounds more like an iceberg than a place filled with people.

        Onboarding sets a tone for the employee’s relationship with the company. This company is not off on a good foot.
        I am not sure, OP, did they give you any work to do or are you just sitting there?

        One job they gave me a booklet to read. I guess I was supposed to spend six hours reading it. They became ANGRY with me when I said I wanted something to do. I almost walked out. I found myself explaining that I wanted to work as in do something helpful. After I said it five or six times they finally got it.

        In another job, there were three people working that day. All three refused to help me get started AND all three refused to help train me. I almost walked out then, too. Later, I reported the three people to the boss and he was upset. I don’t remember why I stayed. I remember standing there holding my coat and handbag and no one even pointed out where to put my stuff. I kept thinking about how easy it would be to turn around and walk out. I stayed for years. It did not get better.

        I have had several jobs where people stood around and sneered and mocked the new hire but did not lift a finger to help onboard or train. Perhaps this is why I do not see OP as being particularly needy. I think OP is just asking for a few basic courtesies. I would have expected to see that someone was assigned to be the go-to person for basic questions, barest minimum.

        What I have done in situations like this, OP, is just push through it some how. Then my turn came when there was a new hire, I spoke up about making sure the person had some orientation and someone to go to through out the day with questions.

        This is why some companies have trainers because people simply refuse to help the new hire. So the trainer ends up doing a lot of the introductory stuff as well as training for the particular tasks in the job.

        Alison, I think the topic of how to onboard and WHY onboarding is so important would make a great post. While I agree that OP would benefit from pushing through this, I think that managers would benefit from a discussion about what good onboarding looks like. From what I have read here, good onboarding seems to be a rarity.

        1. LBK*

          It doesn’t sound like anyone is being intentionally icy or nasty to the OP, though. I put most of this back on the manager for not setting up any kind of formal training schedule or telling people to have the new hire sit with them and learn X task on her first day. If I’m not prepared to have someone shadowing me, I’m rarely in a good position to have them join me at a random time just because they looked bored or lost, because I’m not always working on things that will be useful for a new hire and I still need to be able to get my job done. So yeah, maybe I’ll come across like I’m ignoring them, but it’s not going really going to be any more productive to tell a new hire to come sit with me while I’m working on some complex problem that won’t mean anything to them.

  11. Matilda Jefferies (formerly JMegan)*

    I’ve had first days like that too. One of them was my first day back from a year of mat leave. My manager had started when I was on leave, so I didn’t know her, and she was working in another city. I had a desk, but no phone, no computer, and no one even seemed to know I was coming. And this was a job that I already had, and where people knew me, and I still felt rejected!

    Hang in there, though. It doesn’t sound like your first day was very welcoming, but I agree with Alison and the others that it’s too early to tell. Maybe try asking some of your colleagues what they normally do for lunch – that might tweak them to invite you along, or to let you know that the manager had something planned for when she gets back from vacation. Be visible, and pleasant, and ask as many questions as you need to, and I’m sure things will settle down for you soon.

  12. Not a Real Giraffe*

    Agree with everyone here. It’s pretty common for current staff to overestimate how long “getting set up” and “onboarding” will take, so most first days are spent with very little to do. I can understand how each of your coworkers may have just assumed someone else had been appointed your “go-to person” for your first day and left you to your own devices, figuring that surely someone else had already talked to you about office protocol and end times.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling overlooked on your first day, but I agree that you should give it a few weeks to really get a feel for how your new workplace operates and whether or not this will be a good fit.

    1. k*

      Very true! I was once left to be in change of a new intern on there first day for just a few hours until boss came in. The plan was to get them set up on a computer, let them read over a training manual, etc. which would keep them busy until boss got there. It took maybe a quarter as long as we expected, and then I had nothing for new intern to do. I had my own work to do and hadn’t planned on training them at all, so it made for an awkward situation and I’m sure they felt a bit like OP.

  13. Stop That Goat*

    Onboarding is so hit and miss between different companies. I’ve had great, informative and productive first weeks at some places and then found myself without much direction at all in others. Just stick through it though. I think Alison’s point that you can still resign in a few weeks is a good one.

    Keep in mind that you joining the team may have been new information to your coworkers too and they weren’t planning for it.

    Good luck!!!

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Great point. That’s happened to me more than once. People were hired and I wasn’t told. They showed up on their first day and didn’t have email, a system login, computer ready to go, etc. because no one told the IT-ish person.

      1. JessaB*

        Or they told IT but it’s like a class of 20 people and no IT does not have a magic wand to POOF and all the set up is done.

  14. Anon For This*

    I’ve had similar first days with a lot of down time at other jobs. I think it might be pretty normal, unfortunately.

    This was almost my exact first day at my last job. (Many hours of trying to kill time after being given two documents, etc.) It was definitely a library atmosphere and I wasn’t included in lunch invitations in the future, either. I left the job for a lot of unrelated reasons. The library/social isolation issue was a problem but not the real dealbreaker. I’d see how it plays out. I wish you the best!

  15. The Other Dawn*

    To be honest, I was more sympathetic when I read that first line: “I started today my first job…” I then chalked up the rest of the post to it being OP’s first job and not knowing what the business norms are. Maybe an overreaction, but not unexpected. But when I read that this is her third job, I felt more like this was way more of an overreaction than warranted.

    I agree with others that say to give it some time. These are normal things. The first couple weeks are either boring and underwhelming, or chaotic and overwhelming, depending on the company. Very seldom is it just right. Now, if you’re bored and underwhelmed after the first month, then I’d say it’s a red flag and you should think about moving on. Before that, though, it’s too soon to make the determination.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hmmm, that first line doesn’t make sense when it says it’s the first job, since the OP later mentions other jobs. Maybe it’s a typo; I’ll edit it.

      1. fposte*

        I wondered, given the translation component, if the OP’s first language isn’t English. If there’s some kind of cross-cultural element at play that can enhance the fitting-in stress.

        1. LBK*

          Something about the OP’s phraseology also gave me that sense. I can’t put my finger on it, but just something about her wording sounded more like the people I know who speak ESL or at least didn’t learn English in the US.

  16. an anon is an anon*

    If OP hadn’t said they had jobs before this one, I would have assumed they were new to the workforce, since this behavior is par for the course for the first day of every company I’ve been at. I think you’re expecting a lot from your first day.

    A “nice to meet you” doesn’t mean your coworkers don’t care about you, but it’d be interesting to know what you expected from them? Aside from initial introductions, did you expect everyone to get together to go to lunch and talk about themselves? It may vary from place to place, but of the many companies I’ve worked at, getting to know coworkers is something that happens organically over time. Not immediately on the first day. I’ve never had a welcome lunch or anything – usually just an introduction in a team meeting.

    As for the lunch thing….well. Work isn’t high school. If you’re not working in a job with set lunch times, you’re probably expected to fend for yourself. I don’t think it’s the job of a coworker to tell you to go to lunch and you don’t know that they all ate together. Again, in my experience, a lot of people leave for lunch at the same time, but it doesn’t mean they’re eating together. There’s sort of an assumption that as an adult, you’ll want to choose what you want to do for your lunch hour.

    Getting to know coworkers or going to lunch with them is a two way street. You’re just as capable of asking questions as they are of offering advice or help.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        And since it varies a lot from workplace to workplace, differing expectations can cause some grief too. My partner went from a everyone-eats-lunch-in-the-cafeteria-at-the-same-time workplace culture (aided by the fact that the company paid for catered lunches) to a people-get-lunch-on-their-own workplace culture, and it was a little awkward until he realized that he just needed to ask people if they wanted to get lunch together or etc., and quite often they would. Which, I mean, sounds obvious in retrospect, but since his other long-term job had been of the “just wander down to the lunchroom at noon and there will be people you can join for lunch, no planning necessary” variety, he just wasn’t thinking about it.

  17. Dizzy Steinway*

    I’m confused that you say this is your first job but then mentioned you’ve had others?

    This isn’t a great first day – in my workplace we go for a team lunch when someone new starts and let them know when to leave etc – but it’s not grounds to leave.

  18. AdAgencyChick*

    This is normal. It’s not about you, OP. It’s about the fact that you starting is not a top priority on your coworkers’ minds the way it might be on your manager’s mind, and unfortunately your manager is out of the office. A particularly considerate manager would have designated a delegate to make sure you got settled in, and perhaps invite you to lunch or at least let you know where the best lunch spots are in the area. But I don’t think it’s a red flag that this didn’t happen.

  19. M*

    This sounds a LOT like my first day of my current job, and I’ve now been working here quite happily for over 3 years. Give it time.

  20. Decima Dewey*

    Look it this way: they’re letting you ease into the job. There will be time to teach you all the rules and office norms later.

  21. Merida May*

    What OP has described sounds remarkably similar to my first day at oldjob. I had just come from an office where everyone was in everyone’s face from the time you came in until you parted ways in the parking lot. To say oldjob had a library atmosphere would be putting it mildly, and that was my new normal. I actually did cry a little on the drive home. It seems so silly now but I was really worried about whether or not I’d done the right thing. Amongst the general weirdness of being new, there can definitely be a learning curve when it comes to immersing yourself into the office culture. It took me a few weeks to get my footing, but once I’d been there a while it was like an old hat, and I was as comfortable as I’d ever been. This needs more time to percolate OP, first days are tough!

  22. Thumper*

    OP, I think you might be letting your nerves get to you too much. You sound like me on the first day of my first few jobs growing up*. I’d see everything my peers did or didn’t do as a potential red flag, I’d get FOMO about the other jobs I applied to but didn’t take, I’d start coming up with my own reasons why I shouldn’t be there. And every time, I’d wait it out a few weeks and eventually things got easier, and so far I’ve never walked out on a job. If things still seem like they’re not the right fit after a while, make an exit plan. For now, maybe take a look at why everything is coming off as negative. If you’re like me, it’s just the Anxiety Brain talking.

    *I say growing up like I’m not 24 and still growing, but I’ve held a lot of summer jobs in my life.

    1. fposte*

      This is what I’m thinking–this is fear of having made the wrong choice. Stick it out, OP; I think most jobs feel like bad fits on the first day.

  23. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    First days can be really overwhelming. You’re getting used to a new workplace with new people, new norms and new procedures. I’ve always found them nervewracking, to be honest. Be patient with both yourself and the people around you. You may be surprised and delighted after a few weeks when you find it’s actually a pretty good place. (Of course, it might not be, but there’s a chance it will be as well.)

    Congratulate yourself for getting through the day, even though it was tough. Also take a chance to think about what’s really bothering you. For instance, I can’t handle lots of questions. This makes first days difficult because everyone wants to know everything about me (where you from, do you have kids/partner, what’s that you’re eating, etc). People are being friendly but for me, it feels like an interrogation! So I had to learn how to politely deal with that.

    In your case, you can consider why it was hurtful for people not to invite you to lunch. You can also consider why they didn’t invite you. It could be that people in the office wanted to give you time to settle in and let you deal with lunch in your own way. Or maybe this is an office where you have to ask to join people for lunch.

    I don’t know much about the translations part, but do find out more and give it a try. (Could there have been a miscommunication about the 300 a day? I’ve been told things on my first day that turned out to be incorrect.)

    This is not to say that you’re wrong about the workplace. Maybe it really isn’t right for you. Only you can make that decision. Just make sure you give them and yourself a fair chance before making a judgement. Good luck and hope things go well for you!

  24. Lucille B.*

    Maybe we can share some first day/week disappointments so OP understands how normal this really is. I’ll start: during my first week at a law firm, all of the support staff went to lunch without me (which involved walking past my desk to leave). They had been waiting for months to do that since there was an antiquated rule that “someone must be here to answer the phone that really never rings”. I didn’t know that rule at the time, so I was just completely hurt. Fast forward six years, and my best friend was in that group that walked past my desk to leave for their group lunch. You never really know how things will shake out as the relationships evolve in a workplace.

    1. Lisa from scenic Michigan*

      All the “first days” I’ve had were very underwhelming. There’s paperwork. You might get introduced around. Maybe not. There’s often some thumb twiddling while computer access gets figured out. (Oh, did you need email?) But you do find out some important things: where the restrooms are, the state of the office kitchen, the quality of the coffee.

      OP, please be patient. It will get better.

    2. Dizzy Steinway*

      This is a great idea. Though I don’t think OP is entirely wrong to be disappointed. Or that it’s okay to leave the new person alone without even explaining – sorry but that wouldn’t fly at my workplace.

      I had an associate lecturing job where IT hadn’t set up an email or password so I couldn’t get into the system. I needed to get in to be able to present and teach. I couldn’t without a login. I wasn’t allowed to use my manager’s login but had to as otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do anything.

      On the other hand, I had a temp job where they all went to lunch without me and didn’t tell me there was a staff canteen (I was an office temp at a psychiatric hospital). I used the public one for several weeks before I discovered that nobody had told me I had somewhere non-public to go.

      CurrentJob, however, was amazing: showed me the coffee and my desk (in that order so I knew I’d found my people), had my IT stuff ready to go, new stationery on my desk all ready for me and lunch with my team.,There was still a lot of downtime at first but they made sure I wasn’t just left to figure everything out.

    3. Amber Rose*

      First day at first office job. The hiring manager had been fired for gross misconduct before I got there, so nobody was expecting me or knew what I looked like. Nobody was sure what I had been hired to do either, and there was no manager on site, just five workers and the district manager who was visiting from another city for the day. So they stuck me in the basement with the scariest person there, to prep documents for scanning. Unstaple pages, count how many pages there were, fill out a form with that information, and put it in a basket. Which I did. In silence. For 8 hours. I ate my lunch in a closet (not literally, but the lunch room was so small it only fit 2 people max). Things were looking grim.

      The next day, a couple people returned from holidays and came downstairs to help out and chat. I learned that the scary person just had RBF and was kind of quiet, but was actually a really nice person. I was shown how to do other tasks. Several weeks in we got a new manager and she had me cross train in other departments. I found an awesome deli nearby for lunches. It turned into an awesome job.

    4. FN2187*

      My first day involved an hour of training. That’s it. I had to figure out everything else from then on. Granted, my job has a lot of moving parts that only appear at certain times of the years so training for specific tasks isn’t exactly something that can be accomplished on the first day. On the other hand, my coworkers were very nice and did stop by to introduce themselves.

    5. PK*

      My first office job out of high school, I was left in a small secluded office to fill out some benefit paperwork. I was told that things were a bit hectic that day but I should fill it out, stay in the office and someone would come in to check on me in a little bit.

      Well….5 hours passes. I really have to use the restroom but thought I’d get in trouble since they told me to stay in the office. I finally build up the courage to walk out and ask whether I can use the bathroom. Turns out that the employee that was onboarding me quit that day. My manager thought I was still with HR and the remaining HR employees had no idea that I was in the office.

      I can laugh about it now but easily my most boring first day. I could just about recite the benefits information sheets from memory by the end of it.

    6. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      My first day was a Friday. My boss had to travel the next week and wanted to be there for my first day. I might have spent 10 minutes with him. He took me from HR to my office, introduced me to three people, and then I didn’t speak to him for over a week. Not even email. My officemate gave me a crash course in what to do. This building is a maze and I seriously got lost and had to ask someone how to get back to my office the first time I tried to go somewhere by myself.

      A year later and it’s ok. I’m friendly with a few people, and the job part is good now that I’ve done it for awhile. The culture here is one that there isn’t much guidance and not much socializing. Everyone works fairly independently. Luckily, that’s an environment that’s good for me. But I wouldn’t have had the chance to figure that out if I’d left after day one.

    7. Emi.*

      That’s a good idea!

      I spent a lot of time my first couple of days waiting for computer access, negotiating for badge-less computer access, applying for elevated privileges, waiting for phone access, and reading a 90-page ethics document.

    8. Bloop*

      My first day at my job wasn’t just underwhelming–it was actively bad. My team leader and one of the managers were gone, so I spent the first day just reading SOP documents alone in a very cold office. It was July, so I’d worn a short sleeved top and didn’t bring any sort of jacket. I was so cold and so bored that I spent the whole day forcing myself to not fall asleep. I didn’t meet anyone and I know I ate lunch alone. Anyway, I still have that job and I (mostly) like it a lot! Give it time, OP.

    9. nutella fitzgerald*

      I actually think that everyone going to lunch and leaving you there by yourself is rude enough to be out of the ordinary! Not to the point where I would immediately quit, but I would definitely side eye your coworkers for thinking that was a good idea, let alone not even explaining as they left.

      1. The IT Manager*

        I think it only rises to the level of thoughtless. This was the LW’s first day; for everyone else it was just another day at the office. And none of them were responsible for the LW’s onboarding. I think it’s likely they all just did their normal lunch thing not that they purposely excluded the LW. If I had plans to run errands or meet a friend or just needed to get out of the office, I wouldn’t want to and it wouldn’t necessarily occur to me to alter my plans to welcome the new employee who I was not responsible for onboarding.

        1. nutella fitzgerald*

          Oh, yeah, I didn’t think the LW’s situation (coworkers presumably trickling out for lunch as they got to their own stopping points) warranted ruffled feathers as much as Lucille B.’s story, which sounded like the group planning to go to out to lunch and specifically exclude the new hire (admittedly not for nefarious purposes, but I think this is one of those where perception supersedes intent).

    10. Seal*

      Years ago I left a job I’d held for years with the intent of changing professions. After having the luxury of taking the summer off and still not sure what I was going to do next, I took a temp job providing support for mortgage underwriters at a large bank. After my first day I was devastated. I had worked in academia since I was an undergraduate and this was a decidedly non-academic environment; to say I was experiencing culture shock would be an understatement. I had come in on my first day dressed in business casual and most of the people in my division were dressed in jeans and t-shirts; people actually commented on my “conservative” attire. Worse, the woman whose job I was supposed to be taking over had been a temp herself and had been going to be made a permanent employee until they found out she lied on her application. Rather than let her go immediately, they thought it would be a good idea to have her stick around for a few weeks to train her replacement. Needless to say, she was rather resentful at that point and made snide asides about me within earshot all day long. On top of all that, she was a terrible trainer and kept giving me conflicting information, then yelled at me when I did something wrong. All of this was on my first day.

      My first week there was absolute hell; in retrospect, I really should have left then. This terrible woman finally left after I’d been there for 3 weeks. Our coworkers had a going away dinner and intentionally didn’t invite me, although I knew where they were going and briefly considered just showing up. Things got quite a bit better after she was gone, mostly because I was free to ask other people questions and get clarification on how the work was actually supposed to be done. Perhaps not surprisingly, I also found out that a few months before I got there this woman had messed something up to the point that the department head had been called on the carpet by her boss. The whole situation was just ridiculous.

      After a few months, I decided enough was enough and went back to academia where I belonged and remain to this day. That job remains the nadir of my career, although in large part because of my experience there I make a point of making sure that all of my new hires get a warm welcome and some structure to their first day on the job.

    11. Tableau Wizard*

      I remember it taking a couple weeks to really ramp up at current job. It’s a lot of work to onboard someone, and even with the best of intentions, you’re likely to have some downtime in the first few weeks.

      My husband waited 6 months to have a computer issued to him (but that’s govt, so ymmv). We have a temp who started last week and has had multiple periods of thumb-twittling while we find enough time to give her directions for her next task. It sucks, but it happens. And it gets better.

    12. Not a Real Giraffe*

      My very first job was a position I was not even remotely qualified for. I was entry level and hired at a manager level, but when I interviewed, my boss-to-be promised he would provide me extensive training on everything I would need to know in order to succeed.

      On my first day, I got to work to find my new boss was on a three-week vacation and there had been no training documents left behind for me to review. The “training” my boss promised me was an off-site program that was three months away and was actually a development course for people who already had 3-5 years of experience. I had literally no idea what to do in order to do my job, and no one to ask for help or guidance (I was the only person responsible for my job duties).

      I quit after three months, which is my way of saying that even in what felt like a hopeless case to me, I still gave it three months to see if anything changed. OP, I encourage you to give it at least two weeks.

    13. tigerlily*

      My first day at my first “real job” (about ten years ago now) there was a big misunderstanding on my point. I had accepted the job and HR scheduled an hour long orientation with me for a Monday morning a few weeks away. I asked when my fist day would be and HR said “oh, that orientation day will be you first day.” I took that to mean all I was doing that first day would be that one hour orientation. But when I showed up, we had our meeting and then she gave me a packet of papers to take to my boss and have him sign and then get back to her by the end of the day. Apparently she meant orientation was the START of my first day – thinking back on it now, it’s obvious to me that’s what she meant. But at the time, I was like “score, easy first day – just an hour!” Nope.

      Fun fact: my office was in a different building than HR, about a mile away, and I don’t drive. I was seriously not prepared to have to walk a mile between the two buildings twice, especially without ever having done it before. But I was not about to let this super nice and very competent HR lady know what a goober I’d been! So I just smiled, took the papers, and started walking!

    14. BBBizAnalyst*

      At one of my previous jobs, my employee profile wasn’t set up so I ended up unable to access any of the network for over a week and a half. I would just come to work, read the training guides a million times and shadow my coworkers. Let’s say I yawned 90% of the week since I learn by doing things hands on. It was annoying but I stuck it out and ended up staying at the company for nearly 3.5 years. Turned out to be the most valuable role in terms of learning and experience I’ve had in my career thus far.

    15. Lawnonymous*

      At a previous job, I sat in a chair outside my boss’ office for about 45 minutes on my first day waiting for him to arrive as he didn’t answer my email message from a few days prior about what time I should get there. I felt like a school kid waiting for the principal. When he took me to my office, I discovered that he had not contacted the IT department to tell them that I was starting so I didn’t have a computer that day. The computer didn’t arrive for two (!) weeks. I had to bring in my own laptop so I could get any work done. To make matters worse, I didn’t get paid on the first pay day after I started because no one had bothered to send my paperwork into HR. It was a disastrous first month but overall a great job. I found out later that it was the first time my boss had hired someone and was not aware of the related administrivia.

    16. Sybil Fawlty*

      My first day at the last job I had (before I started my own business) was pretty crazy. I was hired for a new position, and the office was not finished. I had no phone, nothing. I had to sit in the hall with some paper work while I tried to assist my new boss.

      The situation at that organization was that the squeaky wheel got the grease, and my boss knew this. The head of the organization had been dragging her feet on getting everything set up for me. But once I was sitting in the hall, I was a fire hazard and my office etc became a priority. It wasn’t pretty but it’s the way it had to be.

      No one told me anything about lunch or anything else. I got thrown in the middle of everything and handed papers and sent places to see people I didn’t know. I just kept a small notebook and pen and said Yes to everything and it worked out fine.

    17. Anon for this*

      Anon again, since this is about CurrentJob. It was a new company that at the start had about a dozen people from OldJob working there, so I knew everyone and had no problem fitting in. But, by weird coincidence, on my first day they had an expert in our field fly in from another state to give us a thorough review of the system’s architecture. I had no idea this was going to happen; it must’ve been arranged on last-minute notice. I hadn’t packed lunch on my first day, because I didn’t know what the breakroom/microwave situation was at the new place, and thought that I’d just run out and grab something to eat at lunch. Came in to a full day of meetings (had to duck out of a morning meeting for my one-hour orientation), and during my 30-minute lunch break, I had to go online to take a mandatory HR course that, as I was told at orientation, was “due by the end of today”. For some weird reason there was no vending machine in the building at that time. My lunch that day was a handful of M&Ms from the candy dish at the front desk, that I washed down with several half and half creamer cups from the breakroom! Good times! My fifth job in this country and probably close to my tenth job altogether in my career, and I still managed to be surprised on my first day!

    18. ANewbie*

      My onboarding at this job was also not spectacular. They moved the onboarding to a different building than they gave me on the paperwork, but didn’t tell me that, so I was about an hour late by the time I found someone who helped me figure out where I should have been and got there (after getting lost on the way). My boss did meet me at onboarding and give me a map to his office, then took me to lunch one on one, which was nice. However, I didn’t have my own cubicle yet (I squatted at the desk of someone who was out for a 2 week training course until she came back and they had to find somewhere else to put me!), my computer logins didn’t get set up properly for about 2 weeks, and my team lead was out of the office on vacation when I started, so all I had to do the first week was read three printouts she had left for me.

      Now, 7 years later, I still work here – it turned out to be an awesome job once everything got straightened out! I do try to remember that terrible first week, though, and help make sure new hires at least have something interesting to read when their computer set up inevitably isn’t ready.

    19. Anonymous Coward*

      I didn’t know my manager’s NAME for the first two days. I was a temp, and my hiring paperwork listed the VP who’d placed the hiring request with the temp agency, but that wasn’t the person taking charge of the handful of new temps. I was too nervous/awkward to get a proper introduction, and he knew my name but somehow neglected to give me his. It was one of my first office placements. I went to lunch on the first day, called my girlfriend, and cried because I was sure I’d never be able to keep up and I didn’t know anything about the product or the company and they would surely figure out very soon that I was completely incompetent. She encouraged me to stick it out, because even if they fired me at the end of the week, I’d still have that much more money.

      It wasn’t until I was converted to permanent 6 months later that I had a formal onboarding, and that same VP spoke to our hiring group about something I’d never heard of before: Imposter Syndrome.

    20. Former Usher*

      At one job I showed up for orientation at the corporate headquarters on my first day and was turned away because a director had failed to sign a form.

      On my first day at another job, my manager started to introduce me to people but ran out of time before his next meeting. He never found the time to finish the introductions. He also never found the time to complete my 6-month performance review. Or my 12-month review. I didn’t stay long after that.

      1. Former Usher*

        One more: on the first day of an internship (where the terms interns and co-ops were often used interchangeably), my manager told me that co-op was the sound that made when hitting a wall.

        1. Former Usher*

          Some auto-filtering removed a word. Should be “the sound that you-know-what made when hitting a wall”.

    21. CheeryO*

      What a sweet idea. My worst first day was at my first internship. There were four of us, and we were all corralled into a conference room and given the scariest speech ever by the head of the engineering department, saying that we were in the real world now and needed to be prepared to beg for work since no one was going to want to give us any (and that ended up being true). He said that if we didn’t get out of our comfort zone and make a name for ourselves, that we would never be successful. (I mean, ouch, we were all 20/21 years old.) Then I had to go sit at my desk where nothing was set up and I had literally nothing to do. A few people came up and said hello but I mostly felt invisible. I went to a park nearby to eat my lunch, only I couldn’t eat because my stomach was in knots. I went home and cried to my parents at the dinner table.

      I managed to learn a lot that summer thanks to a very small handful of people who were willing to give me stuff to do. I also learned that the speech scared the crap out of the other interns, too, but we were all afraid to admit it. When I left at the end of the summer, I knew exactly where I did NOT want to work after college, but the contacts there helped me get my foot in the door at places where I did want to work, so it all ended up okay.

    22. GiantPanda*

      First two months at my current job I was basically useless. Turned out I needed 10 days of specialized training that was not offered every week and finally completed after 8 weeks. My laptop showed up around this time too.
      It’s a (mostly) awesome job with a (mostly) great team, though.

    23. Shiara*

      First day, I realised that no one had actually told me what time to get there, so I just showed up a little before 8, hoping for the best. Fortunately one of my future co-workers noticed me standing in the parking lot looking a little lost, and swiped me into the building. She knew her team had a new hire joining soonish, but hadn’t known that I’d be starting that day. She dropped me off at my team-lead’s office. He had some of my team mates start assembling my desk, and sent me off to HR to do paperwork. I spent the rest of the day getting shuffled off from person to person, depending on who had time to help the newbie get the next piece of equipment she was missing. Half the team was out traveling, so the other half was pretty busy. There was a fair bit of “uh, sit there and fill out this and then do whatever and we’ll get you in a little while”

      I was taken on tour and introduced to everyone in the building, but that mostly involved my tour guide going into a room and announcing “This is Shiara, the new hire in teapot design” and a vast sea of nameless faces waving hi in response. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out the names of all my teammates. My team lead and a couple coworkers did take me out to lunch the first day, which was nice, but that was the only time I was ever invited out to lunch, despite the fact that several of my coworkers did eat together regularly.

      They did put my desk and computer setup together pretty quickly that first day, at least, and I spent the rest of the week alternating between training videos and reading spec documents and twiddling my thumbs/surfing the internet until someone had time to give me the next thing to watch/read.

  25. Amber Rose*

    The best companies tour you around, introduce you to everyone, get you settled, and take you out for lunch.
    Most companies are not the best.

    Most lie in between somewhere, and are more or less what you described. Honestly, I’ve never had a job where anyone did the things you were expecting. Which isn’t to say that your expectations are unreasonable or anything, I think it’s just more that you should give it some more time before you give up hope, since it’s pretty common. But this gives you a chance to step up a bit. Introduce yourself to people. Proactively ask questions about breaks, laptop storage and the best places to go for lunch.

    And when you see a manager again, ask about expectations of you in terms of workload as a new person. The 300 translations a day thing sounds like something people work up to. I remember working in a large deli and being told i’d be expected to produce around $2000 worth of product a day. It seemed overwhelming and impossible (that’s a lot of $10 salads), but after a couple months I was more or less there.

    I don’t even hate making sandwiches. ;)

    1. bridget*

      Even at great companies, this often only happens if it is a particular person’s job to do it for everyone (not the hiring manager/your new boss, generally, since they often assume someone else is in charge of all onboarding). If it’s not somebody’s specific job, everybody assumes someone else will do it.

      At my current job, there is an HR assistant who makes an itinerary of your first day, which includes setting up a lunch with relevant people, helping you through initial documents, giving you policies and manuals to take a look at, prepping a meeting to get assignments, scheduling meetings with IT and office services to get you set up, and taking you around the office to be introduced to everyone. It works great, precisely because she does the same thing for every new hire and it’s part of her expected workflow.

  26. paul*

    So, when I started working at this job there was a shelter in the building.

    No one showed me the staff bathrooms, so for the first 3-4 weeks I was going over to the homeless shelter to use their bathroom.

    It’s not a bad place to work, but sometimes onboarding can be a bit hit or miss. Chill out, relax. You’re panicking over nothing. Other people there had their jobs to do and were probably concerned with that.

    1. Squeeble*

      I think your last point is very important. When I have started new jobs in the past I’ve always come in with some kind of outsized impression that people have been eagerly waiting for me to arrive and will fall over themselves making sure I’m taken care of. It really doesn’t work that way, though–not that people are hostile or ignoring me, but they’re focused on whatever they’re busy with that day and have a lot going on. Nothing personal, it’s just how offices are.

    2. (different) Rebecca*

      …you were there a month and didn’t ask where the bathrooms were? I’m slightly confused, as this seems to be something where taking initiative would be a good thing all round…

    3. MommyMD*

      Why didn’t you ask where the bathrooms were? It’s a very reasonable and common question.

  27. Delta Delta*

    I’d give it a try for a few weeks and see how it goes. It’s hard to know the culture of a place until you’re in it for a while. I can see how on the first day it felt disappointing that the manager didn’t leave instructions, and also that the new co-workers left without OP. But, I’m guessing nobody did anything maliciously. I can see how the co-workers do whatever it is they do at lunch and maybe didn’t think to pop by OP’s desk and say, “did you bring lunch? I’m eating in the park if you want to join me.” It’s lonely when that happens. I don’t think I’d jump ship on the first day over things like this, though.

  28. JustaTech*

    Ah, first days. My first day at Current Job was an all-day training and onboarding (and it was a little weird because I had interned there years before and they were hiring like crazy so a bunch of people were coming back, so 3 other people in my group were already hallway acquaintances).

    My second day, I show up to my desk (one of 3 in a cube) nice and early and … there’s no power cable for my computer. So I had to sit there until my boss got in to ask him to look up the phone number for IT. It was pretty funny, honestly.

  29. Dan*

    I’m surprised nobody’s picking up on the rest of OP’s letter, where s/he talks about a series of short term jobs, including one where the manager was “crazy”. Given what OP writes about the current situation, I think some serious recalibration is in order, otherwise OP is going to have a lot of difficulty in the work force. FWIW, while two years in and of itself isn’t terribly alarming, it’s not long enough to offset the others jobs that only lasted for a few months.

    I do think OP is on to something where s/he asks if they they quit now, they’d worry finding another job would be really tough. I suspect they’re right.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I don’t think that one offhand comment is necessarily reflective of an attitude problem on the OP’s part. Think of how many absolute lunatic managers we see in letters here!

      1. Dan*

        The headline of this post is, “Should I leave my job after the first day?” where OP basically describes an office where the manager was out the day she started. So it’s not just one “offhand comment” (crazy manager) that I’m picking up on, it’s that offhand comment paired with what’s actually written in the letter — someone whose expectations of first days are a bit off.

        I get that we usually take OP at their word, but OP’s words paint a picture of someone whose expectations of the workforce seem a bit off.

        OP says she’s worried that if she quits now, it’ll make her job search harder. I do think she’s right about that, and recalibrating her expectations will go a long way for her career — all I’m saying is that developing a thick skin is key survival tactic in the work force.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            In this case, that actually was the email subject.

            I need a better way to indicate that when it contains something new that wasn’t in the letter (in this case, that the OP was indeed asking about leaving right away).

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              Oh, ok!

              And you’re right, that would probably be helpful — I know there have been times in the past when there was some confusion.

    2. Natalie*

      The “series” is two jobs, one of which was due to a layoff. That’s not especially damning.

      1. fposte*

        Especially when there’s a two-year job alongside it. Basically OP has had three prior jobs, only one of which was a problem. (If it was the last job, I wonder if it shook OP up and that’s why she’s thrown by this start.)

        1. Dan*

          The bigger point I was making wasn’t how things stand now, but how things look if OP quits this job. (As it stands, her employment record doesn’t matter at that moment because she has a job, but one question she asks is how things would look if she quit today.) If she quits this job any time soon, then that makes three jobs in a row that she’s held less than a year, and a two-year stint isn’t long enough to offset that kind of track record. And that kind of track record would make me really nervous if I were the next person looking to hire her.

          I’ve run into employers who have all but said to my face that if I wasn’t laid off in some sort of mass division or department wide layoff, then they take that to mean that I was fired but the employer was being nice about it. I was laid off in the third round of layoffs from a company, and I’ll admit, the guy had a bit of a point. Our first round of layoffs were people that really needed to go. For better or for worse, that mentality is out there, and that thought would cross my mind if I were reviewing her resume and she had left this current job after less than a year.

          I do think she needs to recalibrate her expectations a bit, because she needs to make this a two-year gig if at all possible.

  30. Ima Nutty-Boss*

    No offense, OP, but like I tell my daughter (and have since kindergarten) sometimes you have to be proactive. You can approach other people, ask them this and that. Ask them what people normally do for lunch, ask someone where to put your laptop, etc. wander down the hall to the Breakroom at lunch and breaks. Introduce yourself, ask questions, try to covertly take break at the same time as someone.
    You can’t change the way people act, but you can change the way you react. Everyone has a story, it may have nothing to do with you. (They may be shy, busy, dealing with something, you may have replaced a beloved staffer,etc)

    Good luck.

  31. Receptionist Barbie*

    Starting a new job is always hard. Expectations never meet reality, and especially after what is often an arduous and stressful job hunt. Stick it out! Get a better read on the position and the workplace dynamic (you may love your managers!) before running away. I totally understand the impulse, but you best not burn the bridge quite yet. Best of luck!

  32. blake*

    At my current job, staff arrives between 7 and 8:30 in the morning. On my first day my supervisor told me to come at 8am. I came at eight and went to the front door of the building to enter. That door was locked since the building was not yet open to the public (the building opens at 8:30 to the public). I went to the side door where the employees enter but I could not enter since I did not have a swipe card. I had to call my supervisor in order to ask to be let in the building.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      A similar thing happened to me at my current job. I work in a high security building where you need a badge to access the elevator banks and then to also access the individual floors. My new colleagues entered my name into the security system, which allowed me a pass to get onto the elevator (I just showed my pass to a security guard), but did not have swipe access onto the floor itself. I had to wait in the elevator bank on my floor until (thankfully!) someone I had interviewed with walked by and I could wave her down through the glass door. No one thought through me being able to access the floor (or, had I been able to get into the floor, magically know where my cubicle was).

  33. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

    All pretty normal. I’ve never worked anywhere that I didn’t want to quit at least everyday for the first two weeks. I’m sure some people find jobs that they love immediately, but I always need an adjustment period. Give it some time. You could have started on an especially busy day and your manager being out was poor timing, but if the team was swamped then they probably wanted to get you onboard as soon as they possibly could.

    1. Anon today....and tomorrow*

      I’ve never worked anywhere that I didn’t want to quit at least everyday for the first two weeks.

      Yes to this!!! I once went through a training class for a medical insurance call center. Thirty people started in the class. On day one they warned us that not everyone would make it to the end and that even if we made it to the call center floor not all of us would make it through the audits. Six weeks of training. Every day I went home and told my husband “I don’t know if I can do this job. I want to quit!” And every day he’d tell me “You’ve got this, keep going.” Only three people of the original 30 made it to full time hire. I was one of them! :) I was there for a few years and it was great. I can speak insurance fluently but I remember starting that class thinking “is she even speaking English?”

  34. The Optimizer*

    I once started a job at a financial services company right in the last week of 1st quarter. They didn’t even really have a desk for me – they just shoved me in a cube with some guy that started the same day as me and gave us a big binder of stuff to read. Once the QE work was over about 2 weeks later, they got down to business. Not only was that one of the best jobs I ever had (I stayed over 14 years until the company moved to another state I didn’t want to live in) but that guy became one of my dearest friends that I am still close with well after he left the company and moved over 1000 miles away.

  35. Mena*

    This sounds fairly normal … everyone is going about their day and perhaps not available to focus on your first day. While it is nice when a company really tries hard to integrate the new hire from the very beginning, it sometimes just isn’t feasible. The responsibility is on you to integrate yourself, though. Ask your manager if it is appropriate to set-up 15-minute, introductory one-on-one discussions to find out what people do and for whom and with what tools and technologies. Your manager can help devise a list of who you need to sit down with to understand roles and how these people interact with your role.
    Try to make small talk at the nearest coffee station … along the lines of “Hello, I’m Mary. I work for Sarah and will be focusing on XYZ. What do you do?” We all remember being the new person – try to foster some discussion and folks will jump in.

    And don’t jump to conclusions based on one day. Good luck.

  36. Anon today....and tomorrow*

    LOL! This sounds like my first day at every company I’ve ever worked at. The company I currently work for is a large company with lots of satellite offices. I work in one of those offices. My manager sits in an office three states away. The branch I work in is small and the people here are really tight and close. My first month I felt ignored and slightly overwhelmed. Training was done virtually – a first for me – and I felt like I couldn’t stand out in that kind of environment.
    Apparently I was wrong. I’ve been here for over 4 years and I love my job. :) I still haven’t physically laid eyes on my manager but she’s very involved in the processes of this position, she’s accessible in other ways (email, instant message, phone), and the fact that there isn’t a manager I can run to with a “quick question” has made me a better problem solver.
    Oh…and I didn’t have a computer or phone for the first week. IT misplaced three of the four computers / phones ordered for the 4 new people at my branch. We also were forced to set them up on our own since our IT dept isn’t on site. Our first week of training was spent huddled around the person with the one computer / phone…with the training being done on speaker phone. Luckily, they’ve gotten better with their training programs. LOL!

    1. Chinook*

      “Oh…and I didn’t have a computer or phone for the first week. ”

      Don’t feel bad. My office neighbor showed up one morning and no one knew who he was. His name sounded familiar but we had no clue he had been transferred to our floor. The people he reported to as well as the floor admin assistant were all away, so I couldn’t even verify that he was who he said he was (though he had a swipe card that allowed him to get in, so that meant he worked here, right?

      I ended up booking a meeting room for him for the day so he could handle the teleconference meetings he had scheduled and we saw that his email and logins were active, but I still had to discreetly find someone higher up the food chain to vouch for him in case he was a disgruntled ex-employee.

      Once everybody was back a few days later, the story came out that he was quickly transferred to us from another project where there had been a lot of reshuffling on new people into the mix. He had 25+ years of institutional knowledge that a couple of directors valued and they found a last minute way to keep hi contract active. The AA knew this might happen but nobody had notified her of a possible timeline, so she wasn’t able to send through the internal request to set up an office for him. Luckily, the guy had a sense of humour and had worked here long enough to realize that this was not personal but perfectly normal.

  37. Observer*

    I’m going to echo all the people who say that the company isn’t great at onboarding. But, they are not all that bad. They had your computer and work-space set up. You were introduced around. You got your orientation and the basics of safety training. And you got some work to do. That’s really not a bad starting point.

    You complain that no one talked to you, but they are clearly not a chatty bunch – perhaps because they are focused on getting a fairly high volume of work done.

    And, although it would have been nice if someone had offered to take you to lunch, you didn’t “have” to eat lunch at your desk in front of your computer. You could have gone out – you could even have asked someone what local place they recommend, or if there is a break room.

    I’m not clear why you don’t know when to leave, as I would have expected your hours to be covered even before you start. But, if it wasn’t, you could ASK. Same for the laptop. Yes, the manager who started you off left, which wasn’t the best move, but you could always ask another manager, or even a co-worker what’s the norm or who to ask.

    To be honest, I agree with the others who say that you sound like you are new to the workforce. You aren’t though – you really need to get used to the norms of the workplace, which are very different than that of school.

  38. Kaybee*

    Hi OP, like Alison and everyone else says, give it time. Things are probably a little off because your manager wasn’t there. At my job,the tradition is that the manager takes a new employee out to lunch on their first day. The rest of us make overtures after that. I would hope that we would notice if someone’s manager was out and do something nice for the new person, but sometimes folks get really busy and oversights happen.

    Also, I don’t know how it is at your work, but here, people are so busy their first few days with paperwork, endless paperwork, IT set-ups, orientations, etc. that it takes a new employee a few days to settle in. We introduce ourselves as we walk by or whatever, but we tend to give the new person a little time descending on them with invitations to go to coffee etc. because those first few days are just so bureaucratic and overwhelming.

    Fwiw, I’ve never had a first day that didn’t end in a massive headache. Even at places that turned out to be wonderful places to work. (As someone who is prone to headaches) that’s just the nature of the beast. It will get better. Hang in there.

  39. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    I can definitely see why you feel underwhelmed and put off, OP! This is very different from the first days I’ve had at most of my jobs, and to be honest, I’d feel pretty uncomfortable in your position too.

    That said, I don’t think this is worth jumping ship on the first day. That’s something you really want to reserve for major, enormous, run-out-screaming issues. Like if your onboarding includes a mandatory visit with a company chaplain or dietician, for example.

    It sounds like you’ve had a few short stints, so you’re reaching a point where it should be a fairly significant priority for you to get a tenure of at least two years on your resume. Give this job at least until the end of a probationary period (90 days) to see if it’s going to work out or not.

  40. Oryx*

    First day of ExJob, my manager was also gone for whatever reason. I showed up and the receptionist at the college said “The library is down the hall and oh, by the way, the librarian covers the front desk during my lunch on Mondays so see you at noon.”

    I didn’t find out where the break room was until the next day and met all of my co-workers in a very haphazard way, like if they happened to pop into the library. I spent all day sitting in the library twiddling my thumbs (it was a slow day) and if the bathroom wasn’t right across the hall I probably would never have found it because I was too shy to ask and didn’t want to go to a random office and say “Hi stranger, so I’m your new co-worker and um where’s the restroom?”

    Despite a non-existent onboarding (it was a bit better when my manager returned), it was a really fantastic job and I had wonderful co-workers and I’ve had other jobs with a very structured onboarding process that was a horrible place to work so don’t let the first day color the rest of your experience.

    1. Receptionist Barbie*

      Same! CurrentJob had a very structured onboard and is a bad job. ExJob had no onboarding (I think I did my formal orientation like 2-3 months in) and was a great place to work. Had to leave bc my partner relocated to a different state, else I’d still be there!

    2. Grits McGee*

      Yes, OP, terrrrrible onboarding is so, so common, please give this job at least six months. At my agency, HR (which is in another state) doesn’t tell anyone when new hires are starting. We have two weeks to complete mandatory computer training, and it takes 13 days to get the computer. I’ve worked in my new department for 8 months and still haven’t been formally introduced to anyone. I was given a super complicated project on my first day and then didn’t receive training on the necessary processes until 2 months after I had finished it.

      But, it got better! It took six months, but I finally feel like I know what I’m doing. In time I’ve figured out who to ask for help, where to look in manuals for answers, and the best spot to eat lunch. (Still not sure if my big boss knows my name, though.) The only way you’ll really be able to tell if this job is the right fit is to give it some time for you to get comfortable with it.

  41. The Anonymous One*

    “If you did end up leaving this job in the near future, you’d just leave it off your resume”

    Okay, so I understand you’d leave the job off your resume. But how do you answer the question, “why did you leave your last position?”

    1. Amber Rose*

      Go to the next job and explain that one. Don’t even mention the one you left after a couple days. There’s no point.

    2. MegaMoose, Esq*

      I feel like if you’ve had an exceptionally short stint at a job (and I think anything less than a month counts), you can count it as a job search hiccough and answer the “last job” question with whatever’s listed last on your resume. I’m curious what other people think, though.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I agree. The only time I’d waver from that would be something like a security clearance background check, where you need to provide full info.

        1. MegaMoose, Esq*

          Oh, for sure. I once saw a security background check form that not only required entries accounting for all time spent unemployed, but required *references* to vouch for your reason for being unemployed.

          1. LadyKelvin*

            Yeah the background check I went through for my current job required information for the last 10 years and while it has been more than 10 years since I was in high school, a colleague who was hired at the same time as me had trouble because it would not accept “being in high school” as a reason for unemployment and she couldn’t list family members as references. I think she ended up asking former teachers to serve as references to the fact she was in high school at the time. Which is slightly ridiculous since if you looked at her age it would have been obvious she was still a minor at the time.

            1. bridget*

              You can’t use family members as references for _unemployment_? That’s ridiculous – by definition you will rarely have a professional reference to vouch for you NOT having a job. Who exactly would one legitimately choose to “vouch” for a period in which you were job searching, say, or being a stay at home parent?

              1. The IT Manager*

                You can’t use family members for any references because presumably they’re biased in favor of you and benefit from you having the security clearance and job. You can use friends, former co-workers, classmates, and teachers. For schools, you just have to list the school and contact info; I don’t think you need to list people. Although come to think of it, full-time student should be a “job” and trigger the software not demanding an explanation.

                Come to think of it when I did my first security clearance paperwork about 5 years after graduating high school (and now many years ago) my parents got the contact info for one of my old teachers and casual friend of theirs probably to verify I was in high school at that time.

        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          Agreed. Same thing for licensed jobs in my industry — you have to account for every period of employment or unemployment, regardless of duration. But at least ime, anytime you need to account for everything, they’ll tell you that.

        3. KAG*

          I left one job off my resume but included it in the security clearance. The discrepancy between the two was not an issue.

      2. Delyssia*

        Right, so you’re answering the question about the job previous to the one you left off your resume, but if you left that job to take the one you’re leaving off, how do you answer that?

        1. The Anonymous One*

          Yes, that’s my question. Let’s say the work history is:

          Hall of Justice, 20010-2014
          Daily Bugle, 2015-2017
          Job that Sucked, 4 weeks in 2017 – not included on resume

          So when going on a job interview and the question is, “why did you leave the Daily Bugle?” what do you say? If the actual answer is more money, new challenges, wanted to work at Job that Sucked (because I didn’t know it sucked) none of that makes sense because that job isn’t on the resume.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          In the OP’s case, she left her last job because she was laid off, so she’d just explain that.

          It’s much trickier if you quit your last job for the new one that you leave after a few days/weeks.

          1. The Anonymous One*

            Ah! I must have missed that she left the last job due to a layoff. Sorry about that.

  42. sam*

    At one job (not my current one), people were genuinely surprised that I somehow managed to get both a desk AND a computer on my first day there (thanks to some serious advance planning by our group’s admin). Apparently most people at that company spend their first couple of days without at least one or possibly both, because onboarding employees is such an administrative black hole. You could often literally find new employees camped out in hallways.

    It did take me almost three months to get a blackberry, so that was fun, given that I worked in a “constant contact” type of job (I’m a lawyer) AND with people in multiple time zones.

    And lest anyone think this is because the company was, say…small and not ready for prime time? it’s one of the 50 biggest companies in the world.

    1. Jan Levinson*

      Haha. This is all too familiar. At my old job, all of my coworkers were impressed that I somehow had a desk AND computer on my first day. Apparently, that was the first time anyone had had both on their first day. The problem was, we had a system that you had to log-in to remotely with a VPN, and no one could figure out how I was to get logged in. They had apparently updated the log-in method so many times that all of my coworkers logged in in different ways. The log-in method had once again changed when I started, so it took me several days before anyone was able to help me figure out how to get logged in.

    2. JustaTech*

      At a previous job, for some reason we were not allowed to order a computer for an employee before they started. But since it was a brand-new lab, there weren’t any spares. So I said, fine, I’ll bring in my crummy old laptop. And then I couldn’t get on the WiFi because it wasn’t a university computer. So for the first few days I had to use the WiFi from the coffee shop downstairs (which meant moving desks to be close enough).

      After that first spate of hiring we managed to get permission to order computers before people started.

  43. rubyrose*

    Take advantage of the fact that you have the time to read those documents without interruption. They could easily be the foundation of making you productive quickly, so those 300 translations may be easily done.

    Also take the time to explore the laptop, any Sharepoint sites, etc. Find the printer and make sure you can print to it.

  44. Jan Levinson*

    “Another manager introduced me to the team, which replied “nice to meet you” without really caring about me.”

    What led you to believe that know one really cared about you? On my first day at my job, all of my introductions were simple “nice to meet you-s”, and I didn’t think anything was odd or rude about the interaction. They don’t know anything about you yet. There’s also a fair chance that the team was busy, and didn’t have time for any excessive chit chat. I’m sure more extensive conversation will happen over time with your new coworkers.

  45. MommyMD*

    Don’t judge anything by first day. First days are always nerve wracking. Re-evaluate at first week, and then at first month. And remember, work is not school or a friendly get-together. Leave hurt feelings over things like lunch at the door.

  46. PizzaDog*

    I’d love an update from OP, now that some time has presumably passed.

    Echoing everyone else who says that this is a normal first day. It takes some time to get into the swing of things. I wouldn’t worry about it. If two months have passed and you’re still not talking to anyone just because they haven’t said hello, be proactive and make a few friends at work.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      On timing, I actually got this letter from the OP yesterday so today is her second day. (That’s not the norm, but occasionally I manage to publish something immediately when it feels like immediate advice would be particularly useful and my schedule allows for it.)

      1. JessaB*

        This is awesome. I love that you’re willing to dig in and look at everything and answer the critical ones like “Noooooo do not quit now,” in time for them to mean something to the OP.

  47. Nanani*

    I agree with everything in the response, except that one line was not addressed:
    “Last but not least, they require 300 translations everyday (it’s an e-commerce) and I didn’t know there would be so much translation every day.”

    As a professional translator, this is a red flag.
    If you weren’t hired as a translator, you need to clarify your duties ASAP. Many companies have an unfortunate lack of understanding of what translation actually entails, and throwing someone with inadequate training at it can be really disastrous if, for example, the translations are for anything legal/financial and wind up containing errors.
    On day two, get clarification of what your job is, find out about QA processes, style guides, and so on, and DO NOT PROCEED until you get adequate guidance.
    Ask around, and say things like:
    “I’m not comfortable diving in until I get my bearings”
    “Excuse me, can you help me find the company style guide?”
    “I’m not qualified to translate a legally binding contract”
    “Who will be reviewing this before it gets published?”

    The rest of the letter is pretty standard disorganized first day stuff, but the job content itself should not be among those things.
    Good luck.

    1. JessaB*

      I got the opinion that this was not document translating but e-commerce, so more like “this is a brown purse with these dimensions and these fancy add ons,.” short stuff like translating item descriptions, hence the 300. Not pages of documents of legal stuff. Like if you go on Amazon you see the listing, and this is going to be formatting the English site for let’s say German. If I’m wrong then I hope the 300 is indicating words, or something and not pages.

      1. fposte*

        I do wonder, and maybe somebody with experience can shed some light, if this is a bit of a content mill.

  48. The IT Manager*

    Several bad first day stories …

    Two jobs ago, I was sponsoring the new guy. I did take him out to lunch to a nearby Thai place on his first day; at my going away party he shared that he’d gotten food poisoning and was wondering if I was trying to kill the competition! :) Note: I did not get sick that day and ate at that restaurant many times without getting sick so it was an unlucky one-off thing.

    At my most recent first day it was a bit awkward. I considered it but didn’t bring my lunch because I wasn’t sure about the fridge/microwave situation. And then someone ended up needing to lead me to the not so nearby campus cafeteria because its so hard to find with the construction. No one from my office ate there. Most bring their lunches everyday and eat at their desks.

    Also I didn’t understand I was supposed to do the security training on my personal computer before I arrived. (I still think this is weird and that emails regarding this should be much more clear.) They could not let me access the network until I completed the training. I ended up going home early to complete it on my first day – a Monday – and it still took until Thursday on my first week before I had a computer and a network login. Someone printed several documents for me to read to keep my occupied. I read it several times before I sort of started working after I had network access. Even then I had to be assigned to a project and get oriented before I made any kind of work contribution.

    1. StopThatGoat*

      You had to do security training at home before they’d give you a PC? I work in IT as well and have never seen anything like that. Weird.

  49. MuseumChick*

    A bit late to the game here so these points might have already been covered.

    First, I agree with the others that this is a pretty normal first day. Second, I do think you should stick it out, even if in a few weeks you still don’t love for the sole fact that your previous two jobs were of such short duration.

    I could be wrong but the sense I get from your letter is that your expectations for a working environment is one that is extremely friendly, chatty, etc. That isn’t going to be the case in most work places. It sounds like your co-workers were polite and focused on their work, that is much more typical in my experience. They aren’t there to “really care about” you, they are there to get the work done.

  50. Lemon Zinger*

    My first few MONTHS at my current job were weird!

    Day 1 was new staff orientation at a location offsite. I wore jeans and no makeup since my boss had told me I wouldn’t be going to the office. My staff ID photo looks TERRIBLE!

    Day 2 I went to the office. My boss was late (she works at another location) and provided little guidance or insight into the role’s responsibilities, goals, etc. She spent much of the day in meetings and my new teammate quickly showed herself to be an unfriendly and unwelcoming person. I figured most things out on my own.

    I later learned that the staff member responsible for onboarding had quit between my interviewing for the position and my being hired, so things were a little unfocused in the office. Most staff were very clique-y and had no interest in helping or welcoming me. There was no welcome lunch, as there usually is for new staff (not that I would have wanted to go; I always bring my own lunch). It was a tough environment, but I rose to the challenges and came out on top.

    Now I am considered to be a veteran in my office, and I go out of my way to welcome new staff, while still reading their social cues, i.e. the new hire who is obviously very shy will not be pressured into a welcome lunch, etc.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      My first days at my last job were kind of like that, especially in that they taught me to welcome new people! It was a teeeeeny office (four people when I started, seven when I left) and my boss told me to show up at 9am. I was there at 8:55. No one else was there, and when someone did show up, she let me in and just… went back to her desk. Barely talked to me, and when I asked her a question, she gave a vague and kind of snobby answer. So I picked a desk. My boss showed up at 9:15 and handed me my computer and phone and I set everything up myself. We had no Internet access (they were having trouble with the connection), so I was instructed to go home and call into a noon meeting. I did nothing else that day. From then on, every single new person got a friendly greeting from me and a tour of the whole office while my co-worker continued to sit and be snobby.

      There was much more onboarding at my current job (including introductions to everyone and lunch on my first day), and the onboarding continues after several months. It hasn’t been ideal, but it’s a much-appreciated defined process.

  51. gmg22*

    I am going to play very slight devil’s advocate here. I was once hired for an entry-level slot at a small nonprofit (returning three months after a successful academic-year internship at the same organization under a different manager) and no one had thought to tell me before I arrived that another intern who was temporarily filling the position, and who had also applied for it but hadn’t gotten it (awkward!), would still be there for the first two weeks so I would need to sit two floors away at a temporary desk. I didn’t quit, and I did my best to reach out to the departing intern and make the transition smooth. But! This was, indeed, a big honking red flag in hindsight. I only lasted six miserable, micromanagey months in this job; when I finally did give (two weeks’) notice, it was cordially accepted and I worked about a week more — and then, out of nowhere, I was herded into HR’s office by my boss and the HR director, icily informed that my notice period was over, and ordered to hand over my key card. One day they were wishing me well in future endeavors and the very next day it was as if I had been caught with my hand in the till. It was that kind of place. (Other hindsight realization: My boss’s No. 2 wanted Other Intern to get the gig, was upset she hadn’t, and was fairly determined to make life difficult for me as a result.)

    I absolutely agree with Allison and other commenters to give it a shot. One day isn’t enough to go on. BUT don’t feel like a “brat” re your disillusionment with your first day, either. Sometimes your instincts are right. It’s a data point — hope for the best, reach out to colleagues (I still have at least one good friend/professional contact I met in this workplace: the woman who successfully supervised me in the previous internship!), but keep a lookout.

  52. Allypopx*

    I have worked at CurrentJob for almost five years. We have an offsite location I sometimes-but-rarely work at that has a staff restroom but I have no idea where it is/have never used it because no one showed me when I was training and after awhile it seemed like too much time had passed to ask.

    OP it sounds like you have a bad case of new-job jitters that are making you anxious about a lot of things that are probably super innocuous in the bigger picture. I hope you give it a couple weeks so you can get acclimated and give your new job a fair shake. Good luck!

  53. Chickaletta*

    Sounds like a pretty average first day. The fact that you actually had training and meetings to go to is a bonus. My first days were pretty much what you described sans training meetings, lots of people wait days, weeks, months to get those, if they even happen.

    It would have been nice if people had shown more interest in getting to know you, but they didn’t act out of line either. Remember, for them, it’s just another day in the office. In the coming days, pay attention to office norms: what people do for lunch, how much socializing they do with each other during working hours, how much personal information they share with each other, etc. Every office is different in this regard, and learning how your coworkers relate to each other will be really useful information for you as you begin to fit in.

  54. Health Insurance Nerd*

    I think that wanting to quit after one day for the reasons listed is an overreaction, but I also understand feeling slighted and frustrated. It honestly sounds like a really poorly-timed start date, with the manager on vacation (but, as some have mentioned, it may have been unplanned time off). Either way, take this as an opportunity to take in the atmosphere, introduce yourself when given the chance, ask questions, learn the ropes as best as you can, and enjoy that “beginning of a new job lull/downtime”. This also reinforces the importance of asking about company and department culture during the interview process. You could have (potentially) learned that it really is a heads-down kind of workplace, as opposed to a more close-knit or social type of atmosphere. This isn’t a criticism, just something to be aware of as you continue to interview throughout your career.

  55. MegaMoose, Esq*

    I actually have quit after a single day on a job. It was a first shift perma-job coming out of a third-shift temp job after about six months of temp jobs and unemployment, doing horrible, boring work that I hated. I started crying after about an hour and quit shortly afterward. Those were dark days, but in hindsight, working that terrible job while looking for a new one would have been better than the three additional months of unemployment (you bet that temp agency dropped me like a rock). Hang in there, OP!

  56. animaniactoo*

    Eh. My company is a place that takes a certain kind of personality to survive. That’s really not a recommendation. But if you can survive it, it’s generally a pretty good place to work.

    They recognize this and are trying to resolve some of it (except they won’t do the things the last 3 HR people including the one who was let go yesterday have tried to suggest, because they involve spending money and they’ll keep doing that until they realize it’s NOT going to come for free), and one of the places they identified as needing help is the on-boarding.

    So… it depends. If you need warm friendly welcome, this is not your place to work right now. If you need cheerful enough but expected to be pretty independent and ready to take care of yourself, you’ll be fine. If you can stick out the first few weeks and build relationships before they finally get around to introducing you around to the rest of the office and sending out your official welcome e-mail without that bothering you *too* much, you’ll also be fine.

  57. Scarlott*

    My entire first few days were spent cleaning the stickiness and dirt off everything in my cubicle. I swear the guy before me must have liked to dip his fingers in bbq sauce and touch everything. Made me nauseous until I had cleaned everything.

  58. Erin*

    People leaving for lunch without saying anything to you or others is very, very normal. That’s the only “me” time people get during the day. Even when I really enjoy my coworkers I often need that time to decompress, make phone calls, run errands, etc. I don’t necessarily want to be all chatty.

    It’s great that you want to be sociable with your coworkers, but again, this is super normal. Your first day sounds very normal as a whole, in fact. You really can’t get a good feel for the office culture and what your day-to-day routine is going to be like on the first day, or first week, or even the first month.

    If you decide later on to start job searching that’s fine – your previous history doesn’t sound horrifically damaging abd the lay off shouldn’t hurt you at all – but give it some time.

  59. Evie J.*

    Been there, done that! My last job had a rocky start. The person who listed on paper as my manager was in another country. The person who actually was my manager had no idea I was coming. I didn’t have a computer for the first few days and spent my time on the shared computers in an abandoned corner on the other side of the building of my team. No one came by to say bye at the end of day. (Around the end of the day, I sat there thinking “Soo… should I, like, just go…? Would anyone notice?”) That ended up being normal for that specific team. The team didn’t really say anything to each other when they came in or left, barely talked to each other, and didn’t do team lunches. (Other places I’ve worked are the complete opposite.)

    I opted for giving it some time. In my case, it ended up not working out for me. I gave it 90 days, I gave it until the new year, I gave it to nearly the one year mark. I still really wasn’t happy with the company or what I was working on. However, I was just out of school and thought that I might appear to be a job-hopper if I left too early, so I was going to give it at least another year (but I got another opportunity too good to pass up.) I say give it plenty of time but keep the resume handy… just in case.

  60. Episkey*

    Playing devil’s advocate too, I have wanted to quit a job on the first day, and I didn’t. I wish I had. My instincts were right and the job ended up being miserable and made me miserable too. I had been on unemployment benefits from a previous lay off when I started the job, and if I had just left & not come back after that first day, I could have kept receiving my benefits with no one being the wiser. I still think back to that time and wish I had done that.

    1. HRtripp*

      Couldn’t agree more. Listen to your gut instincts! I quit a job during my second week. I just could not do it anymore. I dreaded getting up to go to work and coming back from lunch. Fortunately, I was able to get my old job back and secured that before quitting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hold of my manager to let him know I would not be returning and I did not know who else to inform! I ended up having to leave my manager a voicemail followed by an email to let him know. I wish I could have left more professionally but didn’t have many other options.

    2. Quitter*

      I had a job I quit on the third day when I should have quit on the first. My supervisor was completely horrible to me and caused me so much anxiety that I started feeling sick just from working with her. I caught a $200 mistake she had made that would have benefited me, but I’m an honest person and immediately pointed it out to her. She thanked me and then less than ten minutes later she accused me of stealing $5. I asked her why I would steal $5 when I could have just walked out with $200 extra without her noticing. She kept at it until I just took a $5 from my purse and threw it at her. The boss (a really nice guy I had worked with previously and had brought me on) chased me down and gave it back to me and apologized for how horrible she was.

      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        She kept at it until I just took a $5 from my purse and threw it at her.

        I promise I don’t mean this in a flippant way – that is one badass move. I would have just burst into tears. But I’m sorry that happened, she’s a disgrace. A shame the boss didn’t get rid of her. How many good people has he lost because of one horrible person?

    3. Freya UK*

      Yup. I knew this wasn’t the place for me on the first day – in fact I strongly felt it wasn’t before I even started, but I wanted a paycheck coming in again. I’m glad I overrode the instinct at first though, as my fiancé got made reduntant a few weeks later! He’s settled somewhere new now, so five months in I am free to look elsewhere, and am seriously considering just quitting (I think I’m in line for being let-go anyway – the manager is NOT on my wavelength, so I need to play it well).

  61. Princess Carolyn*

    I agree with Alison’s advice to the OP, but man — what a missed opportunity on the company’s side! This is really not a good onboarding experience at all, which means OP is naturally going to take a little more winning over. A little thought (like a heads up that he’d be on his own for lunch, and perhaps an agenda for the day) could have gone a long way toward making OP feel welcome — or, at least, not making him feel unwelcome.

    1. Freya UK*

      Yes exactly – people & employers forget that making the newbie feel welcome and wanted is crucial. Perhaps they can get away without it for young/inexperienced and/or slightly desperate new employees, but for someone like me who is a decade into the work world, very self-aware and self-assured (ie; I know myself, what I need, what I have to offer, what that’s worth, what I’m unwilling to put up with and a good judge of character/deeply intuitive), I’m waiting for them to make a good impression – they get what they give.

  62. Not Karen*

    Aww, it’s sad to read so many comments saying their first day is similarly weird and unfriendly… I guess my employer is even more unusual than I thought.

  63. SJ*

    My first day at my current job was great! I was warmly welcomed by my team when I arrived, I had a welcome basket filled with university swag sitting on my desk (I work in higher ed), my cubicle had been fully stocked with supplies, my computer was ready to go, and I was taken out to lunch and given a mini-tour of campus on the way. I immediately liked everyone and had a good feeling about the place.

    However, though I was told to show up on my first day at 9:00, no one told me that office hours actually start at 8:30. My office hours at my old job started at 9:00, so I didn’t even think to ask if 9:00 was the “official” start time or just a first-day thing. Cue embarrassment on Day 2 when I strolled into work about 25 minutes late. (Once the miscommunication had been worked out, there were lots of “Geez, we thought we’d totally ruined this place for you after 1 day and you weren’t coming back!” jokes.)

    But this was totally different than my first day at my old job. On my first day there, a major donor had dropped by campus out of the blue, so everyone was scrambling to put together a schedule of events for him, and all the people responsible for showing me around were too busy to do it. At the same time, I had been given the lead on a huge team project that was due in 3 days. I was left completely by myself while all the members of the team, who I hadn’t met yet and whose names I didn’t even know, were all MIA on Major Donor Duty. There was lots of floundering and feelings of regret. But I did come to realize it was an unusual situation, and I learned my way around soon enough.

  64. HRtripp*

    While I think quitting after the first day is overreacting I find the lack of effort put in by the company to be a red flag.

    Oversights happen especially if the company doesn’t hire that often and downtime during your first day/week is normal. However, at the very least you should expect to have a point person on your first day and some direction/structure to the day.

    I understand this is not the case in many companies but actions like this lead to employee disengagement and turnover.

  65. Natalie*

    Hey LW, I wonder if your experience of getting laid off and then having a really toxic job one right after another is making you a bit oversensitive. My husband is going through that with his new job (started today, actually) – it followed a rough few months of a horrible toxic job and then some temporary work struggles. For the last week or so he was anxious that the job would evaporate, and yesterday he was anxious that he would hate it. He had no reason for those anxieties, it’s just nerves after a rough few months.

    Be patient with your new workplace and your self.

  66. K*

    This sounds like a pretty good onboarding to me. A manager introduced you to the team who greeted you pleasantly -“nice to meet you.” You got an hour and 45 minutes of orientation and training. You had an hour meeting. That’s 2 hours and 45 minutes of your first day that the staff was with you. That’s hardly being left alone or ignored. The rest of your day was spent reading what I’m guessing are the company documents you’ll need to be familiar with to do your job. When else would you expect to read them? Before you start work and aren’t being paid yet?

    1. K*

      I’m also curious why you didn’t ask about what time to leave or where to store your laptop during orientation. That’s what it’s for!

  67. LKW*

    Not my first day at work, but the first on a particular site-based project:

    My manager told me she’d be on vacation but she left my name with an admin. She also gave me the names of two executives on our team.

    I arrived on site and the admin had left the company. Neither of the executives were on site. I left them voice mails. had no other names, client names, etc. I sat there for a couple of hours. This was before cell phones had fun stuff; I just sat pleasantly reading a magazine. I didn’t even have a laptop.

    Eventually one of the execs picked up his messages. He called the receptionist who told him that I sat patiently for several hours then left ( I went shopping).

    The next day she got chewed out and I got on site; there were at least 20 other people that I could have called had I known they were there or that I was coming. She never forgave me for her own mistakes.

    Sounds like a not great but not terrible first day – I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      She never forgave me for her own mistakes.

      Ugh, one of those people. They just don’t get that it’s far better to accept that you messed up and apologise, however awkward it might be. People will respect you far more that way. That sounds like it was an awful first day. I hope the job got better.

  68. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

    @OP. I agree with most of the responses. While not the best first day, I don’t think it’s anything to quit over. Hopefully, when the one manager who is on holiday returns, he will sit with you and make the proper introductions, etc. In the meantime, you should use this time to start making the job your own. Show them you can work independently without much supervision. ;-) Would love an update in about a month.

  69. Allison*

    I agree that’s not a great first day, maybe they’re just not used to onboarding people just yet. It can be jarring if you’re used to a warmer welcome. That said, leaving after the first day is generally not good, and not going to look good, unless there was a very good reason, like the office was full of bees. Now, if 3 months pass and everyone has been mysteriously cold or downright hostile to you, and you’ve tried to integrate yourself socially and it’s just not happening and you’re miserable, then find a new job and explain that there’s a fit issue.

  70. RainyKeyboard*

    I am somewhat surprised by some of the negative comments here. The OP is not sure if his/her interpretation of events is normal, so he/she is asking for perspective. Just the fact that the OP is asking assumes they are self-aware enough to realize they could be overreacting.

    Unfortunately this isn’t terribly unusual for a first day. It’s a bummer and less than ideal, but all too common. The advice to reach out to your colleagues with questions is good…and takes guts. But the first few weeks on a new job is always terribly uncomfortable, so best get used to the feeling! Sometimes in these situations, I start thinking about what good on-boarding would look like and begin a document with the things a new person at this job needs to know. This way I feel like I am actually doing something constructive and helpful. Perhaps when the next person starts, you can be the champion of ensuring their first day is better than yours.

    Hang in there, talk to people and just give it time!

    1. LBK*

      I think if the question were just “is this normal?” that would be one thing, but the OP wanting to quit over these things is what’s making people react more strongly. That’s a pretty extreme reaction for fairly normal events, and even if you don’t have a good gauge on how a first day should go, quitting on Day 1 is a nuclear option that should really be reserved for more severe situations.

  71. Former freelancer*

    OP, I hope it gets better! I am a translator, too, and my first-day experiences have ranged from being put in an empty office and just told to read the employer’s website, to being expected to pick up where my predecessor left off, but without anybody giving me any information. The latter was definitely the more stressful experience – but I stuck it out and stayed for seven years, during which time I made sure to always welcome and be available to new hires.
    Even in my current job, where my supervisor walked me around the building to introduce me to everyone on my first day, and my coworkers helped me find all the information I needed to do my job (since my predecessor had moved to another country and the position had been unfilled for months), there were things that no one thought to tell me, because they were so natural to them, having been there for years.
    So the best thing I’ve found to do in a new job is just to introduce myself if necessary and ask any and all questions I may have. Sometimes I’ve gotten very curt answers – because people tend to be busy with their own work, or they’re not the right person to ask – but I don’t take it personally and just carry on. Good luck!

  72. Colorado*

    OP – this is all pretty normal for the first day. It is uncomfortable. It’s like trying to find a seat in the lunchroom when you’re the new kid in school. It’s just awkward. Hang in there and good luck!

  73. Lexie Lex*

    I’ve worked at amazing jobs that began with rocky starts. The team lunch with the CEO who insisted on a mandatory game of Apples to Apples. The company that took 9 days to locate a computer for me to use. The places with absolutely no training. The place that had so much onboarding I didn’t get to meet my coworkers until my second week. The one that asked me to start a week early so I could attend a training I didn’t need across the country (where my luggage was lost during a snowstorm). The point is, you definitely need to give it time!

    But also, this is an opportunity! The next time there is a new hire, make sure to invite them to lunch the first day! Talk to HR about implementing a “buddy system” to help new hires navigate their first few weeks.

  74. Cautionary tail*

    At one company, I was interviewed offsite so the first time I saw the office was on my first day. After a half-hour introduction, my boss left and I didn’t see him for a month. I found space at a table in an open area and sat there for the rest of the day. On the second day I found and claimed an office but I had to bring in my own tools to dismantle the cubicle furnitureinside and haul it out to a storage area. I had to then paint the office too. AND I had to install two electric outlets because the office only had one and to use it I would have had to run an extension cord up, over and around the door. I then Googled office furniture and found a local store where I had to buy a desk, chairs and a table. Once they delivered them, I was able to put my personal computer on the desk so I could log into the office email so I could request a company computer. Thus ended my first werk.

    1. Nic*

      WOW. Having to dismantle office the cubes, move them, and get your own furniture surprised me, but having to install your own outlet?! That’s beyond the pale!

  75. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    I have been in around ten-twelve different job situations in my career. I’ve learned that every environment is different.

    Some – like the one OP is in – allow people their own “space”. Others like to think their employees are a family and act accordingly. Yet others have people who are downright nasty to each other, or have fighting cliques, or are outwardly hostile to new people – treating them as “outsiders”.

    I’ve seen a lot – in 43 years. While I’m an old man, I think I’ve seen enough — to know that every place is different.

  76. Shazza*

    The two best jobs I’ve ever had, my manager was away the week I arrived (the first on holiday, my current one was traveling on business). They are also the two best managers I’ve ever had, so it’s no reflection on how your manager will be in the future. They probably had plans already that couldn’t be changed when they realized you would be starting.

    First days/weeks are generally excruciating anyway, no matter how nice your new colleagues are. My onboarding was some extremely dull SOPs to read and then “here’s your work, do it”. Can’t even remember now what I did for lunch that day! But as I said I love my job and my manager so none of that was predictive of the future at all.

  77. Anna*

    This sounds like it was stressful and a let-down. It’s much easier when there’s someone there to show you around and break the ice for you with your new coworkers. There is another side, though. On my first day I met the entire management team, attended a HUGE meeting where everyone talked about how long they had been working for this program and it was all “9 years” “15 years”, etc. I stood up, introduced myself and said 3 and a half hours. I am glad my boss wanted to integrate me as quickly as possible, but I was overwhelmed, too.

    Stick it out, OP. I think you’ll feel better for it.

  78. KayDay*

    Hmmm, I actually would call this a pretty crummy first day . Certainly not something worth leaving a job over (really?!?!?!) but, still rather crummy. (In particular, the parts about the managers being out, no lunch buddies on your first day, and the lack of end-of-day related info, definitely fall on the crummy end of the spectrum.)

    I mean, I don’t think many of the places I’ve worked at have been awesome when it comes to the first day…but I can’t think of a place I have worked that has been this bad. I’ve had a job in which my HR contacts didn’t respond to my email the week before about what time to arrive and who to report to upon arrival….but once I showed up on my first day at least the manager and my predecessor (we had a few days of overlap) took the time to meet with me and I definitely felt welcome. I’ve worked in some small and really non-social offices, but still had company for lunch on my first day (either my manager or the team/part of the team)…even though everyone ate at their desks on normal days. I had another first day where there was a very big thing happening on the same day that I was starting that would take up everybody’s day, but I at least was emailed about it the day before I started, and they left me some not-too-boring-but-easy tasks to do while everyone was out, and they made sure that there was someone in the office to greet me and show me around and make feel welcome.

    So basically, while there is huge variety in how welcome you might feel on a first day, I would definitely say this place is below average. But that’s it! Below average, crummy, not great, etc, and certainly within 2 standard deviations from the mean. This is definitely something not worth quitting over! Or even thinking about quitting over, really.

  79. zinemin*

    Great that this topic came up, since this is something that is bothers me a lot. I really sympathize with the LW. I’ve started quite a few new jobs in the last years due to temporary contracts and career changes, and my impression is that in general most people are somewhere between thoughtless to rude to new people. I am still surprised about this every time it happens. Why are people like that? They are going to work with me for the next years, and over time the dependency will be mutual. It is difficult to forget how people treat you at the start.

    At my last job one woman was very condescending to me and told me that she thought I would not be able to do my job since I did not have a degree in economics. Two years later and she depends on me to help her solve a problem that noone else can solve in the department. What did she gain by being rude to me on my first day? Or just recently I heard a guy on my team make fun of a new guy because of his unusual name. Poor new guy was visibly uncomfortable.

    My experience is that the new people are viewed with suspicion by default. I don’t get this, I cannot imagine having a new person on the team and not helping them find their way in the lunch break, asking them for a coffee break to get to know them, informing them where everyone else is going etc. Basic empathy. It is really hard to believe that it is just thoughtlessness, as everyone is arguing here. It feels to me more like some icky in-group vs. out-group dynamics; the in-group people can feel powerful by excluding the new person.

    My resolution (as I am starting yet another new job) is to simply accept this as part of human nature and try to focus on the fact that it helps me getting to know people as they really are. If you are decent to a new person who has relatively little power, I think you are genuinely a good person. If you are only nice to well-established, popular people… I already know something valuable about you.

    1. Observer*

      Nothing the OP describes rises to the level of being rude to her, though. They didn’t “really care for her” isn’t exactly rude. Even going to lunch without her is not necessarily rude. No one knows if they even went out together.

  80. Jill*

    OP, for as much as no one told YOU anything (about lunches, what to do with your laptop, etc), perhaps no one told your CO-WORKERS anything about you starting that day. Maybe people thought you’re just a temp or a consultant or a vendor and didn’t even realize you are a new employee. And maybe with the workload in your office, no one could break free to chat with you and find out why you were there.

    Again, this speaks to really crappy orientation practices at your workplace, but give it time. Your coworkers may have some downtime in the next few days where you could chat more and maybe get a lunch invite. Hang in there – AAM is right. None of this is quit-your-job worthy.

    1. Nic*


      More than once I’ve had days at OldToxicJob where a new hire would show up and no one on the floor would have any idea it was going to happen. While we were small enough to know any new person was new, they were still thrown in with no plan. In those cases someone random was usually pulled to train them in the moment, which basically meant “keep them busy for three days while IT gets their system set up.”

      At one point this was three times in a week. It absolutely does happen.

  81. Danielle*

    I’m going to add this to my list of times never to make an important decision:

    1) I’m not a morning person, so I never make an important decision until 9AM.
    2) Never make an important decision after two or more drinks.
    3) Never make an important decision while angry.
    4) Never make a decision based on “fake news” or “alternative facts”.
    5) Never decide to quit a job in the first week.

  82. Oranges*

    Okay, think of it like this: ALL of these people have history and a group groove. You’re a new element. The number one way of making them never want to include you in their group is by not respecting the fact relationships take time. I’ve been there. Everyone is laughing and joking and you want to be part of the group so bad but: SLOW DOWN. Trust me. It will take time to incorporate you into the group dynamics.

    The only thing that will prevent that is trying to rush closeness (boundary crossing is NOT a good way to make friends) or a sincere culture mismatch.

  83. always in email jail*

    OP- I’m sorry that you’re not feeling great about your decision.
    It really varies office to office. My last job, I was greeted with an office plant, a bag of goodies, a welcome lunch, a schedule of what I’d be doing the first 2 weeks, paraded around to other organizations to meet them, the whole 9 yards. It ended up being a horrible work environment. That supervisor lacked boundaries and the organization as a whole was toxic.
    My current job I was a bit let down my first week, too. I had to stand in the hallway and ask around to find someone with a key to let me into my office. Then, they handed me literally 30 unlabeled keys. I didn’t see my supervisor my first few days, we made an appointment to meet towards the end of the week. I had no one to introduce me around. To top it off, we our organization has 8 buildings, so I had to try to find out points of contact at each one to go there and figure out which divisions were located where. I had to ask basic things I was used to being told during onboarding. You know what though? Best decision ever. Much better environment/atmosphere than the last job.

    tl;dr you really can’t tell from the first week. Try to give it some time.

  84. Anne (with an "e")*

    My sister once started a new job in late June. At first no one went out of their way to welcome her. They even had a Fourth of July office party and did not invite my sister to attend. She came into to work on July 1st and everyone had brought in something for this party (burgers, hot dogs, cake, brownies, cokes, chips, potato salad, coleslaw, etc.). They set up in the break room and everyone was enjoying themselves. My sister had the impression that she was not welcome to join in the festivities. I believe it was made clear to her that only people who had brought something could participate—– but, of course, since she was new, she had not been asked to bring in anything. That night she called me and cried on the phone. However, she persevered and things improved little by little as she got to know her colleagues and they got to know her. OP, I think you should hand in there for a while. Give it time.

  85. NPO Queen*

    Allison, a common piece of advice from you is to stay several years in a job if you have short stints elsewhere, but what happens if there’s no opportunity for growth at your company? I say this because if the OP can’t move up or gain more responsibility in a couple of years, what should she do? Stay at the same job at the same level or move on?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In most jobs, I wouldn’t expect to move up before two years anyway, so that wouldn’t worry me too much. And in that situation, the priority is repairing your work history, since in most fields it’s also going to be really hard to move up if you keep leaving jobs after six months or a year.

      1. NPO Queen*

        Very helpful, thank you. Sometimes I have a chance to be on interview panels and for the younger workers I’ve seen, it seems they stay 2-3 years is the max and get a promotion by moving to another company. It could be my location or industry, it’s just a pattern I noticed.

        Either way, good luck OP! I’m sure it’ll get better as you get settled in.

  86. TootsNYC*

    I had a first day at a new job that was so much like this!

    I didn’t get introduced around, there was nothing to do, people who came into the area by my desk ignored me.

    I literally cried on the way home, thinking perhaps I’d made a huge mistake.
    I stayed at that job for 12 years and enjoyed it for all but the first week and the last year.

  87. Jaybeetee*

    While I agree that OP needs to give this one a little more time before deciding, and that nothing OP describes sounds that terrible, I do have to say I have some respect for people who walk out the first day. I’ve heard a few stories at various workplaces about people who quit within the first week or so of starting there, always with the tinge of those people being nuts. But I think there’s something to be said, if someone determines that quickly that NewJob isn’t the right place for them, to not waste theirs or anyone else’s time trying to fit their square peg in the company’s round hole and just move on.

    I had one particular job that I figured out within the first week was NOT the place for me, but due to high pay, lack of other immediate job prospects and other reasons, I was very reluctant to quit. I held on for three months, miserable the whole time, only to be let go at the end of my probation as it turned out the feeling was mutual. It was just a wrong fit, and I might have saved some time and heartache just bailing out when I first realized that, rather than trying to force it to work.

    My favourite story I heard was a woman who had started on contract but had walked out on her fourth day, literally while the person training her had a quick 10 minute meeting with their manager. Mentor walked out of the meeting, Newbie had vanished, and the placement agency later confirmed what basically amounted to an “Oh God, get me out of here” phone call from her that day. It seemed odd because while I’ve had some nightmare jobs in my time, that particular place was laid-back, supportive, had really low turnover and much of the staff had been there happily for years. It wasn’t really an “Oh God, get me out of here” kind of place (though there were of course some flaws, there always are, and there can be other problems when you’re a newbie in a staff that has worked together for years). Those that had worked with this woman described her as high-strung and asocial, and the running theory was that she had been mostly working freelance from home for several years prior to that and couldn’t handle being back in an office.

  88. Sydney*

    First days suck. They always do. I’m amazed at the number of managers that don’t remember that someone is starting and don’t show up when they’ve told their staff to start. Or don’t have computer logins. Or a desk. It’s just ridiculous.

  89. MoodyMoody*

    Here’s an anecdote from the other side: I have been at my community college for almost forever. We hired two new teachers in my department at my time last October. The paperwork can be a bit overwhelming for new people, so I offered to show them how to do some of it after classes when I had time. Neither took me up on it, and I still don’t know if one of them understands it at all. We have official orientation for new hires, but the paperwork is slightly different from department to department.

    On the other hand, today I helped one of my old-time colleagues (he’s been here for eight years) do his time card for the end of the month. Poor man was trying to edit it from the preview pane on the computer library screen instead of Excel! He’s convinced I’m a computer genius (spoiler: I’m not).

    So, OP, please take advantage of any opportunity you have to pick your colleagues’ brains. Just because they’re quiet doesn’t make them unfriendly.

  90. Nic*

    This could be seen as an opportunity to make a good impression.

    It was my third day at CurrentJob instead of first, but no one I’d been introduced to had shown up (and apparently weren’t scheduled for that day), I had no seat assignment (had just gotten out of training) and no work assignment. I walked up to someone who was standing around looking managerial, and asked for suggestions, and ended up being told to ask to shadow someone. When the supervisor who was there that day came in and saw that I’d resolved the issue myself and was “working” (aka shadowing) already.

    See if you can find someone who can will give you a bit of direction, and go from there. You may receive praise for being a self starter.

  91. Susan*

    When I saw the title of this post, I thought, “Woah, I wonder what horrible thing this company did to make someone consider quitting on her first day!” I imagined that they forced the OP to get tested as a kidney donor for the CEO’s brother, and then sent her to leave a work-releated note at the grave of a bereaved coworker’s loved one, and the boss stole her lunch while she was delivering the note. Then I read the letter and, I have to say, none of this warrants the level of outrage necessary for quitting after the first day.

    I can understand why the OP was disappointed; it looks like this company isn’t particularly organized when it comes to onboarding. It can be disheartening when it’s a really big, important day in your life — starting a new job — and everyone else treats it like it’s just another day at the office, but you have to remember that to them, it was just another day in the office. Sure, it would have been nice if they had been a little more prepared for a new employee, and if they had been a little more welcoming, but that’s just how it goes at a lot of places. Also, sometimes you need to ask questions, because if you don’t, people will assume that somebody else already told you what your work hours are supposed to be, where to go for your lunch break, etc. I’m sure they’re not intentionally being rude.

  92. Cassie*

    I’ve basically worked in 1 place for my entire career, starting as a student worker. My then-boss did take me around and introduce certain people (like this is the payroll person, this is the facilities person, etc). When I became career staff, I already knew where everything was, who everyone was and what they did, etc. I’ve never really had an experience of being brand new and not getting any direction from my boss, but I have seen variations of this with new coworkers – e.g. supervisor doesn’t start until 1 hour later so the new hire sits there doing nothing until the supervisor shows up; new employee’s computer is not ready for a couple of days, etc. Even when a supervisor walks their new hire around and introduces them, it may overwhelm the new hire to meet so many new people on the first day, and feel like they have to remember everyone and what they do.

    OP, I hope you can stick it out for at least a little while longer and see what the workplace is like once you are not “new”. Ideally, your manager would have entrusted another manager or coworker with a list of “must knows” (like what time your work hours are, where to store your laptop, etc), but he might just have forgotten or it didn’t occur to him.

  93. Japan Anna*

    OP! Correct me if I’m wrong, but a few minor English errors + mention that your job is translation makes me wonder if your current workplace (and previous workplaces) are outside your native country.
    If that’s the case, I highly recommend you find someone–an organization, a phone #– to talk to about your workplace rights, and also someone/several people from overseas used to working in the current country.
    The workplace rights organization is if you don’t feel good about your job, now or in the future, and need to consult with someone about what your rights are. The person from another country used to working here can talk to you about workplace culture/norms.

    I’m from the US living in Japan, with an all Japanese work environment. New people are greeted the morning of the day they start by the whole side of this floor. We all stand up, the new person gives a short speech (yes!), and is handed some official piece of paper by our boss. We also have going away and welcome parties. Lots of them.
    If I moved from my current workplace to a workplace in the US that behaved like OP describes, I’d be kind of unhappy and lonely, but my expectations are different now.

    Getting used to workplace cultures is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you’re in a foreign country. It can also be very stressful if you’ve been in a dysfunctional workplace in the past as a foreigner (the “crazy” boss) and you’re waiting for the shoe to drop in this workplace. Maybe the shoe won’t drop in this workplace. Give it a little more time and for sure find someone to talk to.

    If I’m wrong about the from overseas bit, sorry, but writing just in case!

  94. OP*

    Hi all

    I didn’t expect so many replies! Someone bit rude someone kind, very appreciated.
    I am still waiting, I have only a few people that say hi in my team as it’s a quiet international team and everyone do their own business..still no confetti or lunch (of course this is not what I was expecting although a welcome drink was appreciated probably just to know each other. I still don’t know the name of the people inside my team as it’s composed by 40people)
    It’s tue I don’t feel it’s the right job for me as it’s too methodical and I am more creative/producer but I will give a try and I can still say that was a project/temp role.
    The lack of management is huge, not only because she didn’t show up on my first day but also because after two weeks there is no management at all. It’s a growing young company and it’s good, the vibe is easy going but also means that manager are not super skilled.
    No training provided at all, no chat during the day (only lync), no discussion about objective.
    Yes I feel alone, fair enough as I know how to do what is requested from my manager but had to put in schedule meeting with all different departments trying o collect as much information as possible.
    That’s something that makes me feel in a way that I won’t improve too much my skills and funny thing is that I will manage two person without training and without even being manage by my manager (if you know what I mean)
    And yes, English is not my first language but that’s not an issue at all from my side :)

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