10 things I noticed on my first day at work

Published: March 23, 2012
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The awkwardness. Sitting at an empty desk, staring at your phone, you start re-reading millions of year old messages, refreshing Facebook every few seconds on your über slow GPRS, silently cursing your network service, trying hard not to listen to everyone else hammering away at their keyboards while looking super busy and important. DESIGN: ESSA MALIK

The first day of work can be full of excitement… before you get to the office. It’s like the first day of school; you can’t contain your excitement but when you enter the premises you are already dying to leave! I’ve listed the 10 things I noticed on my first day of work. Here goes:

1. The blank look on the HR guy’s face when you arrive at the office – the same guy who interviewed you and begged you to accept the package . No one knows where you are supposed to sit, how you’ll enter the building or if you’ll need a laptop to work on.

2. The horror on the admin staff’s faces when they are asked to fix the electrical boards beneath the desk of the most non-private cubicle you just have been bestowed with. Their facial expressions evidence the inconvenience you had dared to put them through.

3. You haven’t been introduced to the peon, so he walks in and chooses to ignore your existence, skipping your cubicle and avoiding your eye while serving a tray of tea to the rest of the floor.

4. The awkwardness. Sitting at an empty desk, staring at your phone, you start re-reading millions of year old messages, refreshing Facebook every few seconds on your über slow GPRS, silently cursing your network service, trying hard not to listen to everyone else hammering away at their keyboards while looking super busy and important.

5. You start to personalise your cubicle all over again. As time (barely) crawls by, you wonder which photograph of you and your beau should be displayed at your desk, discreetly crane your neck to check if others have frames on their desks and think about the a bonsai you may keep eventually.

6. You are so bored that when it’s time for introductions and orientations, the relief and excitement that you keep in check is impressive, but wait – that’s a lot of people! Smiling and nodding at everyone, you struggle to remember who is who.

7. Trudging back to your desk after the orientation, you realise that the only department you know most about is HR – but you are nowhere close to working near that department, let alone working in it.

8. You finally message your super busy husband who is consumed with his super busy job a couple of miles away from your office, saying:

“So how about lunch today? You and me like old times?” (Hearts and everything, bribing him so he picks you up and steals you away from the awkwardness for a while)

Post-lunch and back at the office, you try to find the water cooler, the cafe and the washrooms. Success! Now that thechai wala peon has seen you, he has to serve you tea! So you throw in a “Shukria” in accented Urdu just so he knows you are a sweet person unlike the guys who do the “Oye… chai lana zara”.

9. The washroom survey reveals an array of soap dispensers.  You spend the next 15 minutes fixing your hair, refreshing the lipstick, cleaning cuticles, filing the rough edge of the thumb nail, drying hands while your desk beckons your presence.

10. By the time its 4:30, your face is so radiant at the thought of going back home that the lady beside you notices this expression of bliss and casually mentions that the work day at your new office ends at 5:45 PM and not 5:00 PM. She goes on to say:

But that’s just the official timing; your boss doesn’t leave before 8:00 PM.

After a long sigh of resignation, you sit quietly waiting, contemplating how to hurt this bearer of bad news. The last 30 minutes of the day are spent calculating how many years you will have to give in to this slaving till you can start your own business.

And this was just the first day of work – I have approximately 269 more days to go!

This post was originally published here. 

Follow this author on Twitter @mariumarif.

 


Marium Arif

Marium Arif

A Masters graduate from IBA who is working in the field of marketing and PR. Marium tweets @mariumarif.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Awais Ch

    BTW who is your employer? i haven’t observed any of the above mentioned 10 points at my first day in the office….. my first day was awesome, i got new friends, my colleagues trained me well!!! Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    Off course it takes some time to adjust in a new environment and new people and new work!!! Recommend

  • http://www.codingstreet.com Mustafa Hanif

    Hahaha … That was very entertaining … seriously. Felt the same. I personally think that we shouldn’t go to jobs.Recommend

  • Asim

    Bonsai.. That’s the good idea. Recommend

  • Sayyed Mehdi

    My colleagues were so caught up when I started my first job that they didn’t know I existed for one whole month. I had to spend a month reading newspapers on my laptop before my team figured out they had a new member. Lol.Recommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    sastay Iba say graduate karoo gay to yehi ho ga :pRecommend

  • Hafeez

    Very well said. One goes through all this especially when you are not recruited as part of a batch. Recommend

  • Parvez

    You basically did nothing, had lunch with your husband and did nothing again until you went home…………………..and you’re grumbling about this ?Recommend

  • https://ofbeinghumane.wordpress.com/ Rukhsana Shama

    I so can relate to almost 80 percent of it ;) the timing point was the cherry on the top of it! :(Recommend

  • A

    “The last 30 minutes of the day are spent calculating how many years you will have to give in to this slaving till you can start your own business.”

    Thats why I spent those 30 minutes on the start of the day and decided to start the next day…Recommend

  • Anon

    Be grateful you have a job, because alot of us dont. Also it is a bit too early into your job to whine about it, should your employer come across this piece it wouldn’t go down too well with that ‘confused’ HR guy!Recommend

  • Ali

    Well I have worked at 2 different offices in Islamabad and 2 different places in America but I have never experienced any of the things you mentioned. I think it’s all made up. I have always been introduced to the people I’ll be working with I think that’s the norm. Recommend

  • Sahibzada Shabir

    No matter what is your qualification and what is your designation, are you going to a new job or a new department/location in your own company I have observed that its like a Hell.

    it all depends on your immediate supervisor to facilitate/orientation you.
    all the best for new jobbersRecommend

  • Dante

    “”1. The blank look on the HR guy’s face when you arrive at the office – the same guy who interviewed you and begged you to accept the package””

    Oh really? So you were safarashi?Recommend

  • mrk

    Someone walks into their fresh job probably out of school, and expects that they’ll occupy the central position and will tell everyone else how do things right.

    Perhaps the colleagues thought that here is a new hire, who is checking her messages and facebook, and looks in full mood of wasting time when there’s a deadline looming for a project – the same project that pays the bills of the office and the salaries of the employees. So relax a bit, let everyone know there you are a newby and have a lot of learning to do, join a group and observes and learn from others until given a specifi task.

    You will soon find out that real work is very ambiguous compared with a neatly packaged assignment in a hypothetical closed world of a classroom.Recommend

  • Faraz

    @Ovais:

    Awww I feel sad for you since its obvious you failed the entrance exam. Recommend

  • alina

    LOL HHAHAH wth
    this article just showed me how you end up doing nothing at your office besides for facebook, lunch and trying to socialise, and it’s only your first day at work! hahaha
    not a good attitude towards work (h)Recommend

  • Hussain

    Nice observations.!! I went through most of them ,..!!Recommend

  • Ex

    Your first day at work, and how it goes, depends a lot on the company/organization you are joining, your rank/designation, experience, foreign/local origin of the company, corporate culture, and many other things.

    At some companies, before your first day, they already set up your computer, computer account, assigned cubicle or office, everything ready to go, because they understand they hired you to work (and not sit idle) and are paying you for it, so they want to squeeze every ounce of their money out from you!

    Calculate your hourly pay, and multiply by 300 percent, which is what you are costing your employer in terms of overhead, add the two, and that is the total cost to your employer for hiring you. Office rent, utilities, admin, HR, accounting, bhatta and chanda, everything to be paid for. Starting a business and keeping it running is extremely difficult.Recommend

  • Awais

    My college set students up with work experience, voluntary work for a week. I picked a job at a small medical centre where i’m going to be answering calls, data entry and a couple of more things. Kinda worried now after reading this……..Recommend

  • Husband of Marium Arif

    Darling, I’ll not be able to have lunch with you again due to my super busy schedule.Recommend

  • Shahzib Khan

    I have gone through some of the things you have mentioned above while working for different organizations in Islamabad. So far, I have have been fired thrice and resigned five times. I don’t like working in any company for more than 2 months as I get bored and start asking myself what the hell am I doing here? Thus, my productive becomes zero! I always feel that people around me cooking conspiracy against me and they want me failed . I don’t like boss asking me to get things done before dateline , I struggle to cop with such pressure and end up fighting with boss. I don’t like formal office environment and want people to laugh when they see something funny. Either I or my female colleague gets wrong meaning of friendship and we fall in love which affects my working. I can’t digest boss imposing wrong ideas on employees and still they think they are walking on the right path. I hardly failed making impression on interview penal but can’t keep the job for too long. What should I do? Should I go for having my own company based on my ideas or there is something seriously wrong with me which needs to be fixed big time ? Recommend

  • s

    entertaining and well written!

    but its like this in most office all over the world!!Recommend

  • Ali

    i can relate to most of itRecommend

  • Muhammad Uzair

    “You spoiled your precious time there..” :P anyway I also experienced the same… Recommend

  • S.wasay

    @mariumarif I heard you are heading the department at UBL, congratulaions! Hoping to see you speak at the conference today!Recommend

  • anyportinastorm

    Hilariously accurate discription! I spent six months in a very similar environment. This sort of thing happens at organizations that don’t have a formal training structure and/or new graduate or new hire programs. Also I’ve noticed that Pakistani people in corporate settings take more time to warm up to a new hire in comparison to individuals in other parts of the world. Never the less I laughed out loud when I read the article! Please excuse the people above who would find a way to criticize anything and everything. Recommend

  • http://glenns-busy-corner.blogspot.com/ Glenn Ryall

    Finally something which brings a smile to my face, all i have been reading for one week is about the cricket team, politics blah blah blah!!!

    Good write up and I agree to quite an extent with you :) Recommend

  • http://paktutorial.com Abbas

    Exactly same situation with me in the office.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed

    @Awais Ch:
    Obviously because you would have joined Multinational company.

    But few are unlucky like me who after graduating from top business school of Pakistan (IBA – Karachi) are compelled to do a job at Seth Owned company where you can’t find any peon to place an order to bring a tea.

    All you have to do by yourself. You are the employee and you are the peon too.

    This life sucks me.Recommend

  • noreen

    Shazib khan
    “I have gone through some of the things you have mentioned above while working for different organizations in Islamabad. So far, I have have been fired thrice and resigned five times. I don’t like working in any company for more than 2 months as I get bored and start asking myself what the hell am I doing here? Thus, my productive becomes zero! I always feel that people around me cooking conspiracy against me and they want me failed . I don’t like boss asking me to get things done before dateline , I struggle to cop with such pressure and end up fighting with boss. I don’t like formal office environment and want people to laugh when they see something funny. Either I or my female colleague gets wrong meaning of friendship and we fall in love which affects my working. I can’t digest boss imposing wrong ideas on employees and still they think they are walking on the right path. I hardly failed making impression on interview penal but can’t keep the job for too long. What should I do? Should I go for having my own company based on my ideas or there is something seriously wrong with me which needs to be fixed big time ?”

    ^ da fuq did i just read? :|Recommend