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My first day at work was also my first day working. People experience a first day in their new workplace whenever they shift jobs. These experiences are somewhat different from the first day ever working because the former comes with some exposure, while the latter is a completely new experience. This first working day has been a significant event in my life because it gave me the courage to face other working environments better and built my self-confidence. As my first job ever, I was excited. Years by, I had watched my elder siblings work during their holiday breaks, and I envied them. I would wake up early to see them leave very determined. I even saw their walking styles change, as if they had a different purpose in life, unlike the rest of us, who had boring and uneventful days at home. I never understood why my elder siblings complained about waking up early. I did not seem to understand that they missed their beauty sleep to get to work. I would think how I was awake anyway, so there would be no big deal.
The job I was eagerly waiting to start was at the Nike retail store in my hometown. Before I resumed school, my father had talked to someone he knew from the store, and asked them to hire me for the holidays. Fortunately, I got called in for a brief interview and accepted for the sales associate position. At Nike, they refer to their sales associates as athletes to create an athletic environment. This aspect was one of the things that increased my excitement. I would play in my head how instead of saying I work as a sales associate, I would say I am a Nike athlete. People would get the wrong idea; if they did not ask, I would not correct them. I was to start work the week after my acceptance, which was not far off. So, I organized myself for the first week with my outfits and mental preparation.
On the day of the event, I encountered numerous feelings and emotions. Firstly, I was excited. It is obvious to get a little excited when you start earning, however little, because it gives some sense of responsibility and a level of freedom. Also, I was excited about leaving the house almost every day for work because it meant I would have a purpose in life. I was also anxious because I was unsure what to expect from the job. I understood it would not be too hectic because they knew I was a beginner. However, I always desired to be the best in everything I did. So, I was anxious about my performance and my supervisor’s thoughts. I also feared having a negative first work experience, having heard experience from some of my friends and elder siblings. Most people I knew messed up a crucial aspect at their first workplace, some to the extent of being asked to leave. So, I feared messing up to such levels, yet I asked my father to help me get the job.
Having struggled with sleep the night before, I woke up slightly later than my intended time. I freaked out really hard because I did not want to get late for my first job. I thought this job would leave a mark in my mind forever; I would always remember how I worked to earn and my first day in that experience. I rushed all over the place, hurriedly getting ready. I remember I did not have breakfast, despite my mother taking her time to prepare something nice. I was too nervous to eat anything, so I only had a glass of water in the morning. Luckily, I dressed up and knew the exact fit I would have for the day.
As I walked out of the door, I realized I was going to be twenty minutes late due to my nervousness and anxiety. By this time, the ship had sunk because there was little I could do to get there earlier. On my way, negative thoughts flooded my mind about how my supervisor would judge me harshly and have a reason to be on my neck throughout my working period. I was scared that my first day would ruin the rest of my workplace because first impressions are crucial in forming relationships or judging individuals’ characters. However, a consoling thought came to mind: my supervisor and co-workers would be lenient with me, considering how I landed the job. I believed that my father’s connections would come through and not result in negative conclusions or harsh treatment.
I walked into the retail and found people dispersing from what seemed to be a meeting. It immediately hit my mind that I was getting there early for a debriefing to learn my duties and get assigned an experienced colleague who would act as my mentor and instructor. Lucky for me, they did not call out names during the meeting, so the supervisor did not note the missing people. We were about six new employees, five working for the holiday period. Also, the meeting involved all sales associates at the retail shop, so it was difficult for the supervisor to note the missing members. Instantly, I knew I got away with being late and figured my time work experience would be smooth.
No sooner had I gotten comfortable than I saw everyone walking towards different aisles and spots in the retail, getting busy with their tasks. Then it dawned on me that I had no idea what tasks to handle and did not know my mentor. I walked over to a colleague who appeared young and slightly lost to ask for assistance and some debriefing. His nervousness and unsettled persona sold him out, and I knew I got a solution to my little problem. My colleague explained what the meeting was about. However, he informed me that I would have to see the supervisor to get linked with my mentor since they all visited her once they arrived at the retail.
Fear crept in because I realized the supervisor would not only be aware of my lateness but she would also think I was almost an hour late. I thought of lying about how I got there just in time for the briefing, so I waited until it was over, but I could easily get caught with that lie, which would make it worse. So, I accepted getting to the store late and dealt with the consequences. As I had guessed, my supervisor judged me for lateness, which I could sense from her tone and questions. She guided me on my tasks and what she expected of me and assigned me a mentor.
I knew I had to outdo myself for the better part of the day and remain in her good books in the coming days. Therefore, I made sure to listen keenly to my mentor and follow the instructions for the letter. Despite knowing this work was like an internship, I put my best foot forward while at it. I did not waste time using my phone or holding unimportant conversations with my colleagues during work. Instead, I used my time efficiently, ensuring I completed every assigned task within the given time. My supervisor noticed how hardworking I was and changed her opinion about me. I could tell from how she addressed us at the end of the day that she was pleased with my work and was certain we could work together greatly.
My first day at work was a significant event in my life because it marked the beginning of my working experience. Despite the job not being official and lacking experience in the specific field, this job was as important as any other job I have worked. My first day at this job was significant because it was the only time I experienced so many emotions as I headed to work and had no clue how to react with my supervisor or socialize with my colleagues. The tension, anxiety, and fear I experienced that day were unique, and the outcome helped me build confidence when joining an organization for the first time. This event taught me how hard work never goes unnoticed and that it is possible to recover from bad experiences on the first day at work.