The Absolutely Wrong First Impression

When you start a new job, particularly your first job ever, you want to make a good first impression. Obviously. And this is something I had been worrying about quite a bit. I wondered if I was making a good impression on my coworkers through email, if I should be emailing them a bit more, if my manager’s frequent checks to see if I had any questions meant I should be asking more than I was, etc. But what I hadn’t considered were the really, really basic things. Things like: don’t forget to bring essential documents to your HR appointment.

Oops.

My HR appointment was scheduled for a Tuesday morning, but because I hadn’t officially moved to Charleston yet, I was planning on driving there on Monday afternoon, staying in a hotel for the night, and then driving back home as soon as my appointment had ended on Tuesday. And that’s what I did – about a six hour drive each direction.

And that would have worked out just fine, if I hadn’t realized at around eleven pm on Monday night, from my hotel room bed, that I had left my passport (necessary to prove US citizenship and therefore work authorzation) at home, six hours away. My appointment was at nine am, which meant I didn’t have time to drive home and back to Charleston without also being late, because if I had had time, trust me, I would have done it. I also wasn’t planning on being in Charleston, and in fact couldn’t be in Charleston, long enough for anyone to overnight it to me. Which meant I was going to have to go to my appointment without it.

I ended up calling my mom in a panic, and she recommended bringing a picture (even though I knew they needed the original document) as a stand-in, which I was able to do. But when I got there, I was told exactly what I expected – they needed the original. Fortunately I was able to work out a system with one of the HR reps where she would take my copy, I would overnight the original to her as soon as I got home on Tuesday, and she would receive it on Wednesday  morning and then use that for verification. Whew – crisis averted.

But man, that was a really close call. So lesson learned: while you’re busy worrying about all the big, abstract things, make sure you don’t forget the really dumb, little things that have the potential to ruin your chances at your job before you ever start it. Alternatively, make sure you go over any emails that may have told you what to bring before you leave for any work appointments. Especially ones that are six hours away.

*sigh* Now I know.

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