Today was my first day at a new job. I know it's slow the first day or two, getting set up and all, but I've got a particularly bad feeling about this one. Basically all I did was walk in, someone showed me around, the secretary gave me a piece of paper with instructions on how to log into my account and that was it. No one really showed me what it was I'm supposed to be doing and I'm not even sure who my boss is. Everyone in the office seems very friendly but it's very quite and usually no one speaks.

Tomorrow I plan to proactively try to find work, I'm going to ask some other people if they need help with anything or if there's any particular resources I could use to read up on the company. Is there any advice on how I can find out on what it is I'm supposed to be doing.

The position is IT and it's for a smaller company that's been around for 6 years.

UPDATE: the first day was slow but the second was anything BUT slow. First thing in the morning the project manager gave me plenty of work. Latter I found out he is the one I report to. The company is small and doesn't have a dedicated HR department and I'm the only dedicated IT (developers and testers are expected to do some IT duties). I found the titles used to be rather unusual, for example the lady who works at the entrance and orders office supplies has the title "branch manager", though I would have guessed "secretary".

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    That no one has any direct jobs for you day 1 - 14 isn't something to worry about. That you aren't sure who you boss is, that is something you should worry about!
    – Fredrik
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 7:16
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    Are you a member of an IT team or you are the only IT person in the company? Is there an HR person/department? They should tell you who your boss is. If there is no HR, ask the secretary who gave you the login instructions who you boss is. Identifying the boss should be your first step. I don't think it is a good idea to ask around who needs help before speaking with the boss. You don't want to create a situation when several people would assign tasks to you. Commented May 2, 2014 at 8:39
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    Are the people who interviewed you nowhere to be found?
    – AakashM
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 10:54
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    Who made you the offer, and who gave you the start date? Did that person vanish into thin air? Direct your questions to that person. You say that "the position is IT" and that's all you know about the position and your duties? What were you all discussing during the interviews, the weather/sports and not your duties nor your fitness to carry out your duties? Nobody from IT was present at your interviews? Somebody created your login account - it didn't pop up out of nowhere. Track that person down and ask who authorized the creation of your account, so that you can talk to the authorizer. Commented May 2, 2014 at 12:19
  • If the moderators believe that my comment qualifies as an answer, I'll be glad to move my comment into the Answer question. Otherwise, it stays where it is - the OP left a few facts too many out. It's not a good sign when the answer to a question is a bunch of other questions :) Commented May 2, 2014 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


No one really showed me what it was I'm supposed to be doing and I'm not even sure who my boss is.

This is the first thing you must strive to correct.

I don't understand how you can accept a job without knowing who your boss is going to be, and who directs your activities. So make it your first priority to figure that out.

Perhaps you can talk to whoever interviewed you and ask "Who do I report to?"

Perhaps you can talk to HR and explain that you don't really understand who your boss is.

Either way, figure it out. Then talk to your boss and ask how you should learn your responsibilities, and what you should be working on now.


If you are 'the' IT person, what you would do first is survey every piece of computing equipment on the premises. I was hired into a company where the people I was working for couldn't name the brand of the computer, even though it was embossed on the case. The nearest 'IT person' had come in from Utah (I'm in Texas) to get my accounts set up.

What I found (this is in 1992) that each computer was a different age, different CPU/Memory/Disk combination, and as it turned out different version of MS-DOS. Who ever had been there before had basically stopped doing anything whatsoever.

Job one was to get everything up to equivalence, so I migrated the older DOSs to the current version. We were running Novell Netware, and that was out of date as well, although that cost some money. I also determined that our backup protocol wasn't particularly secure - I insisted that we alter it to make it more robust.

Nobody, even the plant manager, could 'tell me what to do' initially - they were depending on my initiative to keep bad things from happening. After they got to know me, they started asking for reports. I had plenty to do in no time at all.


It may be that someone has a plan for you, but that person may be on vacation, sick, or otherwise unavailable. Not very convenient for you, but hardly a reason to consider walking out on a job you just got.

Maybe they want to see how you deal with uncertainty or lack of direction. Do you throw your hands up and do nothing? Or do you take the initiative and own your new position? Do you remember who you interviewed with? Those people would be the first ones to start with. Tell them you haven't been given any direction and ask if they have any suggestions as to where to start ramping up for your new duties. Ask for suggestions about what technologies to dig into in order to be most useful in your new position.

If you can't remember the names of those you interviewed with (and that one's on you, you should keep track of those things) look for the secretary. Confide in her your uncertainty and ask her if she would mind answering some questions about the company.

Find out about the organization. How did the company get started, who started it, who are the managers (with titles if possible). Make it clear that you are interested in the company and in becoming part of it. Ask about what everyone does. Let her know that you want to figure out how to become a working part of what is going on, that you need some startup tasks, and ask who she thinks you should go to.

And above all don't let first day jitters get to you. If you still feel this way after a month, you probably need to start looking for another job. You absolutely shouldn't give it less time than that. If you don't feel you are getting enough to do, ask the older members if they can give you small projects as learning exercises. Use this "dead time" as an opportunity to dig into related technologies that you feel might be useful to the company. That way when your opportunity comes you will be ready.


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