15 Things You Should Never Say on Your First Day at Work

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What you say on your first day at work doesn’t just shape your colleagues’ opinions of you — it could cost you the job. A wrong comment can set a negative tone, leading to your dismissal. While it’s natural to want to be liked and make a good impression, many people try too hard and talk too much instead of listening. Here are 15 things you should never say on your first day at work.

“In my previous job …”

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As your coworkers train you on new systems and procedures, the last thing they want to hear is how you did things at your old job. Your focus should be on learning your new role. Hold off on suggesting improvements until you’ve been there a few months. Every company is different, so don’t compare your old job with your new one.

“Apologies for being late.”

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You can’t be late to work, especially on your first day. Don’t let anything make you late. Wake up early, get dressed, travel, and just arrive at the office a few minutes early. Showing up late will definitely leave a wrong impression. Your boss might be nice—but not everyone will be understanding. If you’re not on time, people will ask questions.

“Once I finish this HR paperwork, I plan to…”

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Your first day will be very busy and hectic, with many things happening at once. HR paperwork is very important, but you won’t have the luxury of finishing it all in one go. Be flexible and ready to adapt quickly. Training won’t wait, so you need to be available and prepared to go with the flow.

“Which colleagues should I avoid?”

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Office isn’t about popularity; it’s about doing your job. You will naturally get along better with some colleagues than others, which is totally normal. But avoid starting gossip or letting others’ opinions influence you before you’ve even met someone — especially if that person could impact your career. It’s a definite no-no all around!

“The receptionist looks hot!”

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Making inappropriate comments, especially about someone’s appearance, on your first day at work can quickly backfire. Your words could spread fast around the office, making it very tough to make a positive impression. Keep your thoughts to yourself and choose your words wisely when giving compliments. Timing and respect go a long way in building good relationships from day one.

“A Rabbi, a pastor, and a priest enter a bar…”

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Avoid discussing politics and religion at work. You won’t know much about anyone’s beliefs or political views in your first few weeks, and there’s a good reason for that. These topics can be divisive, and everyone wants to maintain peace during the long workweek. Unless these issues directly affect your job, it’s best to steer clear of them since they’re usually not welcomed topics of discussion.

“May I quickly check my social media?”

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On your first day at work, spending time on social media instead of learning your new responsibilities might not be the best move. Your boss and colleagues are counting on you to dive into your job during those crucial eight hours. Save the social updates for breaks or after work—it’ll show you’re serious about making a strong start in your new role.

“I really like that!”

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While it’s good to be friendly, avoid trying too hard to win everyone’s approval. Remember that you were hired because you fit into the team culturally. Just be yourself and let your natural qualities shine. Even if you don’t click with everyone immediately, that’s totally okay—your main focus is on doing your job well, not making close friends. 

“That doesn’t seem logical.”

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When you encounter a new way of doing things at your company that doesn’t quite click with you, don’t rush to judgment. Instead of labeling it negatively, ask questions to grasp why the company operates this way and the backstory behind it. This shows your curiosity and willingness to understand, which can pave the way for smoother collaboration and clearer insights into how things work.

“Where is a suitable place for a private call?”

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Asking this question makes others think you’re keeping secrets. Even if you don’t mean to hide anything, it might make your colleagues think you’re always looking for better opportunities and could leave this job for another. Need to make an important call? Just step outside or text when you can call after work hours.

“Have you heard the news about…”

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As a newcomer at work, your colleagues probably have more experience with both the job and the people. If you happen to learn something about someone, resist the urge to bond over gossip. Sharing inside information right away on your first day can make others see you as a gossip-monger who can’t be trusted. Instead, focus on building relationships based on trust and professionalism—it’s the surefire way to make a positive impression from the start.

“I need to leave early today.”

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If you find yourself needing to leave early and haven’t sorted it out with your manager beforehand, it’s time to reschedule that appointment pronto. Life throws curveballs, but planned commitments should be squared away in advance. Keeping your manager in the loop shows you’re on top of things and ready to communicate effectively from day one.

“My previous boss was a bully.”

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When discussing your previous boss, keep it positive. Negative comments can stick to your reputation like glue. If you complain about old coworkers—it might make others wonder if you’ll do the same to them. Just stay professional, and as you settle in, you’ll find your groove with your new team. Eventually, you’ll share laughs and jokes, but for now, feel out the workplace vibe first.

“That’s not the way I was taught to do it.”

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Always keep the conversation positive. Employers prefer hearing what you can do and that you’re flexible enough to learn new things their way. Sometimes, people accidentally focus on what they know best, thinking, “That’s why they hired me.” But if you’re not very careful, this can come off as negative and critical of your new organization.

“How can I upgrade my company phone?”

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If your company phone or other equipment isn’t the latest model, chances are your coworkers aren’t either. Asking for an upgrade might make some people feel alienated, wondering if you think you deserve special treatment. Learn to work with what you have. If the company’s technology or office furnishings are older, focus on getting your job done effectively without letting it affect your performance.