Hey all, I just discovered this website in the last week or so and am extremely lucky to have done so!  I'm moving from operations to a corporate position within my company next month and have been doing everything I can to prepare.  I'm fairly comfortable with the swap aside from one thing I was hoping for some advice on.

My company's office opens at 8:30 AM, though it seems that peple come in any time between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM based on their personal schedule.   My new boss asked me to come in at 9:00 AM that day to be sure everyone who needs to get me setup will be there.  I'm fairly uncomfortable with the thought of being percieved as "late" on my first day as the office does open at 8:30 officially.  I was planning to get there at 8:15 and bring study material... But after listening to the podcast on the 8 minute rule I'm wondering if that would cause more damage than its worth.

Any advice on when I should actually get there would be appreciated!


PS-I showed up 45 minutes early to the interview last month (wish I had found this place sooner) if that helps give further backdrop

jrb3's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I too am uncomfortable being "only just on time", especially to something as important as the first day on a new job.  I have done much contract work:  I have had at least twenty "first days" of my own so far.  Here's what I've settled on.

The first day, with that specific appointment, I treat as the start of my day there.  My new boss and coworkers prepare during the hour leading up to that specific appointment;  I prefer to not interrupt them.  I aim to arrive a half-hour early with the new commute.  Depending on how much earlier than 20 minutes I am, I grab a snack at some nearby place, scout the area a bit, jot down ideas and questions to ask, and sit in my car to watch people as they come in.  At 20 minutes or so before, I enter reception, get signed in and announced, and chat briefly with the receptionist to learn names, a bit about commutes, and some piece of advice, all without taking the receptionist's time or attention away from serving others.  I fill any remaining time in reception by people-watching and greeting anyone I recognize or who recognizes me or wants to greet me.

If I must enter reception more than 20 minutes early, I blame my unfamiliarity with the commute, and ask the receptionist what works best for her during my longer wait.  Often that leads to a quick 10- to 20-minute exploratory walk of the public area around reception, or a brief visit to the restroom to start learning the place.

I feel this strikes a good balance between my readiness to start, and other' readiness to receive me.

Ack's picture

I appreciate your taking the time to respond as well as the advice!  With regards to the commute and scouting out the area, I'm less than a minute drive from the office and if the interview is any indication it will take me seconds to get from the front door to my new bosses office.  

That being said, you would suggest 15-20 minutes early?  I'm almost wondering if it would look better for me to walk in to the door at 8:50 rather than 8:40-45 as 8:50 might indicate showing up early for 9 rather than late for 8:30.  Only my boss likely knows that she doesn't want me there till 9.

I suppose I'm probably making a bigger deal out of this than is likely necessary, but my new boss and I are on slightly awkward footing already

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

You may find this cast helpful. With Manager Tools approaching their 10th anniversary (next month), sometimes, it is hard to remember all the great content provided through the years. Also, you may find the Manager Tools mind map of all podcasts "map of the universe" helpful:

Ack's picture

Thanks, I hadn't seen that one!  I'm listening to them pretty much every waking moment till I start this job but given the recency of discovering this site I'm more than a little behind.

mjpeterson's picture

If you have already done the scouting and are as close as indicated, I would show up at the receptionist desk 10 min before the appointed time.  Don't worry about other people thinking you are late.  Be there when your boss wants you to be there.    On the first day it usually makes sense, as a boss, to have the person start a bit later.  It give you  time to prepare and deal with any emergencies that might have come up. 

Ack's picture

Thanks! That makes sense

mrreliable's picture

For what it's worth, having scheduled many appointments for applications, interviews, and new employees, IMHO arriving five minutes early is exactly right on time. 20 minutes is way too early, 10 minutes isn't terrible but I still feel awkward the person is sitting there too long (especially if the appointment prior doesn't end exactly on the button). If someone arrives five minutes early, I assume they planned correctly, arrived at the location much earlier, and made a strategic decision to hit the T minus five minute mark on the dot.

Ack's picture

Thanks! You guys have convinced me to do the 5-10 minute mark.  I was originally planning on 45 minutes early so as to be early for the office in general.  Glad I discovered this site!  I probably would have aggrivated her had I do what I had originally planned to do

G3's picture

Link here:

There's an old adage in my industry, "Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unnacceptable." Clearly, one is better off arriving early versus late. That being said, you don't want to be too early. So, what is too early? Well, if your boss said be there at 9AM then I would follow the 8 minute guidance. Show up at 8:52AM for orientation. And I would likely be in the parking lot and ready to go a bit earlier then that.

From what I recall, the 8 minute rule of thumb applies to interviews, not your first day of work. And it's still a good rule of thumb. Also, you've probably already heard them but you might want to consider listening to the "First Job Fundamentals Series" - a solid start for people new to corporate life and a refresher for veterans. That's my two cents; take what you like and leave the rest. Good luck! I'd be curious to hear how it went.

Ack's picture

Appreciate it!  I'll have to check out that series once things have settled down, moving states is insanely expensive!

Really the only way it could have gone badly would be if I had followed my original plan and showed up 45 minutes early haha.  Should be a pretty straightforward day, second and  third will be busy-senior vp has already requested me for a project so we shall see how that goes!

ashdenver's picture

The boss picked the time and that's the time to pay attention to for the first day. Getting in the way, camping out in the lobby for a long period of time is just awkward.  During the first day, you'll learn the regular start-time protocol and can go from there.  I've scheduled candidates for a specific time and then had the receptionist tell me "Sally's here" 30 mins ahead of schedule. Talk about ACK!  It was like "I'm totally not ready for her yet. I have these six things to get done first. Why the hell would she get here so dang early when I said X time? Well, I can't leave her just sitting there in the lobby making the receptionist uncomfortable. FFS, I'll be right there and upset my entire morning because someone couldn't follow a simple request." Most of that dialogue is internal to myself but kind of gives you an insight as to why/where the 8 minute rule comes from.  Eight minutes is an acceptable amount of time to allow me to wrap up what I was working on as well as let you get relaxed & catch your breath. You're welcome to get to the location 45 mins early - just spend 35 mins of it in your car!

Ack's picture

You're right! I got there 8 minutes early and she was quite happy about it. Half of the office doesn't get there till 9 so it made no difference at all.