We Never Forget Our Firsts

Remember those Head & Shoulders shampoo commercials that said you can’t afford to have dandruff because You never get a second chance to make a first impression? They were a little corny, but they spoke to something pretty deep. We never forget our firsts – first kiss, first day of college, first time at a baseball game, first beer, first breakup, first pet, first car…firsts resonate. Because of that, today I want to talk about a super important first: first day of work.


I was thinking about this because recently it was the first day of work for our new crop of interns at Steiner Sports. For the most part, it went okay – I gave them my little welcome spiel, my assistant Andrew gave them the tour – but some things could have been handled a little better. We didn’t have computers set up for all of them – the IT team had to scramble to get that done; some of them hadn’t yet been assigned to specific employees, who would show them the ropes; we didn’t have an intern manual to pass out. Basically, the first day was too hodgepodge for some of these interns. It must have been confusing to them, and on our part, it didn’t command the proper amount of respect.

This was a stark contrast to the first day of work a new employee gets at Steiner Sports. Or, maybe I should say the first impression of Steiner he or she gets.

I put it that way because even before the first day, a new hire will get a letter from us including: photos of everyone in the division in which he or she will be working, along with little bios; a photo of their new workspace; the phone number they’ll have; and a small gift. That way, before they even arrive on their first day, they’ll start to feel comfortable with their new situation. And they won’t have to spend any time playing catch-up, calling all their old associates with the new phone number.

When they do get here, they’ll have a Steiner employee ready to greet them, help them settle in, and give them a tour. And they’ll spend at least two days shadowing that person around the office, being trained by that employee, and being introduced to as many people as possible. And of course, they’ll receive an employee handbook, that answers countless questions. This way, when they’re ready to really start working, they’ll feel pretty comfortable with everything, and they’ll really be able to hit the ground running.

But just as importantly, they’ll have a firm impression that as a company, we have our “stuff” together. That at Steiner, we run a tight ship. And since that’s their very first impression, that respect will carry through a lot of the frustrations and bull(crap) that is unavoidable in an office in the long run.

How about you? Do you put in the prep work for your first impressions?

Want me to speak to your company or at your next event? Contact my team here.



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  • As always, a great article and topic. First impressions are paramount to a successful career. I believe in being over prepared, just in case an Executive wants to have a little “fun” by asking me something they think I wouldn’t possibly know.
    I learned this at my very first medical field career job at Medtronic (a Fortune 500 company) in 1987. Both the Senior Educator of EKG Interpretation and the Personnel Manager asked me this question “What is the Chronaxie and Rheobase relationship?”. I had just turned 20-years old and had no clue, so I stood up looked them both in their eyes and said “I do not know right now, but I promise you I will have an answer for you tomorrow.” I said that as confidently as I could (even though inside I was overwhelmed by that question). So after my short interview with my new boss, I went straight to the library (pre-Internet) and found out the answer. Chronaxie is the minimum time required for an electric current double the strength of the rheobase to stimulate a muscle. Rheobase is the lowest intensity with indefinite pulse duration which just stimulated muscles or nerves. This was related to my new job as a Pacemaker transtelephonic test interpreter of single chamber (ventricular) basic pacemakers for people with heart problems such a too slow of a heart rate.
    I also copied a sketch of the Rheobase sloping chart called the Weiss formula showing how the relationship works to show them the next day which was my first full day of work.
    I got to work 20-minutes early just to find the two of them and explained the answer to their question to each of them who were working on different floors of the building. Needless to say I “blew them both out of the water”. But I gained the absolute instant respect of each of them the entire time I worked there. I had to leave that wonderful job after just three years to move to FL with my new wife, but I kept in touch with them both for many years afterwards. I brought that philosophy with me to every job I had since and enjoyed a very successful 16-year career as an Advanced EKG Interpretation Technologist; a job I basically created for myself. I was made Lead Technologist at every EKG job I had in that 16-years career and retain all the knowledge I obtained along the way because I truly loved my career thanks mostly to those two people who asked me something I could not possibly know, yet knew one day after and remembered to this day. Sadly physical disabilities ended that career, but I still help people online when I see EKG questions from time to time.

    James McCay on

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