Starting a new job is exciting and, when you’re a worker in the gig economy, you might have more first-days than others. After a few gigs, your first day excitement might fade a little as you just try to figure out what you need to know and do to get yourself to that first shift. There are three extremely important things you should prepare to make sure you’re ready for work. If you run through these three things each time you get hired for a new job, you’ll get into the habit of being prepared and ready to go.
The first thing you should do to ensure you’re ready for work is to review all of the information you already have for the job. When you’re reviewing job details, make sure you have answers to these vital questions:
- Where is the job located? (This is the physical location, as well as where you should go when you arrive on-site).
- What time does the job start and end? (It’s a best practice to aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before the shift starts so you have some buffer time for traffic or getting lost. You should also mentally plan a 10-15 minute buffer with the job ends to give you time to check out and leave).
- How do I check in? (Will you be meeting someone on-site? Is there a room to meet in? Do you need to sign a timesheet?)
- Do I need to bring or prepare anything? (This could mean confirming your shift ahead of time. It could also mean paperwork, materials or even uniform guidelines to help you do your job).
- What can I expect on-site? (Will I get a break? Is there a place to store a lunch or jacket? Is parking free or is there a specific lot I should go to?)
- When will I expect payment? (It can be good to ask this ahead of time so you don’t get tempted to bombard the manager with this question after working.)
- Do I need anything else from the hiring manager before I go?
- In an ideal world, you will have answers to all of these questions just in your job description. If anything’s missing or unclear, make sure you contact your hiring manager ahead of time. Last minute questions might get missed and make it look like you didn’t think to plan ahead.
Now that you know where the job is located, you need to set aside some time to figure out your transportation. You can’t be ready for work if you aren’t sure how you can get there on time.
In general, make sure you figure out:
- What mode of transportation you’re using
- Where you’re leaving for work from
- How much time it will take to arrive on site
If you’re driving, you should also:
- Add in some time for traffic
- Figure out where you can park ahead of time
- Make sure you get gas the day or night before
If you’re taking public transportation, you need to:
- Make sure your bus or train is running at the time you need to use it
- Load your card or have payment ready ahead of time
- Have a back up plan just in case
Having a transportation issue that makes you late is something everyone has experienced. But, with proper planning, it’s something you can try to prepare for and avoid.
This sounds silly, doesn’t it? Of course I prepare myself before the first day on the job!
What I mean by this is doing one last double-check before you even walk out your own front door. I like to do this when my house keys are in-hand so I have the chance to run back and grab something if I forget it. Your last-pass checklist might look like this:
1. Am I wearing the correct (and clean!) clothes for this job?
2. Is my phone fully charged? (Or do I have a charger that I’m bringing with me?)
3. Do I have everything I need for the day? (This includes anything your hiring manager identified that you need to bring. It could be paperwork, your own water bottle, lunch, a hat or sunblock if you’re outdoors, tools, etc.)
This might feel like there’s a lot to go over, but really, it’s just that being thorough can prevent little mistakes or issues later on. Life happens and mistakes can be made. But if a little bit of preparation can help you ensure you start off on the right foot…I’d say, it’s worth it!