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What to expect on the job

Got the job, now what?

What you will need to get paid

  • You’ll need to bring work documents that prove you are eligible to work in the U.S., such as a Social Security card or, if you are an immigrant, a green card. You will need to fill out a W-4 document at the workplace in order to get paid.  
  • If a work uniform is required for the job, you may need to purchase it yourself, or the employer may give you a uniform that you pay a deposit for. You may need to buy work boots or special shoes for some jobs.
  • If you have a checking or savings account, the employer can directly deposit your pay into your account. This makes the money available to you faster. You need to complete a direct deposit form to give your permission. However, your employer should also give you a choice of getting a paper paycheck. Download this personal budget worksheet to help track your earnings and spending.
  • Most employers pay every two weeks for entry level jobs. Plan your spending carefully since you probably won't get a first pay check for a few weeks. Keep track of your hours on a calendar, and make sure they add up to what’s listed on your pay check. Put due dates for bills and pay days on a calendar.
  • You may be able to file for a tax refund the year after you start your job, for taxes that are required to be taken out of your paycheck. Learn about how to file taxes yourself, or find trustworthy sites to get help filing your taxes for free.

Your first week

  • Being on time counts. Especially if it’s your first job, you might lose track of when you work. Set an alarm or leave yourself a note as a reminder. Leave enough time to change into work clothes and get to work.
  • Plan your route to work and test it to see how long it takes. If you work nights, make sure that you have a safe way home. Qualify for a bus or train pass? Check with your local public transportation.
  • Get to know the names of your co-workers and what their jobs are. If you are not introduced to them, look for a time when you can introduce yourself.
  • Employers want you to be successful so most will provide training on how to do the job, and plenty of chances to ask questions. If not, ask to be trained in.
  • If a task or situation is stressful or seems unsafe, observe co-workers or talk to your supervisor about how to handle or change it. Follow safety procedures!

Fitting in at work

  • Be friendly, smile at customers and co-workers.
  • If you get feedback from a supervisor or coworker, don’t take it personally. Stay calm, pay attention to what is said, and try to use their advice to help you do your job better.
  • Be sure you understand your role and follow procedures you learn in training such as hand washing. Learn where materials and equipment are kept and how to use them.
  • Is the workplace relaxed or formal? How do co-workers dress? What topics are discussed? Try to match the workplace style when you first start.
  • If you make a mistake, take responsibility for your part: apologize, clear up what you can, and do your best to improve. You will get better at it!
  • You cannot control others' decisions or work situations that come up. But you can choose a positive outlook and give your best to the job.