I still cringe when I think about a particularly naive comment I made on my first day on the job at a national magazine about five years ago. But everyone’s a bit overwhelmed on their first day on the job — even CEOs.
That reassuring reminder comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, which compiled first-day stories from a variety of prominent executives and media figures. Here are just a few (read them all here):
Personal finance guru Suze Orman:
You can only imagine what I wore to work [as a broker at Merrill Lynch] back then: my red-and-white striped Sassoon pants, white cowboy boots and a blue silk shirt – I looked like an American flag! I was the only female broker in the office, so I had no mentor to guide me, and the secretaries all looked straight out of a Mad Men episode.
I left that day with a book called “How to Dress For Success,” given to me by the manager’s secretary, Laurie. I am quite sure I never read it.
David Overton, founder, chairman, president and CEO of the Cheesecake Factory:
On that first day, I got so nervous that we weren’t ready to handle the lunch rush that I didn’t put up a grand opening sign. Instead, I put a tiny sign in the window that said “open at 2,” to avoid lunch.
By 1:30 p.m., there was a line down the block. The pressure was tremendous. We had wall-to-wall orders—I was never so happy as when those first two hours ended.
David Liu, CEO of XO Group Inc. (which is behind The Knot):
I was employee number four of a video yearbook start up. The office was in a borrowed space on 9 West 57th Street. My job was to assemble these big binders, even though I was hired to be a video field producer.