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14 Questions You’re Too Scared To Ask When You Start A New Job

Your college friends have moved to different cities and you’re surrounded by mystery-adults.

It soon dawns on you these people are going to be your friends, but which ones?

You scan the office -- not the kid-having married people, not Steven, the other new guy, he smells -- are these my only options?

When does friend making happen? Has it happened already?

My God, did you miss friend selection?

You have so many questions, and they’ll never be explicitly answered unless you ask, which, of course, you won’t.

You’re terrified that everything you’re doing -- and everything you’re neglecting to do -- is going to leave you fired and/or friendless.

Below are the questions every HR department should answer in the orientation packets.

“How long can we chat before we start for the day?”

If I can just get some casual morning banter in, I know I can make friends. At least with Phil, he’s got a friendly face.

I have this great story about how some hoodlums stole the bow from a subway violinist. But it’s a long story. And I need to act it out to do it justice. Phil probably isn’t comfortable playing the hoodlum or the violinist…

I’d better just say, “Good morning” and get to work.

“Is this bowl of candy communal, or…?”

It’s at the front edge of Sandra’s desk, so yeah.


*Pockets a fistful of mints and scurries around the corner.*


“Does eating lunch at my desk make me a go-getter or an ignorant grunt living in the past?”

I’ve read studies (and laws) that say eating at my desk is counterproductive, but I need to secure my position as a non-layoff-able employee.

I’ve only been here a week and I’m still plagued by the fear they’ve hired me as part of an elaborate prank.

Any moment now Ashton Kutcher will burst in, throw a pie in my face and take away my benefits. Unless I prove myself.

Salad on the keyboard it is!

“Is there a polite way to tell Steven how much he smells?”

Alright, Steven. I’ll give you a chance. Oh, here he comes.

Stevay!! Stevie-boy! That campaign wrap up was great. You know what else is great: Listerine.”


"Where are you going?"


“When can I divulge my personal feelings and inadequacies to my coworkers?”

They’ve already hired me -- check that off the list -- but to them I’m a young half-person they’ve never spent time with.

I’m feeling lost, scared and afraid.

Best keep that sh*t to myself.

“Will I be an outcast if I don't go to the first thing I'm invited to?”

By EOD Friday (gotta start using the lingo) the last thing I want to do is stand in the parking lot with my coworkers and donate plasma to the Red Cross blood bus. But I have to prove I’m a team-player. Sh*t.

Even if it's a cover band of a Dave Matthews Band cover band, I have to go. Otherwise, they’ll never ask me to do anything again. And what if it’s fun next time? Like mini golf? (Christ, is that what I think "fun" is now?)

Ah, I can’t go to the grave never having shared the mini-green with my boss.

F*ck, I’m in.

“So, who’s driving us to The Brave Cashews show?”

“Are we allowed to talk?”

Why is no one talking? Are we supposed to talk?

Every day it feels like I’m taking a test. Or, is it a group project where we’re all working on the same thing and no one’s communicating?

What school assignment analogy applies to this?!

“Can I wear my headphones?”

I need to focus, but will they think I’m isolating myself from the herd? What if I tell them I’m listening to Explosions in the Sky? That band is shorthand for progress.

I’ve got it: Every 20 minutes I’ll rip out my buds and yell, “I’m being productive and recognize all of you as people!”

“How often am I allowed to leave my desk?”

What’s the policy on general walking? I need to move, but I don’t have to pee. Is that an acceptable reason: desire not motivated by bodily need?

But what if right when I go for a stroll is the moment my boss walks by and sees an empty chair? I can’t believe I’m empathizing with that "Scooby-Doo" scene.

I guess my legs are secondary now…

“When can I get in the group chat?”

I know the whole team has a group chat. Otherwise, they’re just staring at their computers and laughing at the same time. What do I have to do to get in on that thing? I’ll send them a funny GIF

Good, they’re laughing.

Wait, that’s the “at me” kind of laughing.

Oh, sh*t, they don’t like pickle puns…

“Where’s my grade?”

Are there grades? How do I know if I’m passing? Am I failing? Can you fail work?

“Do I have to hide my cellphone under my desk?”

Someone give me a list of how many rules from class are no longer true.

My mom’s texting me to ask about work, and every response is getting increasingly dire:

Me: Work’s good, but I’m here now.

Mom: Are you making any friends?

Me: Tons. Gotta go.

Mom: Who are you eating lunch with?

Me: You’ve never met them. Cya later.

Mom: Do you like your boss?

Me: Never contact this number again.

“When can we start making fun of each other?”

Mark roasts Laura on a daily basis, and they seem closer for it. I’ll give it a try:

“So the Pope, a Jew and Laura walk into a bar…”

Alright, maybe I need to get to know them better first.

“If I finished my work before 5:00, does that mean I’m f*cking up?”

Everyone here is either stressed, eating or both.

I’ve spent most of the afternoon seeing how long I can spin around in my chair before I barf (new high score: 11 minutes).

I finished all my work at 3:00, so I must’ve missed something. Maybe they want me to go down to the basement and sort office supplies.

They’ve never mentioned a need for sorting or a basement, but what if I’m being tested?

I want to seem proactive, but I’m also useless after 4:30, so sitting in this chair is more of a performance. There’s nothing left for me to do.

But what about that basement, though?

Do offices even have basements?

By the time I’m finished hunting for this goddamned basement, it’ll probably be 5:30.

I just want people to think I’m doing a good job.