6 Steps to Take When You Start a New Job


You landed a great gig—congrats! No doubt you’re excited, and you’re ready to march in and make your mark. Or, perhaps, you’re feeling a little apprehensive about adjusting to a new office environment, new coworkers, and new office politics. No matter how you’re feeling as you fill out that first-day paperwork and settle in to a new desk, follow these simple steps for a seamless transition. 


This person doesn’t have to be your office bestie in the long run, but right at the start it helps to have a coworker who can walk you over to the supply closet or show you how to reserve a conference room. Ideally, this new acquaintance has been with the company a while and has a good rapport with the boss. Make a note of any questions you have about culture, expectations, and procedure (even "which shelves in the fridge are communal?"). And, rather than peppering your new friend with a question every hour, ask to take him or her out for coffee one afternoon and inquire. 

2. TALK.

Seriously, it’s that easy. Take every opportunity to strike up a conversation with anyone you’ve not yet met—and even folks you have. Ask about their roles and how their positions fit into the organization as a whole. This doesn’t just apply to higher-ups. Get to know peers, administrative assistants (you want them on your side), even the UPS delivery guy you run into on the elevator. Just talk.

Keep it professional, of course, but as you get to know fellow staffers, the conversation will shift to hobbies, families, and more. Having friends in the office is critical to your happiness and success, so start planting those seeds early and often. And remember that each of these people, just like you, will one day move on to another job, meaning your professional network will expand with zero effort on your part. (Great news for those who hate networking.) 


In meetings, on conference calls, even in one-on-ones with your boss, never shy away from a question. For now, it’s A-OK to ask why the company does things a particular way, or what that acronym you’ve never heard of stands for. In a few weeks time, when people have been using that jargon on the regular, it’s too late.


Hate how your computer at your last job was blanketed in neon Post-Its? Or how you occasionally lost emails in an overflowing inbox? New job, new you! Work on developing new systems now so you don’t fall into the same rut. Designate a notebook (paper or digital) for note taking and to-do lists, or commit to "inbox zero" and don’t leave each evening until it’s empty. And be realistic: It takes an average of 66 days to truly develop a new habit


It might seem counterintuitive, but now is actually the perfect time to reconnect with officemates from jobs in your past: You’ve got great news, and you aren’t asking for any favors. If a little time has passed since you left your most recent job, say hi to those you’d like to keep in touch with and be sure you’re connected on LinkedIn. Then look back even further, to jobs and internships you held before your most recent one. Shoot former colleagues and bosses a quick note to see how they’re doing, update them on your new position, and reinforce that you’d like to keep in touch. 


It can take time—anywhere from a few weeks to a few months—to truly settle in and learn the ropes, especially if you’re pivoting into a different field or position. If you find yourself sitting at your desk thinking you’ve made a huge mistake, ride it out. Don’t make any impulsive decisions until you’ve really gotten the lay of the land.

All images courtesy of iStock

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.

You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

7 Online Tech Course Programs That Will Help You Build New Career Skills

dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus
dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It's always a good time to build new career skills, and with these tech-related courses, you can learn anything from the basics of Python to the ins and outs of G Suite. These courses will boost your knowledge of the digital world and help you put some valuable new bullet points on your resume. Many of these courses allow you to read through the materials for free, but if you want to take advantage of graded coursework and earn a certificate of completion to include on your LinkedIn profile or resume at the end, there will be a fee of anywhere from $39 to $49.

1. UI/UX Design Specialization

In this four-class specialization on UI/UX design, you’ll discover how to design digital experiences that users can navigate with ease. Over about four months, you’ll learn the basics of visual communication and you’ll be able to practice gathering user feedback to build intuitive, attractive websites and interfaces.

Sign up on Coursera to take all four courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

2. Python for Everybody

Python is quickly gaining ground as one of the most in-demand programming languages for employers. Plus, its fans say it’s highly readable and approachable for new programmers just starting to learn a coding language. If you want to understand the basics of Python, from 101 principles to more advanced database design, these courses will get you started.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

3. Data Science Professional Certificate

Data science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this nine-course professional certificate program, you’ll start by learning basic data science methodology before moving into how to use Python and SQL to analyze and visualize data to forecast future trends. IBM estimates that you’ll complete the entire certificate in about 10 months if you commit four hours per week, but the timing is flexible enough to suit any schedule.

Sign up on Coursera to take all nine courses in this specialization for $39 a month.

4. Computer Architecture

This course, taught by an electrical engineering professor at Princeton, teaches students how to design computer hardware that supports powerful software. But be forewarned: This is an advanced class intended for students with extensive knowledge in computer science. If you’re looking for a beginner-level course, this class—also from Princeton—may be a better fit.

Sign up on Coursera for free.

5. AI for Everyone

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence will drive you out of the workforce, this course will help. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the basics of what is and isn’t possible through AI—and you may even gain some ideas for how to use AI to augment your own career.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

6. G Suite Administration Specialization

Become a Google Cloud expert with this series of courses put together by Google itself. Over about two months, you’ll learn management tactics and security guidelines for using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Calendar. This specialization prepares participants to become G Suite administrators at their respective companies and organizations.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

7. Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is near the top of the list of skills employers are looking for, according to LinkedIn. In this introductory course, you’ll gain a basic understanding of cloud-based networks and get some practice working with IBM Cloud.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.