New Job in Retail, Fast food or Warehousing Checklist

April 30, 2020 Know Your Rights Our Resources

It’s exciting (and a little bit nerve-racking) to start a new job. You have the chance to make a great first impression, have exciting new opportunities and responsibilities to help you grow. You’ll have new colleagues who could turn into lifelong friends.

But with any new job, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible, to set yourself up for success.

The night before

  1. Lay out your outfit: You may not yet have your new uniform  but that is okay! Just make sure you wear something neat and professional. If you’re not sure what to wear – in retail and fast food, a clean and ironed white shirt and black trousers are usually acceptable. In a warehouse, a hi-vis polo is usually a safe bet.
  2. Set your alarm and plan your commute: Double check the time you need to arrive; plan to arrive about ten minutes early (just in-case something happens, you don’t want to be late on your first day). Double check your commute and find out how long it will take to get there, keeping traffic in mind.
  3. Collect all your documents: Hopefully, HR has given you a list of the documents you’ll need to bring in. Usually, you’ll need photo ID – like your licence or 18+ card, your birth certificate, your bank details and your TFN. You’ll also need the details of your emergency contacts.

Your first day

  1. Ask Questions: Usually, you will have someone assigned to you to ‘induct’ you and show you around. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly. The person helping you won’t mind, but the same question weeks later may be annoying.
  2. Make some small talk: Your first day can be daunting  especially if you’re a bit shy. Introduce yourself to everyone you meet and try to remember their name so you can greet them tomorrow. Prepare some topics of discussion like the TV show you’re currently watching or what you did over the weekend.
  3. Join your union: You never know what is going to happen at work, and it helps to have support. Whether you’re unsure if you’re getting paid correctly, or if you are told you don’t receive a break when you think you should – your union can clear things up for you. If things go really bad, for example, if you injure yourself at work, the union’s industrial officers can ensure you get everything you’re entitled to. The union for workers in retail, fast food and warehousing in Australia is the SDA and you can join online at

After your first day

  1. Take notes: If you didn’t do it at the time, write down any crucial info you need to remember. If you’re bad with names, write down everyone you remember and their job so you can look over it again tomorrow.
  2. Write down one reason you took the job: It is easy to feel overwhelmed after your first day  especially if everything wasn’t as you expected or if there is a steep learning curve ahead. Remember the reasons you started this job to calm you down.
  3. Relax: Take some time out and try to forget about work. The more you stress, the longer it will take to fit in and get accustomed to your new job.