you said you could help a SL newbie out..how so?
A. i look like a dork.
b. i don't know what i'm doing.
that was the most funniest mail I ever got. How did you find me in the first place?
a) You need some essential things: a proper shape that does not let you look like the incredible Hulk, a decent skin, some hair, and a basic assortment of clothes. Do NOT fall into the "tuxedo" trap, and do NOT fall into the Conan the Barbarian trap when it comes to clothing. You also need a so called "Animation Overrider" that stops you waddling like a duck.
Now where to get this: there is a plethora of blogs dedicated to SL fashion, and quite a lot of them to freebies - free samples offered by designers. However that takes some time and patience to monitor those blogs. The easier solution is to take the equivalent of a movie ticket and a beer in US$ and buy a basic contingent of L$ for that (~5000 L$) and simply buy your basic outfit. If you let me know your SL name I will drop you some landmarks.
b) Now that is the much harder question. What made you sign up in the first place? Why did you join SL? What did you expect to find here? I would suggest you explore, find people to meet, learn to build. Attend concerts. Don't fall into the "I need a job" trap. Exchange a small sum of money for L$ and simply see what this world has to offer. You can find employment later - most SL businesses are reluctant to hire new users anyways - or even start your own business. Or see SL as an alternative to a night in town and use the saved money to have fun in the virtual world. The possibilities are endless, and what I do nowadays in SL is definitely not what I came here for.
Hope that helps!