Getting a new job is exciting! You want to meet everyone and get working immediately. You’re eager to impress your new boss and show them what you can do. But with training and introductions, the first day can easily become overwhelming. You’re not alone! Keep these tips in mind when starting a new job and stop first day jitters in their tracks.
Give yourself a break
If you’re starting a new role, it’s very likely that you’ve just finished up what might’ve been a very hectic last few days at your former role. People often make the mistake of jumping straight into their new role without giving themselves some time off in between. Spending a few extra days resting and reflecting on the goals you want to set in your new position can be extremely helpful! This will also enable you to establish a clear understanding of what you hope to change or improve about your workflow in your new position.
If you can’t take any extra time off, that’s alright. Focus on what you can do. Sleep more, drink enough water, go for a walk and relax when you can.
Be nice to yourself
First days are always frustrating — you might be learning a new skill or using new equipment you’re not used to. Be kind to yourself! Learning takes time. Remember that no one expects you to know everything from day one, and even the most experienced and talented colleagues at your company were new once, too. Viewing things from a positive perspective will help you steer clear of unnecessary stress and performance anxiety while you’re learning the ropes of your new role.
Familiarise yourself with the environment
First day nerves are common. You’ll probably worry about whether or not you’ll make a good impression on your new team, or place pressure on yourself to remember everything. Don’t! You will most likely spend your first few days meeting coworkers, learning about your company, and setting up your devices. It’s extremely rare for an employer to expect you to dive into work on your first day. Leave your worries at the door and bring your notepad — you’re going to be learning a lot!
Watch and learn
One of the best parts of starting a new job is the opportunity to try something new. Every company has a different way of doing things, which gives you a chance to learn a new process that may be more efficient. Whether you’ve worked in the same position at a different organisation, or a different position at the same organisation, pretend you are brand new. Don’t miss out on details you could learn from your trainers by assuming you already know everything. Be receptive to advice throughout training and absorb as much as you can to set yourself up for success down the road. Take notes! Listen more than you speak and ask clarifying questions so you can effectively retain and apply the information.
Finding your way around isn’t just knowing where the kitchen is or what Slack channel to use. It means figuring out who your points of information are. Learn who handles payroll, health insurance questions, HR, etc. Who is the person to go to when you’re having tech problems? Who orders supplies for the team? Be sure to ask your manager or trainer who your "go-to" person would be. This is the person who can answer any questions you have or direct you to the people who know the answers. Your go-to person can act as an informal mentor while you’re finding stability in your new position.
The easiest way to succeed in a new job is to know what success really means for your role. Meet with your manager and define what that looks like. How will your performance be measured? What are the tasks you’ll be responsible for? What does communication look like with your manager and with your team? You want to come away from your first few days knowing exactly what is expected of you in the future.
Remember, first days are an adjustment, but with a little preparation and an open mind, you’ll be set up for success.
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