Starting a new job can be one of the scariest and stress-producing experiences of both your professional and personal life. You are going to feel unsure, out of place, and overwhelmed, but it is important to remember that these feelings are temporary and will pass. As someone who has held several different positions in her professional career, and has moved several times because of it, here are some of my tips to help ease you through this transition.
- Do your research before starting. I would hope you had done some research BEFORE accepting the position, but Google “what is it like to work at XXXXX” and see what other employees, both past and present, report. Go on the company website and look for things such as dress code and corporate philosophy. These things may seem minor but can be very insightful. For example, if your soon-to-be employer has a strict dress code, they are probably strict on a lot of their other policies and have set the bar high for their employees. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something to be mindful of going into your role.
- Arrive early (if you can). Getting to work early shows you are putting effort into your position. Arriving 10 minutes early to clock in, get coffee, and get settled prepares you to hit the ground running the minute you open your emails. It also allows you time to greet your coworkers and offer a friendly “Good Morning!”
- Piggy-backing off #2 – say hello to your coworkers! You don’t have to stop and ask them how their Aunt Susie is doing every time you see them, but smiling and saying “hello” or “good morning” lets your coworkers know you are approachable.
- Meet with your boss/mentor regularly and ask for a training or transitional plan for the first 30-60-90 days. Ask what your learning priorities are and what is expected of you so you can properly set priorities and navigate your milestones. Also, be sure to ask what the protocol is for things such as requesting time off, working from home, flex time, etc. Take advantage of what is available but make sure you are doing so in the proper way.
- ASK FOR HELP! Speak up when you are unsure of what you are supposed to do or if you don’t understand something. You are not going to be expected to know all the nuances of your job or the company lingo in your first few weeks. But make sure you are advocating for yourself. And be sure to own up to your mistakes because, let’s face it, you are going to make them. You colleagues will have more respect for you when you take responsibility for your actions versus ignoring them or blaming them on someone else. Take advantage of being the newbie – a time when slip ups are more forgivable.
I cannot reiterate enough that the most important thing to remember is that the feelings experienced in the few first weeks in your new role are temporary. Soon you will lose the title of “new person” and will solidify yourself as just another member of the organization.