How to Start Your New Job on the Right Note
Starting a new job typically comes with a mixed bag of feelings—everything from excitement to jitters. If you're feeling the latter, you're not alone. Statistics suggest 80 percent of professionals are nervous before starting a job.
Want to bring down your stress level? Take some proactive steps to start your new job on the right note. Naturally, begin with the routine steps of giving your commute a "test run" ahead of time so you know what to expect, laying out your outfit the night before, setting an earlier alarm, and getting a good night's sleep. Then take other measures to help your new career journey begin on the right track.
Coming prepared is a good place to start. While you've probably done a lot of the necessary paperwork during the onboarding process, chances are there will be loose ends to tie up. Before your first day, be sure to have all of your HR documents in order, including forms, photo ID, and any other requested items. Once you've got that completed, start thinking ahead.
- Thoroughly study your job description and duties to give yourself a good foundation to build on while learning your new position on your first day.
- Pack a notebook and pen so you can jot down notes or questions you have as you begin to learn your responsibilities.
- Think about some good conversational topics to help you get better acquainted with your new colleagues (stay away from controversial issues!)
- Learn what bring your own device (BYOD) policies your new employer will require you to follow and which technologies you'll need to know how to use.
Additionally, to make a dynamite first impression, do everything you can to understand as much as humanly possible about your employer's policies, protocols, and processes by the end of the first week.
Observe your surroundings
As the new kid on the block, make an effort to carefully observe your surroundings. Don't assume everything will align with what you've learned from previous places of employment because you're starting with a fresh slate. It's easier to understand what makes an organization tick if you observe the organizational culture, looking beyond your own job, to get a handle on how all the operational pieces fit together.
- Listen to what people are talking about.
- Watch how they are managing their day to day tasks.
- Learn all you can about the organization and how it operates.
Understanding the dynamics of your new workplace will help you to better fit in and also do your job well. Even if you've been brought in to help revamp or create new processes, you'll still need to observe so you can better implement change.
Ask relevant questions and reach out
Don't assume you'll glean everything you need to know after watching a day or two, because chances are, there’s plenty to learn. In your initial days and weeks, be sure to ask plenty of relevant questions. This way, you'll get the information you need, but you'll also give a better impression by showing an avid interest in different aspects of the organization.
It's perfectly OK to ask your colleagues or your boss for help if you're unsure of something, and/or solicit feedback about your performance, especially in your early weeks. By reaching out this way, you'll remove the guesswork in how you're doing, and you can apply any suggestions, advice, or changes they offer. Feedback is a great tool to help you know what you might not have mastered and also lets you know what you've been doing right. Your new bosses and colleagues are likely to be happy to share information with you.
Being nervous about a new job is a natural feeling. Being prepared helps you get started on the right foot, gets you acclimated, and lowers any stress levels. Remember to smile. And always be yourself because it's never a good idea to pretend to be something you're not.
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