Starting a new job can be scary
Regardless of who you are or where you’re at in your career, the process of starting a new job can be a scary thing to go through. After all, you’ll not know anyone to begin with. You’ll have no idea how you’ll fit into the team dynamic, and you’ll probably feel completely out of your comfort zone. It’s this fear of the unknown which makes it easy to convince yourself it’s all going to be terrible.
I’m here to tell you it won’t be. While nobody likes to be left in the lurch, starting a new job should be more exciting than it is terrifying. It’s a chance to show your new employer what you can do while building on your skillset to shape the career you want to have. Even being offered the job in the first place should give you the confidence that you’ll be a good fit for the team – your employers are the ones who chose you, after all.
Nonetheless, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to starting a new job. We discuss each one of these below, helping you settle your nerves before you get going.
Do: Go in thinking it’ll be great
The most important thing you can do when starting a new job is to go in with the right attitude. Thinking it’s going to all go wrong is an incredibly negative way of thinking, and will come off that way to your colleagues.
For all you know, your new employer could have a special gift waiting for you, or a specially-tailored induction plan to welcome you to the team. Employers know what it’s like to start a new job, so they’ll want you to be as comfortable as possible straight away. Don’t go into it expecting the worst. Start your new job with your head held high and an attitude that clearly shows you’re happy to be there.
Don’t: Expect to know everything straight away
Nobody is expecting you to know everything right off the bat, so don’t put pressure on yourself by expecting to excel at everything straight away. Each of your new colleagues will have gone through the same situation as you and will be able to sympathise with how scary the process can be.
The most important thing for you to do is to maintain a good level of confidence, avoid coming across as arrogant, and show a keen willingness to learn. It’s inevitable you’ll make a mistake or two in the beginning stages, so don’t worry if you do – your employer will understand. In fact, they may actually be impressed that you took accountability for your wrongdoings and understood where you went wrong.
Do: Be polite
It may seem obvious but the more well-behaved you are, the better it’ll come across. As the old saying goes, ‘manners cost nothing’, so be polite to your colleagues and peers. It’ll make it all that more likely they’ll reciprocate the same feelings back to you.
As a general rule, first impressions count for a lot, so make sure you come into your new job with a positive attitude. Likewise, make sure you get to work on time each day, work hard, avoid desktop distractions (yes, that includes your phone), and make an effort to be friendly with your new colleagues. The quicker you get to know them, the sooner you’ll start feeling more comfortable.
It can be all too easy to over-promise when you’re new, attempting to impress your new boss as quickly as you can. However, even though your attention may be good, putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, by promising to deliver a task you have no idea how to do, is generally a pretty bad idea.
If you’ve just come into a leadership position, for example, don’t go sucking up to your peers straight away. Learn and observe on the job, get to know the people you’re working with, and take the time to listen to their opinions. The more obvious you make it that you’re trying to help, the more welcoming they’ll be to you.
Do: Write things down
There’s a lot of new information to take in when starting a new job so write it down. Whether it’s passwords and login details for a particular software, or just a quiet note or two about how the company functions, being able to look back and quickly remind yourself will help no end. Not only will it demonstrate your interest, but it’ll also mean you won’t need to pester colleagues when you forget something you’ve already been told.
It’s also important to do this from a health point of view. Studies have shown that writing things down helps to alleviate stress and anxiety, which you’ll likely be feeling during your first day of work.
There’s no denying it – starting a new job is one of the most overwhelming, life-affirming processes you can go through. However, it doesn’t have to be as nerve-wracking as you think it’s going to be. You should embrace the fresh start and the fact that your new employer has seen something in you that makes them think you’re going to be great.
Remember that starting a new job is something literally everyone goes through and, perhaps most importantly, remember you won’t be the newbie forever.
Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications and specialises in business and career development.