The excitement and anxiety of starting a new job can muddle your thinking about what it takes to start strong. If you think you have to be perfect and master everything from the start, your anxiety can skyrocket before your first day even arrives. Focusing on a few essential targets will help you make the best first impression.
Before Day One
Setting yourself up to start well begins before the first day. Before you start, your new employer may ask you to take a drug test or provide some documentation to Human Resources, such as a pre-employment driving record. Once you have completed any preparatory tasks the company requires, you may want to do a “practice run” of your commute, especially if your interview was at a different time than your daily work hours. Find out what morning rush hour looks like on the way to your new workplace, so you aren’t late for your first day.
First Day and Week
For your first week, realism plus a limited focus works better than a generic assumption that you have to “prove yourself” immediately. Most likely, your main first day task will be completing a lot of Human Resources forms. With your HR obligations done, your first week should then focus on familiarizing yourself with the place you work and the other people who work there. Getting your bearings in your new work location seems really basic, but don’t underestimate how much it can help you relax. Next, focus your attention on getting to know your coworkers. This may worry you if you have trouble with names, but there are many effective strategies for remembering names that can help your master your second Week One objective. Now you can end your first week feeling confident.
Your Probationary Period
Many jobs begin with a probationary period of at least 30 days. During this time, you do your best to show your employer that hiring you was a good decision. Equally important, listen to your instincts about whether joining this organization was a good decision for you. Seeking frequent feedback and doing a weekly self-assessment of how you’re handling the main job duties will focus your energy on what matters. Finally, pay attention to how you feel about your boss, coworkers and the work you do. Feeling out of step initially is normal, but don’t ignore multiple red flags about your ”fit” with this job.
When you prioritize defining the basics and excelling at them, you can make the first days of your new job more exciting than stressful. Starting strong provides the opportunity to build trust and respect that will serve you for as long as you stay with the company.