Got a new job? Here’s how to tackle your first-day fears.
Congratulations on taking the next step in your career! You’ll probably learn and grow quite a bit throughout the course of this role. The first hurdle you’ll need to overcome? Getting through day one! Read on for 10 tips to help ease your anxiety and prepare you for a great start to your new job.
1. Start your new sleep schedule ahead of time.
Does your new job require you to wake up earlier than normal? If so, use the week (or at least a few days) prior to your start date to adjust to your new schedule. Training your body to adopt a sleep schedule ahead of time will ensure that by the time you start your new role, you’ll already be used to getting up early — and you won’t be exhausted on your first day of work.
2. Ask about the company’s dress code before your start date.
Every company has a different dress code. You may be required to wear professional business attire, business casual attire, or casual attire; your company might provide you with a uniform; or you could be required to purchase your own uniform. Make sure you call or email your contact at your place of work to find out what type of clothing is appropriate so you can prepare an outfit for your first day on the job. For more information about dressing professionally, check out this blog post.
3. Listen to something you love during your commute.
Whether it’s an hour-long drive or a ten-minute bike ride, take advantage of the time you spend commuting on your first day to listen to something you enjoy. Maybe you’ll take a few deep breaths while listening to peaceful music, get excited by listening to something more energizing, or distract yourself from anxious thoughts by turning on a podcast. Whatever you choose, don’t miss this opportunity to get yourself in the right mindset to start your day.
4. Bring the appropriate paperwork.
You’ll likely spend part of your first day filling out paperwork. Not all companies will require your employment documents on day one, but they’ll probably need them within the first week, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Check out this handy website to find out which documents you’ll need to provide your employer as proof of your eligibility to work.
5. Pack a lunch.
Lunch breaks look a little different depending on where your company is located and how long your lunch break is — and you likely won’t know all the details about your lunch break until you’ve started working. Maybe your coworkers will treat you to lunch on your first day, or maybe you live close to work and plan on going home for lunch. Either way, it’s best to be safe and pack your lunch on day one to ensure you have enough time to eat (and enough energy to continue your day).
6. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Can’t find the bathroom? Have a question about the company? Not exactly sure how to proceed with your first project? Don’t hesitate to ask questions — even if you’ve got a lot of them. The best way to figure things out and get settled into your new role is to ask someone who knows. Plus, doing so will be much more efficient than you spending time trying to figure it out yourself.
7. Make good use of your time.
Some companies will fill every minute of your first day with things to do, while others will ease you in slowly. If you find yourself with free time, don’t just sit at your desk and scroll through social media. Instead, take advantage of any extra time you have. Familiarize yourself with the office, chat with your new coworkers, or ask your manager if there are any projects you can help with. Keeping busy will show your new team that you’re dedicated to your role and excited to contribute.
8. Avoid imposter syndrome.
Your first day on the job may be overwhelming. You’ll likely meet a lot of people and learn a lot of new information. It will take some time to learn everything you need to be successful in your role, but if you start feeling like you’re in over your head, remember that you were hired for a reason. Your application was vetted, you went through an interview process, and you were selected from a pool of candidates. You deserve to be there. More on imposter syndrome — and how to overcome it — here.
9. Remember: the first day doesn’t dictate the rest of your career.
Think back to the last time you started a new job. Do you remember how you felt on your first day? Do you remember how you felt weeks, months, or even years into that position? Chances are, your experiences on your first and last days at that job were vastly different. Over time, you got to know your coworkers, became more comfortable, and developed competency in your role. If you end up feeling anxious or inadequate on day one of your new job, remember that you’ll adjust. Just give it time.
10. Prepare a post-work celebration.
No matter how your first day at work turns out — be ready to celebrate afterward! Whether it’s treating yourself to dinner from your favorite restaurant or watching a movie with your family, plan to do something that will help you relax and get ready for day two.
Bonus: Have a fun fact ready to share.
Here’s one last tip to save yourself a little first-day stress. Many of us have been in company meetings or trainings where we’re asked to share a fun fact about ourselves — and if you have multiple trainings led by different people, it’s even possible that you could end up having to share two or three facts. Rather than scrambling to think of something interesting on the spot, have a few facts prepared so you’re ready when it’s your turn to share.
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