Starting a new job

Assured Angel By Assured Angel, 12th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Careers

First day nerves can be crippling especially when it comes to starting a new job. So here are some tips to help you get through - and hopefully fly through - your first day.

Coping with your first day at work: Avoiding Stress and dealing with issues

You filled out the application form. You flew through the interview. You jumped for joy and celebrated with a few drinks when they told you you had landed your dream job. The offer letter has been signed and returned and terms and conditions have been agreed. This new adventure is embraced by many with gut-bursting excitement and infectious enthusiasm. However, there are some for whom starting a new job means sleepless nights, dry mouths and pounding hearts. This is normal but there are many reasons why the most rational, intelligent and in-control person is sometimes reduced to a quivering mess. Fear of failure is one of the main factors here. This is especially true of those who have been out of work for a considerable amount of time and are desperate to make a good impression. If this applies to you, then firstly congratulations on not giving up and secondly, do not worry. There are some steps that can be taken to minimise ‘first day paralysis’ (my term) and help you take the first steps in your workplace with confidence.

Firstly, do some research. Find out about the company you will be working for. This is something you should do when you are invited for interview. However, it should not end there. Research your role and what will be expected of you. Job descriptions do change but it does not hurt to know the basics of your job, what your hours are, the dress code and so on. Don’t forget to ask for the name of the contact person that you need to speak to when you arrive. They will be impressed with your attention to detail.

Be prepared. I am a bit of a nut when it comes to preparation. I write lists. I make the calls I need to. I answer all my emails. I even start organising my wardrobe. Yes I am slightly weird like that but I don’t care. It means that there is one less thing to worry about in the morning. So whatever you need to do in terms of preparation whether it is ironing your suit, making your packed lunch, or putting everything in your bag/briefcase that needs to be there, do it. It may be a hassle at the time, but you will be grateful for it later.

Get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast. Having just started a new job, I completely understand why these are necessary. The average person needs between 6-9 hours sleep. Find out how much you need and do it. Have a set bedtime routine and make sure your room is comfortable. Disrupted sleep means that you are tired and less likely to function at your very best. The same goes for your breakfast. This is something that I need to work on. Despite my best intentions, I occasionally leave the house with nothing more than a Vitamin C tablet and a banana for breakfast. This is not ideal at all and I advise against it (although a banana is better than nothing). Cereal, porridge and fruit, toast and yogurt, bagels and cream cheese - whatever works for you. It should fill you till lunch time. There is nothing more disconcerting (and embarrassing) than a rumbling stomach and there is nothing remotely funny about low blood sugar levels especially when they lead to blackouts.

If they have arranged a pre-employment meeting, go to it no matter how informal it is. This will not only help you to meet and talk to your future colleagues, it will leave a favourable impression on your boss. Breaking the ice will help to calm your nerves and help to build relationships that will be cultivated the night before.

A ‘dummy run’ to your work-place to figure out the best route is advisable. Check bus and train timetables, fill your car with petrol and make sure you have your travel-cards and passes up to date. Leave in plenty of time. It is better to arrive thirty minutes early, than thirty minutes late.

If you have some time to spare when you arrive, go to the bathroom and freshen up. This is a good idea especially when you have been rushing! Nerves and stress can have an unbalancing effect on your bodily functions so use this opportunity to ‘restabilise.’ This could mean anything from doing breathing exercises to spritzing on your favourite scent. Use it well. It is the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

Ask questions, no matter how silly you think they are. Knowledge is power, don’t forget that.

When you get to your desk/workspace, take a few moments to familiarise yourself with it. Then over the next few days and weeks, personalise it taking care not to put up anything offensive, derogatory or racist/sexist.

Finally, smile. It is instantly relaxing.

First days and first steps are not always easy but they have to be negotiated. When you get through them, you will feel better. Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking but it does not have to be. Following some of these simple steps will set you well on your way to workplace smiles rather than panic.

Take care people and I wish you all the best.

© July 2010


Career, Employee, Employer, First Day, New Job, Work

Meet the author

author avatar Assured Angel
Talented and experienced freelance writer/ businesswoman with a legal background whose engaging, confident but professional attitude is reflected in her writing.
I have also written extensively (over 100 articles) and continue to do soon many subj...(more)

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author avatar smoothoperator
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Very elaborate. Good for the novice who generally needs this.

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