Written by Abby Kohut
One of these days, every one of you reading my blog is going to find yourself accepting an offer and then looking forward to your first day at your new job. Don't be surprised if thoughts of your mom dropping you off at your first day of kindergarten suddenly start filling your brain. Starting a new job can be an exciting time for both you and your new manager, but can also cause a few goosebumps.
Everyone who starts a new job, even at the most senior level, experiences the first week jitters. There are many people to meet, new lunch spots to discover and new water cooler gossipers to avoid. Here are some thoughts about ways to control the first week jitters.
- Look for the Welcome wagon
You know who these people are. They may not buy you a plant for your desk or fill your office with balloons, but these people befriend all new employees just because. They may not be your best friend over time, but during the first week, they'll show you around as if they owned the place.
- Dress the Part
On your first day, dressing one step above the crowd may be appropriate as first impressions are important. Two steps up will make you appear to be trying too hard to impress the boss, so avoid wearing a 3-piece suit when everyone else is wearing khakis.
- Find a Lunch Buddy
Asking someone at the same level in the organization (and ideally your same gender) to have lunch on day two or three is a great way to find an ally. Although it was easy in kindergarten, making friends is a bit daunting in the work place as egos and competition are at play. Taking the first step by asking someone to lunch is a great way to network.
- Stop at Dunkin Donuts
Do you know anyone who doesn't appreciate a yummy donut, especially when it's free? I don't either. Bringing a box of Munchkins in to leave on your desk will cause a flurry of people to stop by to "introduce themselves", although you and I will know why they are really there.
- Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions
The saying goes that the only dumb question is the one you don't ask, especially during your first week when you're in training. Take lots and lots of notes about the 3 P's -people, processes, and policies while you are asking questions. No one will expect you to be an expert on your first day. Lay low and don't try to move mountains until you truly understand the big picture.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed through your first week. Your new job might even seem larger than something you can handle. Be kind to yourself and believe that after a few days in your new job you'll be ready to take on any challenges they can throw at you.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
While everyone has first week jitters, it's important to expect them so that you are prepared to handle them. Making a good first impression will help you avoid the need to make a course correction later. Be excited about your new gig but not so excited that you forget the importance of fitting in to your surroundings. With your expertise, you'll be a superstar again in no time!