You read the offer email for the 25th time. Then you check the calendar. Yes, it’s really happening. You begin your new job today. TODAY!
Starting a job can be nerve-racking, whether you’re mid-career, taking your first step on the career ladder after finishing your studies, or an old hand trying something new.
Will I like the role? Do I like the people? What if they don’t like me? Will I be able to do the job? These, and many other questions, will likely be racing through your mind. And that’s even before you get to, “What should I wear?” or “How do I get through security?”
Stepping Into a New Role
The transformation does not have to be too stressful, however. Mind Tools has an excellent resource to help you to step seamlessly into a new role with confidence. We also asked our followers and the Mind Tools team what they thought about “starting a new job or your first job,” and to share their experiences. Here are some of their top tips:
Our Facebook friend Mauricio Márquez just about covers all the bases in his advice for starting a new job. “Smile, listen and watch quietly,” he says. “Understand how things work there. Don’t show yourself and don’t try to make everything your way.
“Make good relationships with the people that can help you, and appreciate that. Don’t be afraid to ask anything. Beginning a job is more about socio-emotional skills than professional skills. Learn, never stop learning.”
Good stuff from Mauricio.
MT account manager Sam Parsons has some wise words that go way beyond his years: “If you’re feeling nervous, remember that literally everyone in the building has been in the same position before!” I couldn’t agree more, and I speak as someone who has had at least 12 roles in a working life spanning 30-odd years!
Gez Page, of the MT development team, steps confidently into the philosophical sphere with, “The strongest work relationships are built over time, so don’t worry if you don’t forge friendships straight away.”
Another of our Facebook followers, Kathy Shipka, takes a straight-shooting professional approach. “Always remember that it is a work place, not a social club. Always be friendly and do your work!” she says.
But, undoubtedly, one of the most daunting aspects of being a new starter is finding that “friendly face.” My colleague Jaye O’Farrell-Stevens has some quality advice in this area. “It’s a good idea to introduce yourself, instead of waiting for your new colleagues to make the first move. This will help you to look confident and approachable,” he says.
Keith Jackson, a senior member of the Mind Tools editorial team, also focuses on the importance of assertiveness. “Be prepared to ask,” he says. “It’s your first day, no one will expect you to remember everything or to understand all the processes straight off the bat. It’s true that, no matter how trivial or basic, there’s no such thing as a stupid question.”
Understand the Dynamics of the New Job
Digital marketing assistant Nick Adams believes in letting things unfold. And he’s right, because jumping in and trying to change the world on your first day is a Bad Idea! “Take time to listen and observe, to understand the dynamics of the office, as every place has its own personality. And it is important to figure this out before diving in,” he says.
Our resident data expert Peter Longton keeps it short and sweet with, “My main tip would be to quickly find common ground and make friends.”
Loran Douglas, of the Mind Tools human resources team, has our shortest tip. But I can’t help thinking that it might be one of the most important pieces of advice for any new starter. “Don’t be late. Early is better!”
Being early is something I’ve never had a problem with. Being hungry, however, is. And that brings me to my tip for starting a new job. Have a good breakfast!
If you’d like to add your tips to the ones above, please write them in the Comments section, below.