There are few happier feelings than the moment you finally get the phone call or acceptance letter. You got the job you’ve been agonizing over for weeks and soon you’ll be taking home a new paycheck. Yet, on the night before your first day, or maybe after the first round of job training, you might begin to have second thoughts.
Is this really the road to new opportunities? You might even wonder how long you’ll last and second-guess yourself at every turn. It’s not uncommon to have trouble adjusting to a new job, particularly when it’s a new career — a life-changing event that weighs in at 29 points on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.
Fortunately, help is on the way — and could be as easy as figuring out where to get your coffee each day. If you’ve got new job jitters — these tips can help.
1. SET UP YOUR DESK
This sounds obvious — but it’s easy to overlook. You don’t necessarily have to re-furnish your office, nor is this really encouraged, but taking steps as simple as setting up your computer passwords, your new company email signature, and recording your new office voicemail can go a long way to getting you settled. You’ll feel better every time you receive or send a new message. The new workplace will take some time to get accustomed to, but at least your lines of communication are clear. You will also have a safe space to go to, regardless of how confusing the rest of the floor may be to navigate (I still have yet to find the fastest way to the water fountain and back).
2. GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE
Finding out where to get your morning coffee is yet another simple but crucial task — whether it’s a trip to the break room or a trip to the local coffee shop downtown. While you’re at it, find out the best places nearby to grab lunch or order out. Better yet, ask a colleague to come along. As stressful and demanding as your new job can be, new friends can make the transition much easier. You’re the new employee, so you’ll probably be the topic of conversation anyway, as your co-workers begin to meet you one by one. Not only will grabbing lunch with them help to get to know them a little better, it will also familiarize you with working in a new location — the best places to eat and socialize after work.
3. GET UP EARLY
Chances are, you had to do this the day of your interview — and had all that time to get into the new routine. It doesn’t sound like much, but remember that feeling at your last job when you were stuck in traffic at rush hour, or overslept and missed your train? Chances are, the rest of the day didn’t go much better. Rather, set a new goal of getting to work 10 minutes early. Not only do supervisors tend to notice who arrives the earliest, but you will find yourself more energetic and focused throughout the day. A 2008 Harvard study also found that early risers tend to be more proactive on the whole — anticipating potential problems and coming up with ways to solve them; a trait any employer would be proud of.
4. BE PROACTIVE
In the first few weeks at any new job, problems will arise — finding everything won’t always be easy and you will make mistakes. Rather than dwell on it, catch yourself when you find yourself panicking. Instead of saying “What can go wrong?” think “Where’s the problem and how do I fix it?” Focusing on a project in the immediate present means less room for all of that negative thinking. Stay calm under pressure. In fact, you could even start your day with a little motivational talk — they hired you for a good reason, didn’t they?
As you begin your new job, remember that it’s OK to not always have the answers or know what to do, and you don’t have to be afraid to ask for help either. It’s also all right to have a little anxiety to help you get through the day. Give the job a fair shot — at least six months to a year — and you’ll get better with time.