The first day of a new job is kind of like the first day of school. Am I going to make a good impression? Am I going to fit in? Will I do a good job? First day jitters are common. There’s a lot to learn and it can be pretty overwhelming, but don’t worry, there are a lot of ways to overcome those first-day nerves and make a smooth transition to new your new job.
After spending the first 12 years of my professional career with the same company, I started a new a new job in February. Changing professions is pretty intimidating. As soon as I secured an interview, I spent hours studying the company and its products. Before starting the new position, I continued reviewing the company’s website and learning all I could, but even that wasn’t enough to prepare sufficiently for everything the new company does. I love my new job and my new employer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t nerves starting over — or that there wasn’t a lot to learn.
Licensed mental health therapist Erin M. Moss agrees. “Change is scary for a lot of people. Even good change can be intimidating. A lot of times when people start new jobs, they are hard on themselves that first month because they feel that they should already know everything. How is that possible? You have to allow yourself that time to learn. Everybody goes through that learning period, whether you’re working for yourself or working for a company.”
Lauren Lewis is a partner at StaffBuffalo, a local staffing and recruiting firm that helps job seekers in every stage of the process of looking for and starting a new job. “Everyone handles change differently. Stay positive through the transition and take the time to learn and transition. Take notes about your new job duties, the company, and who is on your team and in the organization. This will help you stay organized and not get overwhelmed as you transition.”
Learn by asking questions. Ask questions about expectations, your roles and responsibilities, the company and your coworkers.
“Be engaged! Be interested, not interesting!”
“Make sure that you are taking every opportunity you can to learn, pitch in and start showing the company why they hired you,” Lewis suggests.
“I would get involved with the workplace culture, the employees and on the job. It is very important to have healthy relationships with the people you work with. We spend a lot of time at work. Give the people in the new work environment a chance to know you,” Moss adds.
It also can be helpful to find someone within the company who can serve as a mentor to help navigate your new workplace.
I sometimes get a little over excited for a new role or project, so I’ve been working on stepping back to observe and listen before making decisions. I have a lot of ideas, which is hopefully why I was hired, but I think it’s really important to be humble, figure out my role, the company, its culture, and how I fit in before jumping into changing things.
Every company has a different way of training new employees. If there isn’t a formal 30-, 60-, 90-day plan, check out this one to help provide some guidance.
“I would encourage people to be as flexible as they can. I would lead with an optimistic foot and really be open to taking in this new environment,” Moss says.
As you learn your new role, “Establish a new routine that works for you and your new job. This will help you be efficient, effective and adapt to your new normal. I always find that having a routine is helpful to managing stress,” Lewis adds.
Don’t over schedule yourself outside of work!
“It is always very tiring when you are starting a new position, so take time for yourself. Get good sleep. Find something that works for you to decompress. Take care of yourself and show yourself some self-love!” Lewis says.
If it feels like it’s taking longer than you’d like to settle in, check in with your boss and ask for their feedback. I regularly talk to my supervisor to ask if I’m on track and fulfilling expectations. And remember: be patient. There’s no set timeline for when you should start to feel settled or confident in your new role.