Starting a new job can be as nerve-wracking as your first day at school. You might feel like a fish out of water, or perhaps you’re filled with excitement and can’t wait to get started. Whichever camp you’re in, it’s fine to feel a little nervous, but remember that everyone has got to start somewhere and even your boss was the new guy at one point in time. There are a few things you can do to help prepare for your first day and keep those dreaded nerves at bay.
Firstly, try to go to bed early and have a good night’s sleep. It’s always tricky to sleep when you’re excited or anxious, but if you can relax as much as possible, you’ll feel better for it in the morning. You should also start your day on a good breakfast and make sure you’re dressed appropriately, as well as bringing along any documents that may be required, such as your passport, P45 and national insurance details.
Don’t be late on your first day – that’s an impression you don’t want to set. Instead, it would be wise to show up at least 15 minutes early to show you’re keen to get to grips with your new role. Be friendly, smile and introduce yourself to any new colleagues. You will feel so much more secure if you have a few familiar faces you can talk to, and, if possible, try to remember their names. It’s easier said than done, however, when there’s so much new information to take in.
You will have already done your preparation for your new job, which will help to stand you in good stead. This involves understanding the role, the company and the workplace culture. But, there’s nothing quite like the actual experience of your first day to learn more about what you will be doing – you’ll usually be given a tour of your new workplace within the first few hours of your arrival. There are important details, such as where the toilets are, how often you will be able to take a break, and the location of your nearest fire exit, which you will then be able to find out. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask! This shows willing and the ability to find out information for yourself – it’s a great way to make a good first impression.
If your team invites you to join them for lunch, don’t decline the opportunity to get to know them better on a personal level. A new job can often offer a great social side, and many people enjoy the idea of working alongside friends. Just be careful that you don’t put yourself in a situation in which your professional life could be compromised – you’ll soon get to know who you can trust. Try to avoid the gossips and the office politics as much as possible!
In terms of the work itself, get your head down and avoid making any complaints about procedure in the first few weeks. You have to earn the respect of colleagues and the right to be able to make new suggestions. This will come in time. That said, it is important that you do speak up in the event of any wrongdoing. Keep your line manager informed of anything they need to know, and this will ensure a positive working relationship. After all, they could be the person who decides whether or not you’re entitled to a Christmas bonus! The last thing they want to see is you texting on your phone during the workday, especially in those all-important first few weeks. Also resist the urge to leave on the dot each day. By staying behind to work a few extra minutes here and there, you’ll get off on the right foot, and this type of commitment won’t be overlooked by your boss.
If your first day doesn’t go as you might have expected, don’t worry about it. You can anticipate that you will make a few mistakes at first – it’s all part of the learning curve. Don’t be tempted to hand in your notice after day three! If you persevere, you will soon get the hang of things.
Lastly, take care and don’t be tempted to put too much pressure on yourself. If you can make the most of your free time outside of work, doing things that you love, it will invigorate you, and, as a result, you’ll be so much more productive in the workplace. Too many people suffer from burn-out these days, so don’t allow yourself to be one of them. By achieving a healthy life/work balance and leaving your work at the front door when you get home, you’ll be more inclined to find pleasure in the day job.