Whether an irrepressible excitement is coursing through your veins like an electric current or you’re feeling a bit queasy, starting a new career can often breed a slew of conflicting emotions. Feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive about whether or not you’ll fit in with your coworkers, if you’ll receive proper training, and what your workflow will be like, is a normal part of transitioning into any new role. While you’re bound to encounter a few speed bumps as your work to become acclimated with the new systems and procedures, don’t let fear overshadow your opportunity to shine. Here are some pointers for making a smooth transition and getting through your first week on the job with ease.
Embrace the Culture
Conjure up your inner socializer and start introducing yourself to your teammates and coworkers. For introverts or individuals who cringe at the mere thought of being in the spotlight, meeting new people can be intimidating and anxiety-inducing. Before your first day, plan ahead for making introductions – whether it be one-on-one or in a meeting – and practice some conversation starters, like your personal hobbies, or work history. Settling into your new role means being more than just an employee; it means becoming a welcomed member of the team. If there are any corporate-sponsored events, like a happy hour, fitness class, or volunteer opportunity, don’t hold yourself back from getting involved!
Evaluate Your Functionality
Although your manager will make sure you are well-acquainted with your role and provide any necessary training, it’s important to gauge how you’ll directly contribute to the success of your team. During your first week, you should gain an understanding of the following: day-to-day obligations, to whom you’re delivering value to (i.e. internally to a manager or team versus externally to a customer) and their specific needs, resources you can leverage to satisfy those requirements, and where you can inject your individual style and expertise to help your employer reach their goals.
Try not to over-burden yourself by adopting a mountain of responsibilities above and beyond what you’ve managed previously. This will not only impede on your ability to perform at an optimal level, but it will cause the initial sparkle of your new role to quickly fizzle into something bleak and colorless. We all strive to paint ourselves in the best light possible during the interview process, but once you’re on the job, you’ll need to set some boundaries. By spreading yourself too thin in an effort to impress your new manager, you'll put yourself at risk for contracting a bad case of employee burnout.
Alter Your Mindset
It’s all about the Law of Attraction and projecting a positive attitude with each new undertaking that comes your way during your first week. Envision yourself achieving greater levels of success and you could have your own self-fulfilling prophecy on your hands. Barbara Fredrickson, a distinguished psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, conducted powerful research surrounding positive thinking and its ability to foster the development of new skills. With a positive mindset, you’re broadening your brain’s ability to digest information, which opens up your mind to new thoughts and possibilities.
Get the Inside Scoop on Communication Systems
Starting a new position is much like visiting a city like Sydney, Australia for the first time – the locals are speaking English, but you can’t quite understand the slang. Every workplace speaks its own lingo when it comes to inter-departmental communication, procedural hierarchy, and even non-work related antics. Many offices have replaced traditional practices of exchanging information with modern technology and apps like Slack. Even collaborative software like Trello is being used as a digital alternative to project management, reducing paperwork and enhancing the overall efficacy of the team. Understanding how your office communicates - whether it’s sending a coworker a message about lunch plans or forwarding an important document to a teammate – is a vital part of adjusting to your new role.
Hop on the Social Media Train
If you’re not an avid conversationalist, social media is a great instrument for forging relationships with new colleagues. By connecting with your coworkers and employer brand on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can effectively build bonds with others and uncover where your shared interests lie. Additionally, sharing your thoughts on some company posts that resonate with you will show teammates that you’re truly invested in your new position.
Always Stay True to Yourself
When you crave acceptance, being yourself can prove to be trickier than expected. However, it’s an important part of establishing authentic relationships with like-minded coworkers and feeling a genuine connection with your new environment. If you weren’t a fan of the second season of Stranger Things, don’t feel obligated to sing its praises just because your coworkers are. Don’t discount the value of offering a new perspective on a certain topic; your coworkers will appreciate the fresh outlook and your opinion may improve or remedy a challenge the team has been working to overcome.
While transitioning into a new role can be frightening, investing some time beforehand to properly prepare yourself will ensure a successful outcome. A new career is an exciting opportunity to advance yourself professionally and develop new skill sets – not some cosmic black hole waiting to swallow you in darkness. The first-day jitters are completely normal. Rather than allowing negative thoughts to infiltrate your mind, visualize yourself absolutely owning your new role.