Starting a New Job - Your First Day

We’ve all been there, starting a new job is nerve wracking.  Yes, we feel excited, but lying in bed the night before, staring at the ceiling or counting sheep, trying to switch off, is not fun. 

You feel prepared, you had a bath to relax, you went to bed early, read your book and now your brain just won’t. Switch. Off.  I know.  And the more you think about it the worse the anxiety gets.  I know.  

You’re now not worrying about your first day tomorrow, but the fact is you’ve got to be up in three hours.

I’m about to help you implement a couple of small things to make you feel more relaxed going in to your first day.  To help you sleep and avoid stress.  So, here goes.

I’m painting the picture now, it’s late afternoon on a Sunday, you’ve just been to a family roast, or lunch with friends.  You’re feeling comfortably full and you’re feeling positive.  Firstly, sit down and unwind.  If you’re northern like me, you’ll reach for the kettle.  Have a cuppa, a perfectly strong yet perfectly milky builders’ tea.

Now, you feel relaxed.  Until you suddenly realise that it’s only one sleep until new job day.  The three month notice period is over, you’ve said goodbye to all your workmates several times over and you are finally about to start your new job.  Oh gosh (or worse!).  Okay, breathe. 

Your second port of call after your cuppa is that pen and paper.  Make a list.  What do you need to do tomorrow to make a good impression?  Everyone loves a to-do list.  You may write things like:
1. Sort outfit (think – tie and shirt?  Is it that sort of office?  Black skirt and blouse?  Is it that sort of office?)
2. Plan journey to arrive early. So what time do I need to leave home?  Check travel options.  Check the weather forecast
3. Prep meals for breakfast and lunch (if you’re a foodie like me)
4. Make sure I introduce myself to everyone on my bank of desks/office floor
5. Make sure I know where the coffee machine is

The list allows you to visualise the morning, to see the office – to feel you are in control.

So, you rummage through your wardrobe and find an outfit/matching tie and shirt.  You’ve laid it out ready for the morning, great.  That’s a tick.

You work out that you need to leave the house at 7.30am to get to the station in time for the 7.47am train into London/Newcastle/Manchester/Birmingham/Edinburgh to name but a few possible city destinations, then you’ll have plenty of time on the other side to get to your brand new office - early and ahead of your 9.00am start.  

Now all you need to do is decide what to make for breakfast and lunch (another foodie obsession).  Something easy.  

Fab, that’s three ticked off the list already.  

Feeling more organised and less anxious already?  I thought so.

Right. Let’s fast forward to the following morning.  You’ve arrived at work (well on time), you’ve introduced yourself to your immediate team, and your desktop computer is all set up for you.

It seems by 9.30 am, you have met everyone on your floor and you’ve introduced yourself to a few more people in the kitchen when you made that much needed first cup of coffee.

You make the swift judgement that today is going to be chaotic, all over the place.  You’re already being pulled in so many directions.  Meeting with the company director at 11.00am, team meeting at 2.00pm, one to one meeting with your team boss at 4.00pm to discuss your role and the 40-page induction document you found on your desk when you arrived, and one of your team has just asked you what you are doing for lunch.  That’s nice.  What was their name?  (Oh well, you can have your prepared meal tomorrow).  Gah – the secret panic starts setting in.  

Don’t stress, it’s all so new.  Quickly, scribble yourself another to do list to get back on track.  Phew, that was close.

With your meetings for the day creeping up on you, it’s important that you remember not to moan!  Not even to yourself – it will show!  Yes, you’re bound to be tired.  You’re probably hungry (or is that just foodie me?).  But deal with it silently!  Also, very important, try to avoid bad mouthing your old company, not that I am saying you would, of course.  But common lines I hear go like this…..  “In my last job…” or “my previous boss had no idea….” That’s in the past now, stop dwelling on it and move forward.

It’s vital to observe – people, office routines, who talks to who, who likes a joke, who doesn’t, and don’t start getting too big for your boots this early on, or, actually, ideally, ever at all!  Remember you’re the new one around town.  Oh yes, and remember to smile – it’s catching.  

Before you know it your first day will be over – you’ve survived the ordeal.  This could be fun.

To summarise the key points that, in my opinion, are important when starting a new job:
  • Prepare the night before for the hectic day ahead of you
  • Make a list, or two
  • Arrive early
  • Don’t presume you know anything
  • Listen and learn 
  • Introduce yourself
  • Build relationships
  • Don’t stress too much, remember it’s all new

    I think it’s clear, as far as I’m concerned, preparation is key.  The company chose you: you need to show them it was the right decision.  And remember the old saying.  You know how it goes… fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  

  • About the Author:

    Keeley Fitzsimmons
    Training and Development Manager
    Broadgate Search

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