How To Overcome That Scary First Day

BY Em Blunden


3 May 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Starting a new job can be scary. You have a million questions running through your head, you don’t know what to expect and you are hoping that everyone will like you. Basically, it feels like the first day of school, but with more at stake! I mean…what if everyone turns out to be horrible and you hate every minute of it?! (Luckily the team I joined are all superstars!)  

There are those elusive people out there that thrive on the rush of being the newbie, but if you are anything like me it tends to be all about the nerves. After all, everyone else is already set in a routine, they have their own little jokes and they know exactly what they are doing.

Whether you are simply shifting organisations and are an expert in your industry, or (like me) you have started completely from scratch, here are my tips to help ease those newbie jitters:

  • Show up early (not just on time!). For me, this means a good 15 minutes before your scheduled start time. Use these 15 minutes to get settled, make a cup of coffee and start planning your day. Without feeling rushed you will set yourself up to tackle your day much more productively.
  • Be chatty (but not annoyingly so). This can be a fine line to manage, but you need to get yourself feeling part of the team asap! First impressions count so make sure you are wearing a big smile and have a chat with each of your new team members so they get to know a little about you. Not only will this make you more likely to get that (sometimes elusive) lunch invite, but will make asking those inevitable newbie questions that much easier. And on that note…

  • Ask questions in the most appropriate way. I live by the motto that the only stupid question is the one not asked, but it is important to learn quickly how you are expected to manage this. We use Slack here in the studio, which was a significant learning curve for me. (I do like to have a face to face chat!) It was important for me to adjust my work methods as quickly as possible to this new way of communicating so that I can ensure I am being as efficient as possible, without disrupting the workflow of others.

  • Eat right and exercise (oh and maybe meditate a little too). Starting a new job will without a doubt be stressful. Your brain will be full to overflowing and you will feel tired, all of the time! To help battle this fatigue you have to look after yourself. Get up early and go for a walk (or run) outside, have a healthy breakfast, get to sleep at a reasonable hour and your body (and teammates) will thank you for it!

  • Carry a notepad with you, at all times! I don’t know about you, but I write everything down. Names, ideas, questions – whatever comes across my desk or pops into my mind it goes into one central place so that I can refer to later. This will without a doubt be your new best friend in the early days, so work out a system that is best for you. Email yourself, use Trello or buy yourself a pretty notebook – just get it out of your head!

  • Be kind to yourself! This is a big one. No one likes being the newbie (least of all me) and you will probably feel quite silly for a significant portion of your day. Small mistakes may creep in or you might forget someone’s name, but just remember that these things generally will not matter a week, month or even year from now. Nobody expects you to be perfect straight out of the gate, so take a breath and let it go.

Whilst starting a new job can be scary and overwhelming it does help to realise that you are there for a reason! Focus on the skill set that got your butt in that seat and trust that you can learn everything else you need to know from there.

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