Starting a new job fills people with lots of different emotions; joy, excitement, anticipation, anxiety, and even fear. We look forward to starting a new journey, but may worry about entering a new environment, learning a new system, and working with new people. The mixed emotions are normal and can help us prepare for a good start. The first day of work jitters can give us the energy and drive to tackle the task of trying something new.
Sometimes, we worry about measuring up to expectations. This worry may guide our actions going forward. It may tell us that we have to act a certain way at our new workplace that’s not congruent with our authentic self. While it’s tempting to pretend on the first few days and weeks, in the long run, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. Being yourself will set you up for continued success over the long run and likely cause less frustration. Here are some ways to start a new job your way, being your best self.
Visualize your best self to set goals. When setting goals, think about yourself on your best days; those days when you knocked it out the park and went home feeling accomplished. In what ways did you shine? What did you enjoy about your work that day? What were you doing when you were in your element? Take those reflections and translate them into your new role. In what ways can you recreate or build on those magic moments? These ideas and memories are great building blocks for creating goals and aspiration as you begin a job. Your goals will likely shift as you learn more about your position, but it can feel comforting to have a jumping off point.
Embrace the newness. For some, not knowing everything about the role can be uncomfortable. While learning curves can be disorienting, it can provide a unique opportunity to ask “new person” questions. As a new person, you are allowed to be ignorant or uninformed about some aspects of the work. Use this time to ask newbie questions wisely. You can ask clarifying questions to understand the way your company ticks, or gain insight about possible areas for success and roadblocks. Use the guise of newness to ask questions about unspoke rules to learn valuable lessons without repeating mistakes made by predecessors.
Reflect on areas of strength and areas for improvement. Go into your new position being honest with yourself about areas you expect to shine and areas that will be a challenge for you. Anticipating successes and difficulties can help you feel comfortable in your own skin. It may help you anticipate feedback and have a game plan for improving and progressing.
Let people get to know you. While it’s not necessary to become best friends with colleagues (sometimes, it’s advisable not to do so), it is important to foster work relationships. Letting people get to know you will help you and your coworkers figure out how to fit in with the team. Your supervisor will learn how to support quicker if he or she sees the real you. Being real allows you to explore your all of the possibilities that your job has to offer and will often manifest a more satisfying work environment