Let’s face it, finding a new career path is scary. With all due respect to Count Dracula, Mr. Wolfman and the other spooky creatures out there, the job search packs in more frightening moments than all of them combined. Thankfully, just like these ghouls from childhood memory, the fear we’ve built up around looking for a new job is nothing more than a product of our imagination. That’s why we’re dedicating this week to facing that fear, job seekers, by giving you the tricks (and treats) you’ll need to be successful.
Part 3: Dawn of the Job
You’ve made it to your first day at a new job! By now, you’ve encountered enough spooky applications, frightening phone calls and eerie interviews to make even the bravest of job seekers’ skin crawl. It’s time to put this hair-raising ordeal behind you and start fresh. But just when you thought your epic story of survival was coming to a close, that old familiar villain rises from the grave to give you one last scream; the fear is back, and this time, it’s professional.
Even after all the effort you put in to land a new job, the real work starts on day one. Unfortunately, the pressure of new people, new tasks and a new environment can quickly transform your eagerness into anxiousness. Don’t fall into the trap of first day fears; here are some common concerns for starting in a new role, and ways to overcome them:
First Impressions, Bad Omens
The problem with first impressions is you only get to make one! Because of this, an insane amount of pressure is built up around nailing your first interaction with a new coworker. But just because you make a speaking flub or lead off with awkward greeting doesn’t mean your career is dead in the water! Remember, your peers will be more impressed if you can successfully rebound from a minor mistake. Go into the greeting process with a positive attitude and a sense of humor and you won’t regret it.
The Office Name Remembering Massacre
“You’re…Dwayne, right? No, Doug… Dave?” The first day is filled with meet and greets, but at a certain point it becomes extremely difficult to keep all the new names straight. Depending on the size of your new company, you may need to meet with a variety of individuals representing a wide range of departments, specialties and teams. While it’s a good idea to learn names early on, don’t be too concerned if you have a bit of trouble at first; everyone knows this can take time to set in!
To help commit your coworkers’ names to memory, do your best to repeat their names back early in your interactions and often. It can even help to write down the names, along with a small detail about the person, to make the information stick.
The (not so) Shining Skills
At some point in the day, you’ll finally be introduced in-depth to your role, expectations and day-to-day processes. Once the full scope of your new position is presented to you, a distinct fear can grab hold and stop you dead in your tracks, “What if I’m not good enough? Do I have the ability to do all of this? Maybe they made the wrong choice.”
Taking in everything that’s expected of you all at once can be overwhelming, but don’t let this fear take control. To thrive in a new space, you will need to act like a sponge and take in as much helpful information as you can. To that end, never be afraid to ask questions! Try breaking the new information into smaller, easier to understand chunks. Then, reach out to coworkers and supervisors to fill in any holes and add direction to your learning process.
Every work environment has a distinct set of unwritten rules; from wardrobe restrictions to coffee preferences, there are a lot of details that may not have been explicitly explained in your job description. Don’t let the fear of faux paus stop you from taking risks!
Avoid uncouth incidents by finding times to join in with new coworkers; lunch and break times are great opportunities to pick your peers’ brains about unwritten rules, while simultaneously building new relationships. Intranets, newsletters and other internal communication sources are also great tools to help prepare you for questions of culture.
The start of a new job should be an optimistic time built on a positive, professional base. You were hired because of what the recruiter(s) and employer saw in you – your skills, your personality and your fit for the team. The truth is that your new coworkers want you to succeed as much as you do. Embrace your skills and let your self-confidence shine!
When the time comes to start the next step of your professional journey, will you be ready to face the fear?