First day on the job? You’re probably feeling anywhere from excited to nervous to completely uncertain of what it is you’ll be doing. Remember to keep in mind that everyone knows you’re new, so just relax, listen, and be confident you have what it takes to do this job. After all, they liked you enough to offer you the job! If you’re still nervous about your first day, take a look at our suggestions below for how to counter the disadvantages of being the new kid, and learn some of the positives to keep in mind.
Respect from our peers is something we all want to establish in the workplace. You know what you’re capable of, but your new co-workers don’t know how much you really have to offer just yet. Take a breath and relax, though: No one expects you to be a superstar your first day, or even your first few weeks, on the job. As you start to figure out your role, there will be so much material that it’ll be impossible for you to remember all the small details. Take lots of notes, listen and focus. Make sure to go back and study your notes, and if something doesn’t make sense to you, ask whoever is training you. Your fellow co-workers will see it as a sign that you want to learn and that you respect the current way of doing things.
The spotlight is on you
Not only are expectations high, but curiosity on the part of your new co-workers is as well. Everyone is curious to find out what kind of person you are — are you funny, serious, reserved? Your new company has a certain culture it hires around, and you must have fit within that culture. Personalities create culture, so don’t hold yours back — let it shine bright on that first day. If you can connect on a personal level with multiple co-workers, then you have more people who are more willing to lend a helping hand. If you are quiet and reserved, then some people may take that shyness as rude and standoffish even though you may be the funniest person in the room. So, just make sure you accept that invitation from your co-worker to go out to lunch even if you packed a PB&J for the day. It could be the difference between kickstarting friendships with fellow co-workers or a long and uncomfortable uphill ride.
When you start a new job, it’s expected that you won’t understand everything immediately. But don’t be stressed thinking you need to be perfect right away. Being new means that nobody is expecting you to take the lead on any projects or innovate in the latest and greatest way. Instead, engage yourself to the fullest and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You got the job, so regardless of the ins and outs you have yet to learn, there must be some underlying expertise you bring to the table. Maybe it’s with a software program, like Photoshop, or maybe it’s on a certain topic or issue you have a lot of experience with. Make sure you showcase these skills early by offering your two cents on problems the team is looking to solve. Yours could be the expert advice that allows them to break through and finally solve that lingering issue. If the advice isn’t useful, nobody is going to be mad because, let’s face it, you’re new. Don’t hold back on these opportunities, as everyone is always ready for fresh new perspectives.
Your first few weeks are really a time to learn. You don’t need to carry the company on your shoulders; all you have to do is take notes, listen, and chime in when you know you can offer a helping hand. Let the others stress, but make sure your attitude and attention show you are fully invested in the moment.
Enjoy being the “new kid on the block” while you can, because before you know it, you’ll be in their shoes and on the hook for that final draft.
Krista is a Creative Circle candidate, creative writer and content creator in Los Angeles. Her background includes news, marketing, copywriting and editing. If you are interested in working with Krista, please contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.