How to cope on the first day of your new job

Starting a new job always comes with a briefcase full of feelings and emotions. Everyone will either always remember their first day or have washed away the whole memory.

Some things are universally unavoidable on a first day in a new job. Login issues, blisters from new shoes, and ‘face ache’ from smiling much more than the norm. Either way, coping with the first day of a new job doesn’t have to be as frightening as some may think.

In this piece, we’ll look at how to confidently deal with first day jitters. As well as introducing methods you can take to create the best start to your new job.

Why do people get nervous before starting a new job?

Well ultimately, you can’t defy human biology. We’re hard-wired to feel anxiety and caution when facing new changes or foreign environments. So, it’s completely logical for us to experience some form of fear when starting a new job. You’re perfectly normal, we promise.

Whether it’s your first ever job ever or you’ve joined a brand-new company, here are a few tips to remember for coping with day 1 on the job…

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Take time to prepare

Spend the night before organising everything for your first day. Pack your bag, get a good night’s sleep, and resist the urge to ‘socialise’ the night before. Also, try to have an outfit pressed and ready. (Best to avoid adding unnecessary stress in the morning).

Getting a good night’s sleep will really help you keep alert and energised during the whole introductory day. You definitely will be introduced around, so it’s important to make engaging first impressions. You never know who they could be or how they’ll impact your career.

Be punctual

Unless it’s a remote job, you should try to map out the time and commute towards your workplace. Decide whether you will walk, cycle, or take public transport there. And take any additional transfers needed into consideration.

And if you’re driving, plan your route beforehand, checking levels of congestion and possible traffic issues.

There’s nothing worse than being late on your first day or arriving flustered (and slightly sweaty). Aim to get there on time – calm and collected. A confident and punctual start always leaves a good first impression.

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Dress for job

Ideally employers express their business dress code after the interview or through employment handbooks. Whether it’s strictly ‘suit and tie’, or if they have dress-down Fridays, you would generally be told beforehand. 

You can’t go wrong with a generally formal work outfit but pick something that’s both smart but also comfortable. Once you’ve got the general scope of business attire, then tailor your wardrobe to fit the work aesthetic.

Keep hydrated and full

Tasks for your first day could vary from sitting at a desk, filling in paperwork and doing eLearning courses. Or could involve you running back and forth, being introduced relevant colleagues and management.

Either way, keep hydrated through drinking water. And have healthy snacks at hand. A bag of nuts, dried fruit, or even a breakfast bar are always good choices. And it’s best to avoid foods that might stain or leave traces of faint, pungent smells in the air.

Build friendships with colleagues

Try to introduce yourself to fellow employees, especially those you’ll be closely working with. Show your confidence with a handshake (if governing legislation allows) and make an effort to remember names and titles. Ask questions about your new job, expectations, and what your role will bring to the team.

Maybe have lunch with them; a perfect opportunity to discover more about your team and company culture. However, always keep it professional and avoid office gossip or ‘friendly heads-up’ about other workers and work policies. Aim to channel Switzerland-vibes and remain neutral.

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Keep the past in the past

Remember, this new job is a brand-new fresh start for you. Beyond past work experiences and references shared in the interview, you don’t need to talk about old stressful periods at work, or your reasons for leaving.

Also, be wary not to clash with the working norms of your new job. They may have their own set method for working. And ideally, you should adapt to it (even if you were taught differently elsewhere).

Once you’ve settled into the job (and within the right setting), only then can you bring suggestions for different work methods. But remember, avoid it on your first day. You don’t want to step on any toes and create enemies this early in your career.

Professionalism is key

The only thing guaranteed to happen on your first day is… it will be unexpected. So, embrace it and keep an approachable, eager, and professional aura about you.

Whenever you wear that uniform or carry that ID badge, remember you are part of that organisation now. So, represent the business with a positive image and attitude.

Manager and the higher uppers will recognise your respect and loyalty for the business, over imposter-syndrome masks. The right attitude will personify into business success and prosperity.

Depending on how your first day goes can really set the tone for your whole work career. But don’t worry about making mistakes or asking too many questions on your first day. You automatically have a “I’m new here” – card you can rely on.

Acknowledge the nerves, keep confident, and have focus on taking in the vibe for your new job. It’ll all help with the process of settling in your role and the company faster, smoothing out as many bumps as possible. 

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Remember you were hired for a reason and deserve to be there. Congrats again on your new job!

This article was written by David Price from Health Assured.

Author Rebecca O'Keeffe

More posts by Rebecca O'Keeffe

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