First day jitters never seem to go away no matter how old you are. Jumping into an unknown environment can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. It can test your ego real quick.
Remember when you were a preteen heading into junior high school? You left all or most of your friends from elementary school behind and were unsure about what’s to come. So you lay out your clothes the night before, had a fresh hairdo with hopes that it’ll all mask the confidence you were lacking walking into the abyss.
You probably already know this — but the jitters don’t go away after junior high. Here, take these five tips to get through that first week of work in a new position.
Do not go up into a new work environment acting like you invented the wheel and can receive high scores at your annual evaluation on day one. It doesn’t matter if you were the ultimate candidate for the position, it’s best to sit back and take in everything your new co-workers do instead of making unwarranted suggestions to do things your way. Even if you see their methods are time-consuming, you should sit back, listen and wait before pouncing with your know-it-all tone.
Keep Out Of Office Drama
I repeat, keep out of office drama. Whether your new company has you in the office or in the field, do not get caught up with who’s dating who or how so and so got their job. If you get cornered by a Chatty Cathy or Chad in the break room or in the elevator, just make general conversational sound effects — and uhhmmm and a head nod will do — and get the hell outta there quick. Take a fake phone call — just retreat. The last thing you need is to get caught up from day one.
Stand Up For Yourself
Okay, this might can seem like a contradiction to the first tip, but it’s not. There will be a moment when your skills are tested. It might be from someone who was gunning for your position or the person who used to be in the position. Be careful during these moments. Even though I suggested that you avoid engaging Chatty Cathy or Chad, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the gossip. You may have received some good intel, so put that in your back pocket. If you’re challenged by anyone other than your boss, don’t be rude by clapping back against their shade, respond, but be vague. The last thing you want is to give away your genius ideas to an undercover hater.
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Dress For Success
The definitions of business casual versus casual, have very blurry lines depending on who you talk to. From the interview to your last day of work, you should always dress professionally especially if you’re in a leadership role. It does necessarily mean blazers and button-up shirts every day either. It simply means not to flash your goodies or wear pumps that will have you begging for your ballerina flats by 11 a.m.
Be yourself, keep your personality outward and don’t feel the need to change your look for the position. I made the mistake of nervously pressing my natural curls on my first day of work, even though I interviewed with my fro. On day three I did a wash-n-go and they were pleasantly happy to see my Twitter profile image in front of them.
Remember this is a position you agreed to, show them why you’re there and that you belong. Little do you realize that within the first three months, you’re in a probationary period. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain performance wise, best believe your boss will be holding a serious conversation with you about whether you made the cut or can get thrown back to the fish on LinkedIn. Avoid having this conversation and keep on top of your game. Remember to always CC: another team member on emails, follow-up on the ideas you shared in meetings, and give suggestions to improve team projects.
Good luck out there. The job hunt is not easy, let’s stay employed.