The first day in a new job is oddly reminiscent of your first day in a new school. Those butterflies in your stomach, those thoughts in your head swirling around with “am I good enough” “will they like me” “I’ll be found out”. That sense of anxiety and unease confounded with “will I be late” and more often “damn I’ve got toothpaste on my top”. Most people have gone through that and if you haven’t well then I applaud you, you’ve got it all sorted.
Here’s a few hints, tips and things to remember to help you deal with the anxiety and to help you create a great first impression.
Remember you were given the job, because they thought you’d be great at it
You went through an interview process. Probably many, you’ve been put through your paces, you’ve worked hard and impressed. Please remember that. So many people have that inner panic of “what if they’ve made a mistake” and “maybe there was no one else”. Forget that! No one gives someone a job just because no one else turned up, or because they thought you were a nice person. Particularly not in television I can guarantee that. So believe in yourself, know that you have the job on merit, go in with your head held high but with your ego in check!
Know how to get there
This sounds like a given duh yeah of course I know where I’m going to work! However you’ll be surprised how some people don’t, often when they have interviewed at another office. Check, double check, plan your journey. Leave earlier than you need to. Nothing worse than knowing you are going to be late for your first day. First impressions do count. Now things happen, traffic jams, trains delayed, if that’s the case then ring ahead, apologise and let your boss know when you’ll be in. When you get in, then apologise some more. Things happen but your boss and team will know when it’s a genuine delay or whether you’ve over slept. Don’t make up train delays either. I remember someone very late to a job who said “oh so many delays on the Piccadilly line” hmmm I thought “not when I got it love!”
Get there early sit in reception, sip some water, compose yourself, nip to the loo and then be ready to face the day, calmly and with purpose.
Keep something back
Whether we like it or not we are all judged on first impressions. Nerves can make us retreat or in the case of some people over share. When on your first day someone asks how was your weekend? Keep it polite and calm rather than “oh my god I was so wasted and then I met this hot guy and you know one thing led to another” Now that might be true but keep the details for your friends. People will remember you as the party boy/girl. Let people get to know you as being good at your job and then they will get to know you as a person. Just don’t have everything out there on the table keep an air of mystery.. Well at least a little bit of mystery.
Remember you need to learn and don’t know it all
We put so much pressure on ourselves when we start a new job to really succeed, to impress, to get the job done. Nothing wrong with that at all, truly admirable but remember you don’t have to know it all after five minutes. It can take a while to navigate systems specific to the company, to fathom out reporting structures or simply how to forward a call to a colleague. You’ve not worked there before and each company has it’s own nuances. So ask ask ask until you are confident. Write down stuff, carry a pad and pen with you to jot down those details. People don’t mind, they’d rather you asked and got it right. In fact that air of nonchalantly presuming you know it all can irk your colleagues so show you value their opinions by asking them questions. Now if you’ve been told a dozen times and you are still not grasping it then something is wrong. So it’s important to double check initially rather than to go in head first and presume you know when the reality is that you really don’t have a clue.
Avoid the mean girls
You’ll spot them straight away, they’ll smile broadly but not with their eyes taking in everything about you to e dissected later at the lunch table. You can feel the judgement pouring out of them and you feel super self conscious about that scuff mark on your shoe or that you might still have remnants of breakfast on your face. They will ask you “what do you think about such and such” laughing to lure you into a circle if trust, but what they really want to do is suss you out see if you are cool enough to be in their gang. It’s easy when you are new to be flattered and grateful but when people start bad mouthing people don’t join in. This can come back to haunt you with “oh Simon agrees with me, or Simon was saying this about such and such”. Nod, smile and say “oh I don’t really know them”. That’s the best way. People are often tactical when they start a new job and align themselves with people who they think will further their careers, or the popular gang. Not much changes since high school. Like high school cliques fall in and out of favour. So like who you like and keep the focus on work. Integrity and authenticity will always shine through even when you think that they don’t.
Don’t make out with the boss
It’s the first Thursday of your working week in your new job and the whole team is heading for margarita night. Three margaritas in you and your boss both reach for the tortilla chips, your hands graze and you’re in love! Well get that thought out of your head right now! You are drunk! People do fall in love with their bosses and colleagues but get to know them as people first. Margarita Thursday can skew things and affect your professional reputation. Don’t be known as that guy or that girl. People do silly things after a few drinks and some people don’t take their drink well. If that’s you then drink in moderation and know your limits. It’s great to bond with the team but dancing on a bar with your bits out is taking it to a whole new level.
New jobs can be scary but they don’t have to be. It’s all part of your journey, the next chapter of you, so embrace it! And remember whatever happens it’s all good stuff for the memoirs!