May 17, 2018

New Job Jitters? Five Ways to Help You Settle In

by Kris Gibson

We’ve all been there before and the odds are that many of us will be there again someday; new. You thought the interview process was tough but that was just you auditioning for and seeking out this opportunity……to be the new hire.

Well, here you are. At your last company you were comfortable, safe, and known to those around you and you’re realizing now that all of that has gone right out the window as you prepare to embark on your first day. While a degree of anxiety about it all is normal, and some might argue, healthy, don’t let it overwhelm you. Here are five tips to help you calm those first day jitters and quickly settle in.

1. Be Prepared.

This seems simple enough but you can take some stress away by knowing what to expect and doing everything you can in advance to prepare for it. Touch base with your manager or HR contact before your first day to get a handle on their on-boarding, training, or orientation practices.

  • Do you need identification to complete paperwork?
  • What time should you arrive?
  • Who do you ask for?
  • Where do you park?
  • Any special instructions to access the building?

Being able to get this information to go from the “unknown” pile to the “known” pile will help ease some of that anxiety.

2. Soak in Information.

When you get into the office you want to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. The anxiety you feel leading up to your first day comes from not knowing things you have previously taken for granted. Learning what everyone does and how they do it will help you get into a new rhythm quickly.

3. Learn the Dynamics.

This is not just in reference to job titles or specific duties as much as where everyone fits in within the social structure. Before you can find your place among your new colleagues you have to first understand their places.

  • Who fills what role?
  • Who are the leaders?
  • Who is the clown?
  • Who can help mentor you?

4. Don’t Overdo It.

You do not need to feel a need to validate yourself on your first day. You should ask questions and not be afraid to add input but overdoing it can get you off on the wrong foot. You’re new. You know you’re new and so does everyone else. It is okay to settle in before you try to do too much.

5. Learn Their Way.

You could lump this in other places but it is important enough I wanted to highlight it on its own. Remember, you’re new to an already established team and organization. It is fine to bring ideas with you from your past experience and employer but nothing drives new coworkers crazy more than a constant barrage of statements beginning with “at my last job…….”. Again, you’ll say things like that along the way and there is nothing wrong with that but you don’t want to come in and give the impression you’re trying to change how they do everything or comparing everything here to how it was at your previous company.

Having a plan, an awareness of the situation and commitment to assimilating quickly and effectively will go a long way towards helping you shed the “new guy/gal” label and becoming a valued part of your new team.


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