Starting a new job is one of the most nerve-wracking moments of adulthood. It’s like being the new kid in class, but… well, no. It’s exactly like being the new kid in class. You don’t know anyone’s names, you have no idea how to get around and, for the first week or so, you feel like you’re on the outside looking in. But being the newest member of a team is a rite of passage of sorts; a baptism by fire, if you will. You’ll probably be uneasy throughout your entire first week of work but, hopefully, by your second Monday, you’ll start feeling right at home. But in the meantime, you’ll have to worry about these eight things.
See Also: The 5 Worst Ways to Start a New Job
1. Being Late
You probably spent some time over the weekend driving back and forth from your home to your new office, just so you know for sure exactly where to go in the morning. And even if you don’t have the route memorized just yet, you at least have your smartphone’s GPS that takes into consideration traffic and detours when figuring out your ETA. But come Monday morning, Murphy’s Law kicks in. You spill coffee on your shirt and have to turn around to change, or your phone didn’t charge right, your battery dies, and you get stuck going five miles per hour on the highway behind a major accident. Then… you wake up from the nightmare. You realize you still have an hour before work, and now your only thought is “I need to leave even earlier than I thought!” Don’t worry, you’ll get there.
2. Being Introduced to Everyone
Of course, when you get to work, you’re going to spend the first part of it feeling like a comedian getting roasted. Hopefully, no one’s making fun of you, but you’ll certainly be the center of attention when your boss introduces you to your new colleagues. You might even have to play a few icebreaker games with the group, and *gulp* tell them a little about yourself. And, of course, first impressions are everything. Try to stay cool, and remember that everyone has gone through this initial introductory phase. Like I said before, it’s a rite of passage. Just get it over with and be ready to start your day.
3. Remembering Names
You’ll be meeting a ton of new people throughout the day, and you’re going to have to learn a bunch of new names along with the new faces you’ll be seeing every day. This is on top of everything else you’ll be learning throughout the day, which will make it even more difficult. Hopefully, however, your new colleagues take it easy on you and help you get to know the rest of the group. They just might have as much trouble remembering your name, so don’t feel like a jerk when you can’t remember theirs. Give it a week, and the names of familiar faces will start to come to you naturally.
4. Who to Befriend
From your perspective, it’ll be incredibly tough to gauge your new colleagues’ behavior during your first few days on the job. You won’t know everyone else’s reputation, and you won’t be sure who’s worth striking up a conversation with and who’s better left alone. Hopefully, it’ll be pretty clear who you can trust and who you should stay away from, or who has ambition and who is ambivalent to their job. Once you figure out who to stay away from, do just that: stay away from them. You don’t need any negativity affecting your work ethic from your very first day.
5. Being an Insider
Face it: you’re going to be an outsider for the first week or so. Your colleagues will probably be reluctant to open up to you or invite you into their social circle just yet. As long as you show them you’re trustworthy and friendly, though, they’ll start to open their arms (metaphorically, I hope) to your presence within your first few weeks.
However, in the meantime, you’re going to have to deal with being ignorant to “inside jokes”, and you won’t really know when someone is joking or being serious. Since you’re not too familiar with “the way things work around here”, you’ll probably end up being the butt of at least a few jokes. With any luck, it’s all in good fun, and if you take it all well, you’ll soon be initiated into the social circle.
6. Finding Your Way Around
Remember how I said your first day of work is like your first day at a new school? Here’s where you’ll feel it the most. When your boss tells you to “Go see Johnson in accounting”, you’re probably going to need better directions than “It’s down the hall”. When you take your first lunch break, you’ll probably spend the first 10 minutes of it actually finding the café, and the last ten minutes of it finding your way back. And forget about exploring the area around your office; you won’t know what the traffic’s like, or where to find a good slice of pizza. Again, in time, you’ll start to figure it out, but there’s really no way to force it. The only way to really know your way around is to just go for it.
7. Getting a Hang of the Schedule
You’ll probably have meetings at least once a week, and while your colleagues will know exactly when they are and where to go for them, you’ll have to constantly keep an eye on your schedule. Of course, this will get in the way of your productivity as you’ll constantly be worrying that you’re missing out on something important.
If this is your first job out of college, you’re definitely in for a huge change. The typical college student has a varied schedule, with classes every other day starting around 11. So, when you get that first 9-to-5 position, you’re going to have to get used to working for eight hours with only a short lunch break in between. Relax, though; getting used to a new schedule will only take a week or so. You’ll adjust just fine.
8. Figuring Out How to Work (Everything)
When you’re at home, you know all the nuances of your various electronics and appliances. When you start working at a new place, you’ll have to relearn how to use everything. From new databases and computer programs to the break room coffee machine, you’ll have a lot to learn. Of course, this means you’ll probably end up burning some food in the lunchroom microwave or jamming up the printer, but don’t worry: even seasoned veterans have trouble with that. You’ll learn to get used to it. Or avoid it altogether.
There’s no sugarcoating it: your first week of work is going to be rough. You have a lot to learn, and a lot to get used to. Between finding your way around and learning the names of all the new people you’ll be meeting, it can all be overwhelming. But you’ll realize very quickly that you’re more than capable of handling everything that’s thrown at you. In fact, you’ll probably realize you’re better at handling it all than some of your colleagues that have been there for years. It’s all in your attitude, and how you approach this new venture in your life.
Was there anything else you were scared about starting a new job? How did you handle it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!