Starting a new job
Starting your first job, or changing to a new job, is often really exciting.
Some reasons for feeling this can be:
- meeting new people and being in a new environment
- wanting to succeed
- hoping it lives up to expectations.
Easing the transition
While it’s common to feel stressed at starting a new job, there are some things you can do that might make the transition easier.
Familiarise yourself with your workplace
On your first day, your employer should show you around your workplace, including where the toilets, kitchen and staff rooms are. If they don’t offer, make sure you ask.
Familiar surroundings and knowing your way around the building can help ease any anxieties and make you feel more independent.
Some people find drawing a map of people and sections helps in the first couple of weeks, particularly if they’re at a large company.
Familiarise yourself with your job responsibilities and processes
It can take a while to become familiar with your job and all your responsibilities. Keep your job description handy so you can keep track of tasks that fall under your role, what is expected of you and who you need to be reporting to and will be working with.
Getting familiar with programmes, acronyms and any other processes can also be helpful.
Find the most efficient route to work
Finding the most efficient way to get to work can make a huge difference. If you’re unsure about travel time, do a practice run before your first day.
It’s important you ask as many questions as you need when starting a new job, even if it means asking the same question two or three times.
Employers don’t expect you to know all the answers and are usually impressed with willingness to learn and ask questions rather than assuming to know everything. As well as your boss, your co-workers are great sources of knowledge.
Some bigger companies have social clubs or regular social events and these can be a great way to meet people.
Alternatively, staff rooms or kitchens are always a great place to meet new people. Just saying hello and introducing yourself can make a big difference.
Knowing a few friendly faces can really help with any anxieties about being in an unfamiliar environment.
Give it time
Starting a new job, particularly if you’re making the transition to full time work after study or travel, can be a shock to the system.
Learning to accept the changes (loss of spontaneity, rigid routine, commuting and having less time for family and friends) takes some getting used to.
Keeping your old routines and the same level of contact with friends and family might not be as easy when you start your job. Letting your friends and family know you’re busy and that you’ll have a chance to catch up on weekends may help you to make changes.
Also, as with starting anything new, it takes a while to find your feet and get familiar with the job and the workplace. It’s not unusual for this to take up to six months. Just remember, you’re not expected to know it all straight away.
Take it one day at a time. Try not to worry about what’s ahead, for example, a presentation you may need to do in three months time or do a closing shift alone etc. Small steps along the way will get you there.
Eat well and exercise
Eating well and regular exercise can have a significant affect on how you feel, your concentration and your work.
It’s not uncommon for your job to become all consuming when you first start so don’t be surprised if it takes some time to fit exercise into your day.
Once you know your working hours and are more familiar with your job responsibilities it usually becomes easier. If you’re finding it tough to find time, you could try walking or cycling to/from work or going for a half hour walk at lunch time.
It’s a good idea to establish from the beginning if you’re allowed to make personal calls and emails or surf the internet, so you avoid confusion and any negative repercussions.
Dealing with problems
Find out who the person to speak with is if you have any workplace difficulties or even if you need to contact them if you are running late.
Starting a new job can be mentally (and sometimes physically) exhausting, particularly if it means learning new things or more responsibility.
Make time after work and at weekends to chill out. This might include playing sports, listening to music, watching your favourite TV show or hanging out with friends. Also, be sure to get enough sleep.
Read sexual harassment at work for more on how to cope with inappropriate behaviour.
For tips on looking for work, read applying for jobs.