Getting a new job is a brilliant feeling – "They liked me! They trust me! New opportunities!" – but can also be exhausting, stressful and panic inducing. There’s the process of leaving your old job, the space between leaving your old job and starting your new one and then that phase of trying to figure out if the new job is as good in reality as it seemed in theory and on the website you found it on.
It’s natural to feel anxiety about the whole shebang. Luckily we’ve been there too and can pass on a smidge of our own experiences and carefully researched real life stories of what can be a daunting process.
1. The onboarding process
It’s your new employer’s job to make you feel at ease and help you feel that your first day isn’t daunting. Remember, if you found your new role through an agency, some charge a fee (not us by the way, our fee is £150 with no extra placement fees, ever). So your new employer will want to make that fee work for them too and not have to pay again for someone new after your trial period has ended. There’s also the question of job security. Unfortunately, the way the law is you could do your first couple of days and then you’re gone and you’re unemployed. It’s an anxious time, but you got that job because you’re good at what you do. You went through a vigorous selection process and actually you proved yourself to be credible. Start your day organised and to allow yourself plenty of time to ensure any paperwork is completed. It can be helpful to make a list of all the things that need to be done before starting a new job so that you can be sure to allocate sufficient time to complete each task. Once you start looking for evidence to back up the positive, you will find it. You just need to look. Start now by recounting your most recent accomplishments. Take a look at everything you've achieved and reflect on all the hard work you've put in to get to where you are now.
2. Before the first day
Try to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep and that you start the morning off in a relaxing way. Avoid reaching for electronic devices and, in doing so, immediately bombarding your mind with information. Instead, treat your mind to some mindfulness meditation for ten minutes. If that’s not your thing then we find that a cup of tea and a Jammie Dodger dunked in it soothes the soul.
Be you. If you put on a front on day one, by the third day people will think they’re working with somebody different.
3. The first day in the office
An important thing to remember is that you got the job. You got it because other people clearly believed in you and your skills. You did not pull a fast one on anyone. You did not lie and cheat your way into this job so shake off those self doubts and imposter syndrome. Your boss, or whoever hired you, isn’t daft. Don't doubt the intelligence of those who hired you. They have made deliberate choices based on your experience and potential. You really do deserve to be there.
It is important to reassure yourself that feelings of anxiety will pass and it is normal to feel nervous on your first day. It can also be reassuring to remember that the first day of a new job can be very busy, which can be helpful as it can serve as a distraction from feelings of anxiety. However, if you do find yourself feeling particularly anxious on the first day at work, practising deep breathing can help to reduce these feelings, also see above re. tea and Jammie Dodgers.
Get to know the people you’re working with. If you’re comfortable with them you’ll be comfortable with their environment. Take your own cup. If you need five minutes to yourself, go and make a drink for yourself and co workers.
4. The first week and month
Find someone to go to lunch with. We’ve seen people fall down when they work really really hard, say the right thing, pass their probation period and then get too comfortable, take it all in their stride, get too familiar with the people they work with and it doesn’t do them any favours at all. There’s a natural progression to getting to know and trust people.
Try to learn as much as you can in the first few weeks and months, but don’t put undue pressure on yourself to know everything about your new role. There will always be new things to learn and this can take time and no one would expect you to know everything immediately. Ask questions if you feel unsure, as often much that we worry about is futile and easily solved. It takes on average, three months for new starters to be fully proficient in a new role.
5. Appraisals or probation
Talk to your line manager about how you are feeling and obtain support from any services that your employers might have put in place to assist employees that require support; many organisations have employee assistance programmes that provide a raft of services from access to psychological therapy support through to legal and financial advice.
Learn to take your mistakes in stride, viewing them as a natural part of the process. There will never be the "perfect time" and your work will never be 100 per cent flawless. The sooner you're able to accept that, the better off you'll be. We think of life like an athlete. They have to lose in order to learn how to win; they have to make mistakes in order to get better. Start thinking like this and the word failure will leave your vocabulary.
6. What should you be asking your company to do?
It is important to make sure the new member of staff has been introduced to the rest of the team and is made to feel welcome by their colleagues. It is also helpful to ensure that the team give their new colleague time to settle in and to ask any questions they may have, assisting them to understand their role and facilitating their integration into the team.
Enjoy this new phase in your life. You are there because you are great. Believe in yourself.