I’m starting a new job…what do I do?

If you’re anything like me, starting a new job is exciting and daunting. For years, I conducted new hire orientation at a corporate headquarters. All the newbies got to spend the better part of their first day with me. I often broke the ice by asking the group who got a good night of sleep the night before; I was frequently the only one who did.

It is common to lose sleep over starting a new job, but I would prefer you  start your new job well rested. The best way to calm your mind is to be prepared. Here are three proactive steps you can take to be best prepared when starting a new role.

1. Focus on your Mindset

So many of us go into a new job with worries.  The thought track in our head may sound something like: “What if I won’t fit in? What if I don’t have the right skills? What if I don’t get along with my team? What if my manager isn’t as great as she seemed in the interview?”  Tell those thoughts to buzz off, and instead, remind yourself that you were chosen for this job.  The company asked you to work for them because they see value in you and what you do.  They want you.  It is unlikely that they expect perfection or expect you to fit in right away.  When you’re interacting with someone who is new at what they’re doing, whether it is a child learning to play a new game, or an adult learning a new system, you don’t expect them to be perfect the first time, do you?  

Then don’t expect perfection of yourself.  

Give yourself grace.

2. Educate yourself

If you’re part of my generation, you may recall watching after school specials that taught lessons and had a tagline of “The More You Know”, indicating that education is key to doing better.

During the interview process, you researched your new organization. Perhaps you looked at the company’s mission, values, stock price, etc.  Did you also review social media sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to see what people say about working at the company?  If not, now is a good time to do that.  When you get into the organization, see if you can validate what you read on those sites.  If you see opportunity to improve things based on what you saw on the sites, ask about it. This may give you an idea of where you can make an impact as a new hire.

Also educate yourself about your company’s competitors and industry.  If your new job is in an industry you are not familiar with, learn about it. There is likely a professional organization you can join or get a free 30 day trial. One you have access to the organization’s resources, learn about the industry’s challenges, the big players, and the opportunities from articles, webinars or podcasts they offer. Professional organizations can be a treasure trove of information; people who are active in these groups are passionate about what they do and would welcome the opportunity to help you learn.

The more you know about different aspects of the business, the more you will be able to contribute, whether your role is entry level, executive, sales, operations, finance, marketing, or human resources.

Education is part of what you do when onboarding, but it shouldn’t stop there. Continue to learn as you stay with the company so that you can be on the cutting edge.

3. Act

Go into your job with a plan for how you will get up to speed and make a positive impact.  Most employers expect their employees to take at least 90 days to get onboarded.  A wonderful book to help you prepare for this time is The First 90 days. This resource can help you assess what type of a situation you are entering and what you do as a result of that.

A simple formula for you to follow in your first 90 days is:

1. Learn

2. Assess

3. Perform

Read more about each of these steps by clicking here.

Now, get ready for that first day!  If you’ve done the above, you are in a great place to get started.  For a good night’s sleep, go to bed on an empty stomach, and do a yoga nidra meditation before bedtime.You can also consider taking some melatonin to help you fall asleep, or magnesium to help you stay asleep and lower your anxiety levels naturally.

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