A new job is an exciting beginning that starts a new chapter of growth and milestones. But to many of us, a new job can also be a daunting experience that overwhelms the mind and body. In this piece, we compiled tried-and-tested techniques to help you survive your first month at work and navigate those uncomfortable jitters that come from being the new kid.
1. Listen, Observe, Absorb
The first month of every new job goes something like this; hundreds of different information coming your way, dozens of meetings with key partners, memorizing your team’s names and roles, and learning about your company’s goals, culture, and philosophy all at once. By absorbing the essential information about your organization, listening to your team talk about their work, and observing how tasks are being handled, you’ll be empowered to get into the shuffle of day-to-day work.
2. Understand what’s expected from you
In the first month on the job, we’re all eager to show off what we’re good at. But before you run off to establish why you’re an awesome addition to the team, or rush to overpromise; ask your manager what they expect from you. Take time to speak to your manager about your KPIs, understand what their process looks like, learn about their priorities, their communication style, and how to make the best use of your 1:1s together. The faster you clear out expectations, the easier you’ll be able to identify short-and long-term goals for yourself, and form a strong relationship with your manager.
3. Get organized
Organizing your work can get a little tricky especially when you’re still trying to learn your day-to-day work. Take the first few weeks on the job to familiarize yourself with your tasks and plan a tentative to-do list to work through. But remember; you control the task list—not the other way around. A task-list is only a reminder to keep your priorities in check. It’s not supposed to be a reason to beat yourself up about the things you couldn’t finish or something to brood about during nighttime. By time, you’ll get a good grasp over your tasklist, strike a balance, and hustle your work priorities. Task management and collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, and Slack help you manage your tasks, assign each other work, and improve communication and productivity.
4. Ask questions
Asking questions gets you up to speed much faster than trying to figure things out on your own and shows that you have willingness to learn. Don’t shy away from asking questions to your manager or colleagues about the things you don’t know – no matter how foolish or mundane they sound in your head. Ask about your quarterly goals, getting access to company tools, resources, or subscriptions, ask for advice when you’re lost, and even ask where are the nearby landmarks to get coffee and groceries. If you have many inquiries to your manager or to a specific stakeholder, write them down and set up a meeting to go over the answers. That way you clear out chances of ambiguity when a task seems fuzzy or overwhelming.
5. Be open about your needs
ًWe all have personal and professional needs that need to be met in the workplace. Those needs could be anything from flexible hours, to getting access to career growth courses. Other needs include receiving consistent feedback on your performance, and having an adequate work-life balance. Identify your needs early on at work and be very open about them with your manager. When your needs are met, you’re more likely to be motivated, productive, and easily adapt into your new work environment.
6. Learn your company’s culture
A company’s culture is how people’s dynamics are played out, the working styles, and how people interact with one another. A culture can be manifested in the simplest preferences; in-person or email work requests, formal scheduled meetings or informal discussions, a lunch hour or individual al desco meals, team or individual activities, etc… Understanding your company’s culture and its values will impact your day-to-day experience with your team and help you identify if this job and culture is the right long-term fit for you or not.
7. Practice self-care
A new job’s anxiety is more common than you think. Sharing how you feel with your family and friends can help you unpack your stress and realize that you’re not alone. Make room every day to try out some self-care practices to relieve your work-related stress. Eating nutritious food, staying hydrated, and avoiding caffeine late in the day reduces your anxiety. Other great self-care practices include journaling positive thoughts, taking a silent walk in the middle of the day away from screens, doing some art therapy or mandala coloring, and meditating to wind down before sleep.
8. Adopt positive mantras
The way we talk to ourselves has the power to impact our actions and how we feel. If your inner monologue is always critical, you’ll get demotivated and discouraged. Replace your inner negative self-talk with positive-work mantras like ‘I will figure it out.’, ‘One thing at a time’, ‘Take the time to get it right’. Choose the mantra that best resonates with you so that whenever you catch yourself in a negative self-talk loop; you repeat the mantra and focus on the present moment.
9. Always do your best
There is a fine line between doing your best and losing your work-life balance to the point of burnout. Doing your best is about bringing your full self to work every day. It’s about taking initiative, and knowing when to ask for help. Your best doesn’t have to be the same every day. It could be giving work your 100% one day, or taking time to help a colleague struggling with a task on another. When self-doubt hits you, always remember that you were hired for a reason. You were hired – not only for the experience under your belt – but for the unique personality, assets, and skills you have. Don’t let being the new member on board diminish your passion or make you forget that you are an added value to your team.
Being in your first month at work means you’re already running at full speed, trying to grasp everything you need to know. But so did everybody else. Take time to breathe and relax. Resting and regrouping can go a long way in helping you plan your work more efficiently, learn everything you need at a convenient pace, and become better equipped for the months ahead. So relax, shake off your jitters, and have fun in the process.