First day on the job!
I’m nervous. I’m soooooo excited! I’m freaking out. I’ve got ants in my pants and most likely won’t be able to fall asleep tonight. Will they like me? Will I like them? Will I be successful? My mind is moving at 90 miles per hour. It’s the night before my first day on the new job and my stomach is in knots. It seems so silly for me to feel like this, but the reality is: No matter how far along you are in your career, there is always some level of “excitement” when starting a new position.
If you are taking the plunge and starting something new, here are a few things to remember:
1. They hired you for a reason
The recruiter, interviewers, and hiring managers saw something in you the day you interviewed. They reviewed your resume and maybe even spoke to some references and they believe you can do the job - that’s why they hired you. So buck up, take a deep breath, and tell yourself you can do this! Your first day should have no room for negative thoughts, only thoughts of you believing in you.
2. Be yourself!
I have watched people take over a new position and try everything in their power to be the exact same as their predecessor. Just be yourself, because anything else is not natural. When you are so insecure in your role that you are mimicking the previous actions of your predecessor and/or constantly questioning your team how the previous individual would have responded, you don't come across as competent ... or genuine. Why? To your employees and colleagues it can look as if you are trying to be someone else. In fact, that is exactly what you are trying to do, which could leave them thinking they should have hired someone else for the job.
You weren't hired to be the predecessor, you were hired to do just as good of a job (if not better) than him/her. If you want others to follow your lead, then you need to be a leader, which you can only do by making your own decisions and confidently communicating the path forward to your team.
Companies are not just assessing your skill sets in an interview, but also your culture fit. They saw something in you that day that told them you would get a long with their team members, so they want YOU to be there, not some fake version of yourself. Just be you - trust me, you will be a lot more successful that way.
3. It’s ok to ask questions
As a manager there is nothing I hate more than someone telling me they understand an assignment when they don’t. Why? Because when it gets screwed up (and it inevitably will), there is so much extra time wasted on fixing things when I could have just used that time to find a new way to explain things to you in the first place. Yes, you want to show people that you are capable. Yes, you want to get shit done. Yes, you want people to value you. But you actually achieve the exact opposite if you pretend to know things that you don’t. Don’t lose the respect of others within your new organization in the first weeks because you are trying to show off.
4. Just because they do things differently, doesn’t mean it’s wrong
I find that when we step into new situations, we watch someone do something and cringe inside. We immediately assume what they are doing is incorrect, simply because they are executing it differently than we would. Take a step back and try to first understand why they are performing a process/task/etc. in that way. Why? You can’t improve something until you have the whole picture (as-is state). On the flip side, you might learn a new trick or two ;)
5. It’s ok to be nervous
I have a secret that I will reveal to my junior professionals: Many (if not every) senior professionals are nervous when they start a new position, make a new contact, or try to close a new deal. No matter how far along you are in your career, it’s ok to be nervous. Even if a senior professional takes a deep breath and puts on the face of a lion, they still might be churning inside, so don’t think you are alone. (They may not admit it to you, but that’s another story ;) ) I truly believe that growth happens when we are most uncomfortable, so try and see the excitement as something good for you. I hope that it means something good is headed your way!
Whether you are starting a new position, taking on more responsibilities, or trying to close a big deal: Always remember to be yourself. Your uniqueness is the best part about you, so don’t hide it away. Oh, and, good luck! I know you can rock this!
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