The worst day for any employee is the first day. ANXIETY ANXIETY ANXIETY sets in. I think this day is harder than the interview.

Your thoughts are spinning:

“I don’t know what to do.”

“I don’t know who to ask.”

“Will I look dumb?”

Here’s what you need to remember: Your employer doesn’t expect you to get the job down pat on the first day.

From their point of view, the first few weeks are “on-boarding” and training time. This is when they’re expecting you to learn your role, not all on Day 1. During this introductory period, they expect you to start slow and then “ramp up” to fully filling your role.

Why not take this on-boarding time to learn rather than panicking that you need to master your position really fast? Say to yourself, “I have time to learn this job and to learn about how the company works.”

It might make it easier if you think of another time in your life when you had to start something new. Maybe learning a sport, or the first day of high school, or how to drive a car, maybe even a summer job. Did you learn it ALL on the first day? Or did you succeed over time?

Once you have some of those experiences in mind to reflect on and soothe the anxiety, you can start to think about how you want to perform at your new job.

With a calmer mind, read through these five tips so you can make this new job experience even better:

  1. Remember that anxiety is normal. Don’t freak out about feeling anxious. Knowing that it’s completely normal can lessen the anxiety you feel. [Click here for tips on beating Anxiety] ….
  2. Be curious. Observe for awhile. You can hold off on asking questions until you’ve gotten a better sense of how things work. The job will reveal itself once you watch for awhile.
  3. Take notes. At the end of each day, try to connect the dots about your observations from the day. How do things work in your department? What are the processes? How do all the details create a bigger picture?
  4. Ask great questions. Instead of just asking every single question that pops into your mind as you think of it, ask questions about your observations and the conclusions you’re drawing about how things work. This will get you better answers because you’re getting to the reasons behind the details. It will organize your thinking and you’ll remember the information better.
  5. Look around for a peer at your level who can be your mentor / buddy. You don’t have to do this alone. Get the support you need. Building relationships with your team will not only help you learn, it will also help you feel more comfortable and at home.

Remember, everyone has a first day!

If you’re overwhelmed with anxiety and could use some support getting into an effective first-day mindset, learn how coaching can help.[click here to work with me]

Image by Fabian Moller, Unsplash