6 genius things you should do during the first week at a new job

Strolling into the office with a huge smile and an air of confidence that says you’re ready to take over the world is how many of us would love to start the first week on a new job, but we all know that scenario is unlikely to happen. IRL, most of us are just trying to contain the inevitable freakout that takes place when we start a brand new gig.

Even if your panic isn’t visible to everyone, all the overwhelming thoughts you have after starting a new job tend to make it difficult to concentrate. There’s so much new stuff to learn, plus new people to meet (with whom you hope with everything you’ve got that you get along). You worry if you’ll survive training and actually be able to master your duties in an acceptable time frame, and if you’ve been out of work for a while, you’re anxious for your first paycheck to hit your bank account.

As much as they suck, those uneasy feelings are totally normal for new hires. In the meantime, there are some genius things you can do in order to make your first week on the job feel like a breeze.

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1Show up early.

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Leaving yourself extra time during the first week allows you to familiarize yourself with the type of commute you’re up against. In the event that it’s a brutal one, you’ll still be able to start your work day feeling relaxed as possible. Other major benefits of getting to work early includes giving yourself a little bit of peace before the office gets busy and demonstrating your strong work ethic, which is sure to impress your new boss.

2Get organized.

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Assuming you like your lovely new place of employment and plan to be there awhile, decorating your work space will help you settle into your new surroundings. Add personal touches to your area like a calendar, photos, an ergonomic office chair, or anything else that helps you feel less like a stranger among your new colleagues.

3Sit back and observe.

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Just paying attention to the office dynamics can teach you more about your workplace than the official job manual. You’ll get to see who the power players are, who works best with one other, areas where you could potentially step up and make a difference, and some situations and people with whom you should tread lightly.

4Introduce yourself.

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Instead of waiting on people to ask, “Who’s the new person?” take the initiative to introduce yourself to coworkers or anyone you meet hanging out in the break room or near the water cooler. It might feel kind of awkward, but getting the introductions out of the way helps you break the ice and make a great impression.

5Offer to help.

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Although you’re still learning the ropes yourself, volunteering to assist in some capacity shows that you’re an independent worker and a self-starter who doesn’t have to be told what to do. Basically, all the delightful things bosses love to hear about their top employees (which you’ll be one of very soon).

6Agree to have lunch with a coworker.

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Although you certainly shouldn’t feel pressure to become besties with a person you barely know, spending a few minutes to get better acquainted with someone who knows your new work environment better than you do can teach you how to smoothly navigate the office. It also shows anyone who may be looking to see how you fit in with everyone else that you have wonderful people skills necessary to succeed at work.

As national workplace expert Lynn Taylor tells Forbes,

"People want to connect on a humane level in the office; the alternative is a sterile environment with low productivity. So, the more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance. It's the 'office diplomats' with strong emotional intelligence who are most likely to be strong, effective corporate leaders." She adds, "By developing these skills, you'll reduce bad behavior in the office, and your positive approach will be contagious."

Go forth and be that great employee who actually landed the job. Relax, and remember that the first week of new hire awkwardness is normal part of the process that will wear off in no time.