Cathryn Curry Hasz
August 24, 2015 7:26 am

Starting a new job can be wicked exciting, as well as extremely terrifying. You’ve decided it’s time to walk away from your old job, and are saying goodbye to your comfort zone. It’s exciting! It’s cool! It can also be really stressful. But don’t worry about it: You’ve got this. Here are some quick things that will help you be all you can be in your new gig.

Start small

Instead of overwhelming yourself immediately with a 20-year plan in your new position, try setting up some tiny, totally achievable goals. Like “today I will figure out where the restroom and break room are” or “I’m going to learn three new co-workers’ names.” That way you can accomplish things without feeling like you immediately need to advance to upper management. You’re cool. It takes everyone some time to orient themselves.

Think about long-ish goals within the first couple weeks

After you’ve learned the lay of the land, you can start thinking in terms of things you might like to do at your new workplace. Maybe that’s seeing a six-month project all the way through. Maybe that’s talking to your manager about a new organization system or a new avenue for your work. Long-ish projects are a good way to track how you’re doing in your job, and to help you through periods where you’re not feeling as inspired (happens to us all!). You can ask your co-workers about their long-ish term goals, too, to get a sense of where you should be aiming.

It’s totally cool to have a learning curve

No matter how big of a rock star you were at your last job, you are in a new place now, and it’s OK if you aren’t immediately at the same place you were. The new company has different practices, habits and probably an entirely different company culture. You probably won’t know all you need for quite some time. Be patient with yourself while you’re learning the ropes. It’s cool!

Remember that making work friends takes time

It’s not easy walking into a new company and making friends. The folks around you have worked together for a certain amount of time and have had opportunities to bond and establish friendships. Keep in mind that it’s not instant, and networking and establishing connections are things that evolve over time. But it totally will happen.

Even Steve Jobs had a first day

Your new team and boss do not expect you to come into the company and start running the show. Even if you are brought in to the company at a high level, you are given a grace period to learn the background on your group or program, and to feel out the way things are run. In time they will expect you to step up and make changes, but definitely not day one.

As a basic rule, many managers say you have about four months to get acclimated before you are expected to produce anything. So just like a student on the first day of school, come to work excited and ready to absorb all the information that’s about to be thrown at you.

Most of all, keep your chin up. The first six months to a year of a job are probably more stressful and less exciting than we first anticipate. Remember that your team and manager are ecstatic to have you. They were impressed with your skills and they hired you out of a big pool of people. You’ve got this.

[Image via 20th Century Fox]

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