Tomorrow, after a turbulent couple of months, I start a brand-new job. I’m excited. I’m proud of my new job role. I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine, meeting new people and getting stuck into a new challenge that will push me and help me to grow. But I’m also very nervous to be the ‘new girl’ all over again.
A couple of months ago, I made the difficult decision to leave a great job working with wonderful friends, to pursue a new adventure that promised to be an exciting step forward in my career. I was thrilled with my new job role and couldn’t wait to get started. I was going to be writing about holidays and the great outdoors – two things that I am passionate about. This new job was right up my street. My dream job!
However, sadly, the reality of it was very different and I instantly realised that I had made a mistake. The working environment and atmosphere were all wrong and I felt uncomfortable and negative about the whole situation, even in my first week. I won’t go into all the juicy details, but I quickly decided it wasn’t right for me for many reasons. I was extremely unhappy and I chose to leave, against lots of people’s advice (even though they had my best interests at heart).
I found myself temporarily unemployed, yet so much happier. Like a heavy and crushing weight had been lifted off my shoulders so that I could be myself again. The cloud had been lifted and I could see how sad my job had been making me in such a short space of time. Leaving a brand-new job was another tough decision to make and although it had sounded like the perfect company and career for me, the reality of my dream job turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I don’t regret taking that leap of faith and trying to pursue something that I love, but there is no denying that the past couple of months have been a difficult and turbulent learning curve. After leaving my job, I suddenly had no income and a lot of time on my hands. This could have caused me to fall into a dark and miserable place, but instead, I found the positives and the exciting opportunities in front of me. I chose the ‘glass half-full’ attitude. After all, for the first time ever, I had time to do some freelancing and to focus on myself. I had more time to spend with my wonderful family and to go for long and invigorating walks with my dog to recuperate and recharge. And above all, I had plenty of time to find a more suitable job, putting all my effort into job searches and application forms.
I have worked hard to find and apply for jobs, being extra careful about what I am looking for. This experience has certainly taught me more about what I want from a job and what I value most. I thought the work itself and job satisfaction were my priorities, but I have now discovered that other factors like the company culture, commute, team relationships and team morale are equally as important to me.
The past few weeks have been stressful. Job applications have been time-consuming and monotonous. Interviews have been exhausting. But I am glad to say that it all paid off and I found another job fairly quickly. One that’s better than I could have hoped for!
My career has ended up taking a big leap in the right direction and great things have come out of a volatile time in my professional life. Hooray!!
I’ve been looking forward to starting work and getting my feet on the ground in my new job, but I can’t pretend that I’m looking forward to being the ‘new girl’ all over again (especially so soon after having just gone through it too). But I suppose it’s normal to be nervous when you don’t know what to expect and when you’ve been stung before. So, I’m trying my best to prepare myself as much as possible and here are my top tips for calming new-job first-day nerves:
Double check your paperwork
I received a new starter’s pack in the post with lots of information about my new company, including a list of things I need to take with me on my first day. I wouldn’t want to be the one who forgets these things on day one, so my advice is to thoroughly read any letters or emails you receive. You might even have to return some paperwork before your start date.
Ask about your induction
Not knowing what to expect during your first week can cause unnecessary stress, anxiety and worry. So, be bold and ask your new boss what the plan is. It shows enthusiasm and forward-thinking, while also developing a dialogue with your new employer so that your first day doesn’t feel so awkward. When I asked, I even found out that someone else is starting in my team on the same day as me, so it’s nice to know I won’t be alone!
Pack your bag the night before
I used to do this when I was in school and it is a routine I still try to maintain now. I’m not much of a morning person (I’m more like a bleary-eyed monster at 7am!). Every morning I find that I’m in a rush, no matter how much time I give myself to wake up and get ready. So, to make sure I don’t forget anything in my half-awake/ half-asleep daze, I’ll be packing my bag the night before my first day, including my mug (an absolute essential), stationary, note book and a plant to make my new desk feel like home.
Plan your commute
There is nothing worse that running late on your very first day when you want to make a good impression, so make sure your journey to work is well planned and leave in plenty of time. It is better to arrive early than late, so check out your bus routes and train times, find the nearest car park or map out your route for a nice, easy journey to the office. If your commute is long, try to find the simplest option which will allow you to make good use of your commuting time, such as sitting back and listening to a podcast or reading a book on the train.
Make your lunch the night before
You never know how your first day will pan out, so I think it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make your lunch the night before. That way, you can join your new colleagues, get to know them and socialise at lunch time, instead of dashing out to the nearest shop for a lonely meal deal. If you all end up going out for a first-day-lunch, your pasta salad will keep in the fridge overnight and be waiting for you the next day, so nothing’s lost there.
Choose your outfit of the day
As making a good first impression is so important, it is wise to check if there is a dress code ahead of your first day. My new office is ‘smart-casual’ which is very open to interpretation, so I’m playing it safe and opting for more smart than casual. Tonight, I’ll be picking out my clothes for the morning and making sure they are well ironed and presentable. The last thing I want to be doing is rushing to iron a creased blouse or stressing about what to wear when I’m half-asleep, which will inevitably result in missing my train!
Take a deep breath and relax
I like to have an early night before starting a new job so that I can unwind and relax, get a good night of sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. If you can’t sleep when you go to bed early, you could simply snuggle up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book; watch a funny film; or even listen to some calming music. A bit of escapism goes a long way in distracting you when you’re worried or anxious about something.
Finally, smile and enjoy your first week
When you take your first steps into your new workplace, be excited for the journey you are about to embark on. Show your new colleagues that you’re happy to be there and you’ll be greeted with smiles in return. You’ve already done brilliantly to get where you are and now it is time to enjoy getting to know people, making new friends, learning new things and settling into your next chapter!