Ensuring New Job Success
“I felt like I won the lottery,” says Melissa Luckman, a New York City public-school teacher, after landing a new job as a guidance counselor. “I applied to more than 250 jobs and only got one interview prior to this one. The interview went well. I got a call the very same day, offering me the position.”
Melissa’s excitement came with a nervousness about starting something new and unknown. “I was jumping out of my skin. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so excited,” Melissa notes. “But I was also nervous that I couldn’t live up to what they saw in the interview.”
Whether this is your first job or your tenth, starting a new job comes with many emotions, fears and questions. “It’s a whole new environment,” says John Challenger, workplace expert and CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an international outplacement consulting firm. “It’s common for people to question ‘will I last? Will I be able to fit in? Will my boss be good or bad? Will it be what I thought it was or what was promised? Am I going to be successful here?’”
Don’t let that bring you down, though. There were more than 1.3 million new jobs created in 2007 alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, 1.3 million people faced similar questions and uncertainties.
Some anxiety also comes from the pressure people put on themselves about the image they will portray. When starting a new job, it’s important to make—and continue to make—great first impressions. “Go to work everyday as if it were your first day on the job,” suggests Susan Morem, president of Premier Presentation, a training and consulting firm, and author of How to Gain the Professional Edge: Achieve the Personal and Professional Image You Want. “Really think about what you’re wearing and how you are acting. Everything that you would do on an interview still applies.”
While this doesn’t mean you need to dress in a three-piece suit everyday, you should keep your attire a notch above the rest for at least your first 30 days in a new job. And, make sure your actions show you as a professional individual ready to work with the new team. Melissa took this advice to heart and bought herself a few new outfits to go with her new job. “Having something new that I felt great in helped ease some of the anxieties I had about starting something so new,” she remembers.
Remember, it’s OK to be nervous, but focus on the exciting journey of starting a new job. The important thing is to take this time to learn all you can about your new workplace, your co-workers and your boss.