Get eight tips for nixing the new-job jitters.
So you’ve accepted a challenging new staff or contract position. Mazel tov!
You know your professional track record has earned you a rightful place at this table. Still, it’s human nature to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing half the time. When starting a new role, even the most accomplished professionals worry about underperforming and getting the boot.
Following are eight ways to push through self-doubt your first few weeks on the job and set yourself up for success.
Understand expectations. If you’re unsure of the goals for your role and the projects you’ve been assigned, ask your boss for clarification.
Network your way through the office. Set up one-on-one meetings with your co-workers. They possess a goldmine of information that won’t necessarily come up in group settings. (Think workflow shortcuts and tips on what sets management off.) Bring a notebook and document everything. If you work remotely, set up phone or video calls. At the end of each conversation, get suggestions for other colleagues who might be helpful to talk to.
Ask informed questions. In your zeal to hit the ground running, you might want to appear as though you don’t need guidance. Resist this urge. If scouring the internet and corporate handbooks doesn’t help, consult a co-worker or manager.
Think before suggesting. Listen, observe and get the lay of the land before voicing unsolicited opinions. Unless asked to make recommendations, avoid telling colleagues you know a better way to do the task at hand. There may be political, technical or budgetary reasons for their preferred method. No one likes a know-it-all who just joined the team five minutes ago.
Admit your mistakes. If you goof, don’t try to cover it up. Enlist help. Ensure you understand the process so that you get it right the next time. Any reasonable colleague should appreciate your honesty.
Relieve stress early and often. Take all the deep breaths you need. Make decompression a priority when you get home: meditate, cook, read a book, listen to music, snuggle with your dog, take a brisk walk or whatever else helps you unwind.
Phone a friend. Share your insecurities with a trusted pal or colleague who works elsewhere. Also check LinkedIn to see whether any contacts with experience in a similar role at another company can offer advice.
Give yourself a pep talk. Revisit your résumé and work samples to remind yourself that you’ve got this. Rather than dwell on your intimidation, draw inspiration from your smart, talented colleagues. Remind yourself that your coworkers all faked it until they made it, too. In time, you’ll be the one showing the latest hire the ropes.