Hey! New Kid

How to lose the jitters on the first day at a new company.

When’s the last time you were the new kid? For many folks who’ve worked their way up into the senior ranks, their last memories of first-day jitters may be distant indeed.

There are a couple of challenges at work for senior employees making the switch to a new company: Their expectations about workplace mores and rhythms may have slipped into a well-worn groove based on years of success, and their first days will be far more visible than those of more-junior colleagues.

One of my most rigorous new-kid moments occurred when I took over the Web site operations for a magazine company with a varied portfolio of titles. I inherited a staff of 50 in three cities, representing about 10 specialized topics and a range of functional specialties.

Before I started, I made a point of contacting the senior members of my team as well as my future colleagues to speak with them about the good, bad and ugly of the company and our department’s role. And I walked straight out of the mandatory HR orientation into a conference room where I’d requested a meeting with all 30-some members of our New York team. It was a high-stress moment for me, but it also broke the ice and got me off to a running start.

How have you beaten the new-kid jitters? Please write in with your experiences, and maybe we can share them in future coverage.