There’s almost nothing as good as the end of a job search. You’ve scored the offer. You’re psyched about your new gig. Now all you have to do is show up for your first day of work and go from there, right?
The truth is, sometimes, that’s a whole lot easier said than done. Whether you’ve had a few internships and are just entering your first full-time job, or are a handful of jobs into your career already, here’s how to stay calm as you start things off at a new workplace.
Prepare the night before
Getting there on time — better, early — will save you a lot of nervousness. Whatever you have to do to be extra-early, do it. You can spend the spare time at a nearby coffeeshop before work instead of walking in breathless and frazzled.
How to prepare: choose your clothes the night before so that you don’t spend half the morning searching for the right outfit. Map out your route and keep it handy on your phone, and leave at least 30 minutes for unexpected delays in transportation. And leave enough time for breakfast: crashing halfway through the morning is not an option on your most important day to make an impression. Make sure you are eating well and getting all your major vitamins.
If you’re really a wreck, try a calming tea, like chamomile, to steady your nerves before you leave the house.
Practice productive rituals
No matter how nervous you get, a few quick actions can calm you down fast.
The Northeastern University Career Development Blog provides insight on staying relaxed on the first day.
“Whether you’re excited to the point of shaking or you’re just plain nervous, chances are that you’ll need to take a step back and center yourself. Take some deep breaths, listen to music, stretch, take a hot shower, or sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea before you head over. Your body and your brain will thank you for taking care of them later,” the article reads.
Bathe in compliments and positive remarks
A big part of confidence is psyching yourself up. You can use others as a source of support, even when they’re not around. And it helps to remember that you have the job, so someone must believe in you.
Kayla Kitamorn wrote about this on PayScale’s website.
“Reread your cover letter, letters of recommendation, and other encouraging messages from friends, family, and coworkers. Also make a mental list of people who support you. When you get nervous, pause to remember all the reasons you’re going to be great. You got this,” Kitamorn wrote.
Learn about who you’re working with
While it can be a pleasure to walk into a new place free of any preconceptions, the better option is to do some research on the personalities who are going to be around you. Social codes and an ability to read the room are your most important weapons right now. Getting a sense about your supervisor from others will help you start tailoring your approach to new colleagues.
In a Forbes article, Elena Bajic wrote about how to find out more about your manager upfront.
“Learn as much about your boss ahead of time. Get the inside scoop from people who used to work for him/her. Here are some of the questions you can ask: What kind of management style works for your boss? What does you boss most value in the people who report to him/her? How does your boss fit within the larger power structure at the company?” Bajic wrote.
One tip: don’t believe everything you hear. Every company has people who are embittered or all too willing to talk negatively about others. Remember that their interactions are formed by their individual personalities, and their experience may not be yours. Just keep what you hear in the back of your mind.
Embrace your personality in the office
A positive trend has emerged as more workplaces embrace “the whole human,” or your full personality outside of some professional mask.
Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert and author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” told Business Insider about this idea.
“Think of ways to be relaxed and project yourself as who you are…It’s stressful to try to be someone else, so why bother? You want some consistency in who you are on day one and day 31. If you have the jitters, pretend you’re meeting people at a business mixer or in the comfort of your own home, and that these are all friends getting to know each other. That’s not far from the truth; you’ll be working closely with them and enjoy building the relationship, so why not start now?” Taylor told the publication.
Preparing for a successful next era in your career starts with you— why not begin on a positive note?