As a young professional, your first”real” job is a momentous and once a in a lifetime opportunity. And, as with any new experience, you may feel uncertain about what to expect during your first week on the job.
You may be worried about how your overall performance. Or how quickly you’ll adjust to the new environment. And how to make the best first impression.
Want to thrive in your first week at your job? Expect the unexpected.
No Real Expectations for the First Week
Don’t expect the workplace or your job to be exactly like college. You won’t have marketing or chemistry class every Thursday from 3:00 to 4:30. Every week, and even every day, can be different.
Before you begin your job, write down a few possible scenarios of events that could occur in your first week. Anticipate your actions. Think about how you’ll behave if placed in different settings. This way you’ll feel better prepared for any challenge and won’t feel caught off guard. It is to your advantage to be flexible! Go with the flow, as you never know exactly what you’ll be doing your first week.
Part of being flexible is your ability to have a positive attitude no matter what you may be doing. Being open to anything will create a smooth transition into your new workplace and eventual routine.
Make a Good First Impression
People place great value on first impressions. So it is important you pay attention to how you act, dress and communicate. You must ensure you’re consistent with your workplace and culture.
Research done by professor Frank Bernieri of Oregon State University, shows first impressions are what drive our relationships. We analyze other individuals by a first handshake or hello. This is the concept of thin-slicing; we assess a person by spending just a few seconds with them. Thus, your first week on the job is a critical time for establishing your reputation and credibility.
Be Aware of and Combat Millennial Stereotypes
Individuals could have preconceived notions about millennials in the workforce. This is especially true regarding work ethic and interactions with others. Be aware of the stereotypes. Do what you can to dispel them by being proactive, respectful and flexible.
Some conversations that appropriate in the classroom must be avoided in the workplace. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t introduce yourself to your new colleagues and be friendly. Establish a sense of trust and a connection right away by finding and discussing shared hobbies or interests.
Work and collaborate with people of all ages, as opposed to just your peers. You’ll be spending a lot of time with a diverse set of coworkers, so create positive relationships early on.
Learn As Much As You Can
That structured learning environment from university is now behind you. But you must expect to learn a lot.
At this point no question is a dumb question. You’re nervous that you may make mistakes in an unfamiliar environment. But don’t let this cloud your ability to enjoy the experience and people you’ll be surrounded by. Write things down to help you remember the vast amounts of information you will receive in your first days. Then refer to your notes later, as opposed to asking repetitive questions.
People are impressed by conscientiousness and organization. And you can save the questions you ask for insight into your projects and deeper company topics. No matter how many questions you ask, expect to make some mistakes as you learn. Then be ready to adjust to your new environment and role.
Get Ready to Feel Exhausted
Even workforce veterans who start a new job know: they will be tired during their first couple days. Get ready to feel exhausted!
Transitioning from a university atmosphere to the 9-5 (and beyond) life can take months. Don’t be surprised if your first thought after arriving home in the evening is about lying on the couch. Ensure you go to sleep early during your first week. Plan a bedtime and stick to it to mitigate added tiredness. You’ll need all your energy to absorb new information and adapt to your workplace environment.
Your First Real Job Is Different
You may have interned before, but your first real job is different. Fellow employees will treat you differently as a full-time employee and hold you to higher expectations. You are responsible for when, where and how complete your work.
Be a self-starter and jump right in. Be proactive and ask your new supervisor “How can I help?”
Showcasing your work ethic and dedication early on is important. But also ensure you are taking breaks and taking care of yourself. You are responsible for your own time, after all. So if you need to take a break and stretch throughout the day, do so. While it sounds like a contradiction, expect to feel extremely busy. But also have what may feel like too much downtime. Your new boss is probably trying to ease you into the work so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
You’ll also feel like there are thousands of things you don’t know. You’ll learn there are thousands of ways that your working day differs from a day at the university. It takes time to adjust. But in no time you’ll feel like an expert explaining to the next new hire how you successfully pulled off your first week at work!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.