You’ve devoted hours, days, even months to landing your new job. Now instead of joy the strongest emotion you feel is… terror. Unfortunately, fear-based thoughts limit your potential. They are the foundation for self-fulfilling prophecies. Your beliefs are about more than the level of potential you can achieve. Your level of potential incites your action. Action, of course, inspires your results.
Start by believing you’ll be successful in your new job. Why? Because being positive will bring positive results. You might not feel like smiling but it turns out even a fake grin can lower your blood pressure. Don’t feel badly. Your first day of work is about fighting not just your evolutionary instincts but even the advice of old mom and dad. Feeling fearful in unfamiliar environments is what’s kept humans safe for eons. Plus, didn’t your parents warn you about strangers? So, take a deep breath. Take a look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me.” Here’s how to be successful in a new job.
1. Say ‘Hi’
Your first day of work might recreate the horrors of your first day at a new school. Perhaps you’ll be delivered to each cubicle and office space where you’ll stand awkwardly while a wave of unfamiliar names washes over you. Relax. Whether or not you’re led around like the company mascot, take the time to re-introduce yourself later. Don’t wait for them to come to you. The three reasons people don’t approach others is they worry about bothering people, making mistakes, or worse being rejected altogether. The best way to overcome this? Imagine you’ve been at the job for weeks when a newcomer drops in to say ‘hi.’ Would you be cruel or kind? Hopefully, you would be welcoming. Others will probably be as well.
2. Be Prepared
Think of opening phrases or questions you can ask. Write them down if it helps. Treat every day like a dress rehearsal –– practice your lines and notice what perks up listeners and what puts them to sleep. Being an interested, involved employee from day one is a key ingredient in how to be successful in a new job.
3. The Tip of Your Tongue
That would be the name you’re looking for. It’s right there. Is it Bob? Steve? Turns out most of us are lousy at remembering names. Our brains are actually working against us –– forgetting information is an active, constantly operating mechanism. Our ancestors needed to know what a person looked like and whether or not they were a threat. Their names? Not so much.
The secret is focus. Instead of paying attention to your anxiety or that pressing “welcome” email you need to read, look them in the eyes and say, “Hi, Janet” ––assuming their name is actually Janet. Your first few days probably included a baker’s dozen of new names. When you re-introduce yourself, they will hopefully respond by repeating their own name. This time, try to use it in a sentence. Consider a mnemonic device to help you remember.
4. Dress to Impress
Even in casual workplaces, reconsider your worn-out outfits and stained jeans. Dress for the job you want, not just the one you have. The secret to all those great looking clothes worn on TV shows isn’t the label, it’s the fit. Spending a few extra nickels on a tailor or a seamstress will make all the difference.
5. Add Some Value
Learn how to use the company coffee maker and brew a fresh pot. Bring some healthy snacks. Remember the issues the hiring manager addressed in your interview and spend time working to resolve them. Ask your colleagues and supervisor about ongoing stressors and brainstorm solutions.
As you become comfortable in your new job, seek out mentors and begin to network. Hopefully you’ll be known as the positive, can-do new hire with fresh clothes who never forgets a name. Maybe that wasn’t how you once saw yourself. But it’s who you are now. Congratulations.