Tips for a Stress-Free Start to Your First Job

First JobBy Danny Goldin, Special to CareerBuilder

Worrying fails to accomplish anything, yet that certainly doesn't stop anyone from doing it, especially when they start their first-ever full-time job. For those in that position, here are some tips to make your first few days and weeks on the job as stress-free as possible:


1. Know that your worries are normal, but also irrational.

Everyone experiences doubts before they start a new job, and -- unfortunately -- those worries might be amplified for the first few days after you start. It would actually be unusual if you didn't ask questions of yourself like, "Am I right for this job?," "Can I handle these responsibilities?" and "Do my co-workers think I'm a fool?"

If you find yourself asking these questions, just remember that your company hired you for a reason. As you are probably well aware of, companies do not take hiring someone for a full-time job the least bit lightly. They've reviewed your résumé, dissected your interview and have decided that they want to pay you to work for them. Yes, you're going to make mistakes. Just try to learn from them and not make them again. As long as you put forth an effort during the workday and don't slack off, you'll be just fine.



2. If you feel overwhelmed, prioritize.

You'll probably feel overwhelmed in the first few days or weeks of your job, because everything will be new to you. You'll probably have a number of things to get done that have been handed down to you by your supervisor, and possibly by several different people, depending on your situation.

When you feel overwhelmed, be sure to prioritize. It's perfectly acceptable to go to your supervisor and say, "I have this, and this and this on my plate. I'll most definitely be getting them all done, but I wanted to know from you which task is the most important, and how I should prioritize these tasks." You will most likely have some tasks that take several hours, days or even weeks to complete. The people around you know this, and -- unless there's a specific deadline -- aren't expecting you to get everything done in the first day or week.



3. Be on time.

Be on time in the morning and don't make it a habit to leave early. If you have a doctor's appointment or another conflict, that's fine, but let your manager know as early as possible. If you know on Monday morning that you have a doctor's appointment on Thursday afternoon, tell your supervisor on Monday morning, not late Wednesday, and certainly not on Thursday. Also, before you leave the office each day, be sure to go to your supervisor and ask them if there's anything you can do before packing up your stuff. Sometimes you just want to get out, but your manager will really appreciate if you check in with him or her before leaving.



4. Gather a crew for lunch.

On one hand, you can save a lot of money and eat healthier by bringing your lunch to work. Still, when you start out, try gathering a crew of fellow co-workers to go eat with once or twice a week. Lunch break is a social time, and building relationships at your office is very important. Not only will you be happier during the day if you like the people around you, but it's also important for your job security; you want people to care about you and "have your back." As long as you act genuinely and give people and chance to get to know you, developing meaningful relationships should not be a problem.


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Danny Goldin researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.com. Follow @CareerBuilder on Twitter.

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