Starting a New Job

What You Can Do Before Your First Day

By Dawn Rosenberg McKay, About.com Guide

Shortly before my daughter started kindergarten a few years ago we visited the school she was going to attend. She and the other children who were to be starting school with her visited the kindergarten classrooms, met each teacher, and participated in activities. This was my daughter's first "first," or at least her first significant one. Many more will follow, like someday in the distant future, her first day on a new job.

It's really not much different actually, except there probably won't be a formal orientation like the one my daughter had. And when you start a new job you're generally not in the company of others who are also new. Oh no. You're the new kid on the block coming into a situation where relationships have already been formed. You're the only one who can't find the restroom, doesn't know where the supply room and mailroom are located, doesn't yet realize that the custodian wields all the real power, and doesn't know not to talk to the boss until she's had her first cup of coffee. There's so much to learn in addition to the duties related to the job you were hired for. It's quite overwhelming for most of us.

Getting Ready

If it's possible take some time off between jobs -- maybe a week or two. You'll need this time to separate from your previous workplace. Leaving co-workers behind can be very difficult. The number of hours spent at work far exceeds the number of hours spent anywhere else. The relationships, good and bad, are usually very strong ones. Sometimes it can be very cozy, and other times it can be like a big dysfunctional family. You may not always like those you work with; sometimes you can barely tolerate them. But, you do get used to being around the same people day after day.

Take the time you have off to do some research. Learn all you can about your new employer. Learn about their product lines, their philosophies, and their corporate culture. Call around to see if anyone in your network knows any of your future co-workers and ask that person to introduce you prior to your first day. Wouldn't it be nice to see a friendly face when you walk through the door on your first day?

Plan what you're going to wear during the first week of work. Remember, you'll want to wear your most conservative outfits to start off, until you figure out what's appropriate and what isn't. See what needs to go to the dry cleaner or the tailor, what needs to be washed and ironed, and what needs to be replaced. This will save you from having to take care of those things when you may be coming home tired. That first week of a new job can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

Plan the route you'll take to work as well as some alternate routes. Should there be traffic, or if a train line is out of service, you'll be glad you did this.


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