4 Thoughts Students Have on the First Day of a New Job

By Danni White on August 15, 2017

via Pixabay

Every year, several million students graduate from college and are expected to enter the real world of hard work. Each month, at least several thousand students submit applications and resumes to various job boards and “we’re hiring” companies in the hopes of making the cut.

Looking for a job is exhilarating and pain-staking all at the same time. Once you land a job, congratulations! But beware that a different kind of excitement followed by a little (or a lot) of anxiety takes hold. Trust me, you’ll get through fine as millions of young and old people before you have had to cross this way.

You may be feeling nervous about beginning a new job or working somewhere for the very first time. And such feelings are completely normal. Making the move from full-time student to full-time professional employee can be a huge jump from the pool to the ocean.

In college, much of your time was structured. Classes were set at specific times, and the same went for sports practice, live games, and bedtime if you lived in a campus dorm. You were also, for the most part, only responsible for yourself which included class attendance, health, homework, and grades. You had coaches, professors, mentors, and guidance counselors to serve as a booster along the way.

Now, in the working world, things are different — very different. You are still responsible for yourself and for your work but the whole company or department is relying on you to hold up your end of the deal. A mistake could be costly, even damaging to the reputation of the company and your co-workers. That’s another thing: you now have co-workers, bosses, supervisors, team leads, and managers that you have to choose to get along with.

It would be great if we all could fast forward a month after we’ve settled into our new jobs, but it doesn’t work out that way. Here are some thoughts students have on the first day of their new job and a few suggestions on how to make for a more pleasant experience.

1. I don’t know anyone. Will my co-workers and supervisor like me? I hope I can fit in.

If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, it’s normal. You’re the new kid on the block and will be for a while, and that is always an awkward position to be in. But soon, you’ll get the hang of your job duties and fit right into the team. Just don’t give up too soon.

A good rule of thumb is to be open and personable beforehand. For example, you could find out some of the people you’ll be working with beforehand, connect with them on LinkedIn or friend them on Facebook, let them know you’re a new employee, and ask to meet them for coffee or lunch one day at their convenience. This way, you’ve put your best foot forward and made some connections ahead of your first day.

Doing this can give you an extra boost of confidence and make the first day less stressful.

2. Am I wearing the right things? Is my clothing professional enough?

If you already interviewed and received the position you applied for, you should have a good basic idea of what type of clothing is expected in the workplace. Sometimes the dress is business casual while other times it is more laid-back. Still, some companies want their employees to be creative and forward while other companies prefer a more reserved look.

It is all in the research. How was the recruiter or the interviewer dressed? That may give you some ideas to begin with. As always, when in doubt, don’t be too bashful to ask. Asking what is appropriate attire beforehand can make you feel better about starting your new job on day one.

3. I look lost, fearful, afraid, or feel like I don’t belong.

It is very important to counter feelings with fact. You may not know everything that you will know within a few months. Since you have to start somewhere, it may be a little scary starting out, but just knowing that many other people have walked in your shoes can be comforting.

Remember, you applied for the position and you got hired for the position. That is an accomplishment within itself. Therefore, you do belong. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, remember what you’re there for and what you will learn.

4. I don’t know or understand something.

Ask. Ask. Ask. You may feel as though you are being an annoyance by asking your co-workers or boss a lot of questions or asking for help or checking in with someone to see if you’re on the right track. It may feel that way, but you’re not.

You get ahead by asking questions, getting help, and learning from others. You’re new and there are a few perks to being new including that the people around you who know more than you within the company are obligated to answer your questions and offer their help.

Being the new employee — the rookie — is both exciting and challenging. Like anything else in life, you will have to do some things by trial and error and you will be faced with opportunities and problems. Your goal is to make the best of every situation. Learn all you can. Work as hard as you can. Keep an open mind and make a good impression.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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