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Changing Jobs: What to Expect When You Start a New Job

Christine McDade is an experienced Human Resources professional in the public sector. She has worked for over 20 years in local government.

Opening the door to the new office on the first day of employment can be a daunting task for most.

Opening the door to the new office on the first day of employment can be a daunting task for most.

New Job, What's the Big Deal?

Anyone who has recently started a new job can attest to the challenges that such a situation places on self-worth and personal identity. The familiarity associated with knowing coworkers, how to navigate office politics or even where to get a good cup of coffee can attribute to how well the day goes for employees in today's workplace. When starting a new job, it is important for a new employee to be ready to meet some bumps along the way of becoming a regular, accepted member of the team. Patience and understanding of what lies ahead will result in the wisdom needed for success in the new job.

Change Is Stressful

Regardless of the circumstances, changing a job is stressful. Besides the pressure that the individual experiences from his/her own uncertainty about the decision, there is often pressure experienced from other's reactions to the change. Family and friends who are usually supportive may express opinions that are less than desirable, placing extra worries on the new employee. Along with the death of a loved one, job loss and the subsequent new job, ranks high on a list of stressful life changes an individual must face.

Know Your Route

Being prepared to start the new job includes being familiar with the route to take to the work site.

Being prepared to start the new job includes being familiar with the route to take to the work site.

Preparation Is Key

Planning ahead for this major life change will help a new employee feel better about the new career adventure and transition process. The following list consists of basic steps a new employee can take before the first day of employment:

  1. Take time off before starting the new job. If practical and financially feasible, an individual should make an effort to take some time off between jobs. As one is generally not allowed to take any personal leave or vacation time off for a while in a new job, it is always advisable to take an often, much-needed, break from the world of work. Spending quality time with family and friends before the start of a new job is very beneficial to an individual. An individual benefits from being both physically and mentally rested when starting a new job.
  2. Shop for a new wardrobe. If possible, buy new clothes for the new job. In some cases, the new job may need a change in attire from what the individual has worn at the previous job. It is helpful to contact the new supervisor or Human Resources Department to find out what is acceptable at the new workplace. Every work culture is unique, and requires some minor investigation on the part of the new employee before starting on their first day of work. Sometimes, the change will be to a more conservative or to a more "laid back" work environment. Contacting the folks at the new job for such information will get the individual off to a good start.
  3. Research the new company. Many job applicants recognize the value of doing research on a company before the job interview. The same tactic applies to the new employee who is about to venture into a new job opportunity. Check the company website, speak to current employees and/or review trends and any related news about the company. Being informed before the start of the job is very beneficial.
  4. Test drive the route to the office. Unless the new job is relatively close to where the individual worked previously, it is advisable to do a test drive to the new office, at the normal starting time, to decide the drive time needed to get to work on time. New employees often neglect doing so because of the assumption that he/she knows where they are going and, therefore, confident that commute will be without issue. However, it is a good idea to try alternate routes and recognize traffic patterns that can challenge anyone in their daily commute to work, whether a new job or one they have had for some time.
  5. Know Parking Options. In addition to knowing the best route for arriving to work on time, it is crucial that an employee knows where he/she can park their vehicle. Many employers designate specific areas in parking lots for employees. Knowing where in the lot to park may not be obvious to the unfamiliar visitor. Metropolitan areas often make a parking garage or public transportation routes components of a new job.

Being ready for that important new role takes time and effort to plan for a seamless first day. Basic points as described above are often overlooked by new employees and their employers. By planning ahead for such matters, the new employee will focus his/her attention on more important matters in the new job.

Accepting the Unavoidable Challenges That Await You

Starting the new job will be challenging as it humbles the new employee to realizing that he/she must prove themselves in their new workplace. While the new employee was accepted, respected and successful in the previous job, starting over in a new job means going through the same challenges anyone faces when encountering something new.

No workplace comes without its characters and employee drama. Accepting the notion that there will inevitably be challenges as a new employee will help during the transition into the workplace. Building trusting work relationships with the boss and coworkers, finding a way to fit in with the work team and understanding the challenges that will inevitably come their way will ease the transition for the new employee.

Personalize Your Workspace

To help with the assimilation into the new workplace, personalize the work space to include favorite photos, books, desk lamp, etc.

To help with the assimilation into the new workplace, personalize the work space to include favorite photos, books, desk lamp, etc.

Embrace the Newness of the Role

While accepting a new job is challenging, it is important for the new employee to remember that he/she was recruited to this new team. In other words, the employer selected the individual while others in the same hiring process were not. The requirements of the job were met with the new employee's qualifications and confirmed professional background. New employees should feel confident from the start of the new position because he/she is filling a specific need in an organization. It is an opportunity to contribute to a new endeavor with their own assets becoming part of the overall effort to meet strategic goals and objectives.

Accept Assistance From Coworkers

Starting over in the workplace is a humbling experience. As the new employee in the workplace, an individual must develop new working relationships with coworkers who are already established in their roles on the team. The new employee is introduced to current employees who help with the transition. By asking questions and demonstrating a sincere interest to learn about the new role, coworkers will appreciate the willingness to absorb the newness of the job.

New employees must be authentic as they work with others in the workplace. Trust develops the more time passes with the new employee who later contributes to the overall success of the organization. New employees will have to use their judgment when dealing with the challenges that a new role places on them. Asking questions and engaging in productive discussions about work will benefit all.

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Recognize the "Honeymoon" Will End

As a new employee, the introductory period is a "honeymoon" period when all is good in the new working relationship. Knowing all the functions of the job, understanding where to find the right training, understanding the workplace culture, etc., are important demands placed on a new employee. Management supports them during the transition with the understanding that assimilation of all aspects of the job will take time. However, the new employee should not take this period for granted as there are still expectations of milestones achieved during this introductory period.

The new employee must show an eagerness to learn while working with others who are constantly monitoring their work progress. It is prudent for new employees to ask questions when in doubt about a work matter and to gain regular feedback from his/her supervisor about their performance. No workplace is without its characters who may make life interesting with some unnecessary challenges geared toward the new employee during the early stages of the introductory period.

Patience is necessary during this period as mistakes will be made and feedback provided for continued professional growth. Personal accountability and recognizing those moments as opportunities to do better will lead to a successful working relationship between the new employee and the workplace.

Being Part of a Winning Team

Being a part of a new winning team takes time and patience to be successful.  New employees must work hard to build trust with coworkers for a rewarding work experience.

Being a part of a new winning team takes time and patience to be successful. New employees must work hard to build trust with coworkers for a rewarding work experience.

Understand the Value of Patience and Effort

Accepting a new job takes courage, persistence and hard work. It is not easy to make such a change, as there is always pressure to meet the financial demands required to live a secure and stable life. A new job is an opportunity for professional growth and experience that staying in the same job might not offer.

Such a change will also allow the development of new working relationships which will serve an individual throughout his/her professional career. Awareness of the potential pitfalls while keeping focused on the bigger picture of a valuable work experience will make the transition more successful for the new employee. Being patient with the challenges that come will arm the new employee for a worthwhile work experience.

First Day Jitters?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2016 Christine McDade


Christine McDade (author) from Southwest Florida on September 08, 2016:

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad your transition has been good. Your many years at the former job will provide a sound foundation for your new job. I bet your coworkers are glad you are part of their team.

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on September 08, 2016:

Yes thanks for this, I left a job of 20 years, and all that was mentioned here were a major concern. I am happy I don't really need to adjust that much to my new officemates. I have never regret my decision.

johnmariow on September 07, 2016:

Excellent advice for anyone changing jobs. Thanks for a very educational well written hub.

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