That sense of being on an uncontrolled roller coaster ride doesn't always stop once your job search has ended and you've landed a new job. One minute you're ecstatic about being employed and looking forward to being able to eat something besides mac and cheese. The next, you're freaking out about your new job, worried about looking stupid, not fitting in or making a mistake during the first week. Take a deep breath, relax and get off the roller coaster. You survived the first day of kindergarten, starting college and other new jobs. You can get over your jitters about this job, too.
Congratulate yourself for getting the job. Even if you have doubts, it's obvious that the folks who interviewed and hired you believe you have what it takes. Make up your own mantra, a la "The Little Engine That Could" -- I think I can, I think I can ... -- to help you get through those first days.
Contact your new supervisor a week or two before your start date. Have a phone conversation or, better yet, an in-person meeting to discuss the specific duties and responsibilities of your new job. Ensure that you understand his expectations for you. Find out from him whether there are materials you could study before you get there so you'll be better prepared from day one. If possible, talk to a few of your prospective co-workers as well. This will give you the perspective of those at your peer level in the workplace and can help you mentally prepare.
Build on the research you did before your interview so you know as much as possible about the company, its business and the specifics of your new job. Meet as many people as you can at the new office as soon as you start. Ask your boss to introduce you to your co-workers right away and begin trying to build work relationships with them. If the company has a newsletter or staff directory, take a look at those to get a sense of what's going on and who's who in the company.
Ask questions. No one expects you to know everything right off the bat, and it's better to ask a question than to guess at something and get it wrong. Keep an eye out for a friendly supervisor or co-worker who seems willing to help you get acclimated. Attend all available orientation sessions and training opportunities, and take time to actually read the material and manuals you get from HR.
Be patient with yourself and give yourself permission to "not know everything" on day one. Putting undue pressure on yourself to become fully integrated right away will add to your stress level. Instead, observe those around you to get a sense of the workflow during a day or a week; what the priorities seem to be; and who the respected leaders in the workplace are.
As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.