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The Twenty-Something’s Guide To Starting A New Job

Nervous to start your new job? Don't be--you got this. Read these tips to have a flawless first day!

It has been approximately six weeks since I started my first full-time paid job in the field I want to devote my career to. I was extremely excited when I got the call offering me a job, and I accepted immediately.

I signed the contract and then, all of a sudden, the anxiety started. Doubts raced through my mind endlessly: What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? What if they accidentally hired me and meant to call someone else? These self-deprecating beliefs and other anxieties continuously circled through my mind, and I had a hard time controlling them.

Starting a new job is scary, there’s no denying this. There’s no way around the anxiety that settles in the night before you’re going to walk into the office for the first time as an employee. The drive to work that first morning is terrifying as you know you are getting closer and closer to the office with every turn. However, there are ways to handle the anxiety and it is possible to settle in to a new position seamlessly.

Check out the tips below if you find yourself starting a new job and unsure of how to handle the emotions that cause you fear and anxiety in the beginning weeks:

Ask Questions

If you’re anything like me, you will be afraid that you are asking too many questions. Honestly, though, asking questions shows that you care, and are committed to doing your job properly. How will you get better if you don’t try to absorb the knowledge of your coworkers and supervisor?

Every job has different questions that are appropriate based on the type of work, but these are some good questions that pertain to any job:

1. What is your favorite part of working here?

2. What is your least favorite part of working here?

3. (And, my favorite) How do you work the fax machine?

By asking questions, you also prove your humility. You are willing to swallow your pride and say you need help. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that once you ask a question and get an answer, try not to repeat the question. Write the answers down in your work journal (how to do this is covered in our e-course!).

If someone offers to show you how to work the fax machine, pay attention so you can do it by yourself the next time.

Trust Your Abilities

You impressed your employer during the interview, and passed the reference and background checks. You were hired for a reason, because you have the qualities your employer was looking for. Trust that. Embrace the fact that you were picked out of a pool of applicants because it was decided that you would be a good fit.

Utilize the skills that you already possess and work with your supervisor to improve the skills that you haven’t quite mastered yet.

Be confident in who you are, and what you have to offer but realize that we are all works in progress. Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. You are allowed to make mistakes.

Seek Out Learning Opportunities

Is there a meeting that you aren’t required to attend? Or a training during lunch that is optional? Go!

Put yourself out there and show your employer that you are willing to do whatever it takes to learn how to do the job the best that you can. By trying to find ways to better yourself in the position, you don’t get stuck into a routine and fall into the trap of being comfortable.

The second you tell yourself, “Yeah, I got this” is the very second everything will crumble. Sure, it’s great to be confident but your confidence should not be affecting your desire to keep learning and growing.

Practice Self-Care!

I would argue that this is the most important tip I have mentioned. If you’re like me and this is your first full-time job, you and your body are not used to working 40 hours/week and waking up early. You aren’t used to fueling your body properly and healthily. You don’t know how to take time for yourself to relax and unwind.

When you start a job (and as you continue in it), it’s critical that you practice self-care. You will sink extremely fast if you don’t learn how to take care of yourself, body and mind. It’s hard, it takes work, and it will constantly change as our lives do. But, it is extremely important to make self-care a central part of our existence as budding twenty-something professionals.

Can’t quite figure out how to work self-care in your schedule? Here’s a workbook to help you narrow down your strategy, sort out what keeps you relaxed, and put it all into practice:

Free Self-Care Strategy Workbook In-page

Still feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Change is difficult, but you don’t have to navigate it by yourself. Use the above tips to transition into a new job. Let yourself be happy that you have accomplished this and continue to push yourself as you grow into your new position.

Have more tips to share with the GenTwenty community? Let us know! Tell us in the comments how you have managed starting a new job and some things you have done to manage the fear and excitement that surrounds this big change.

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About the Author

Mae L'Heureux

Originally from New England, Mae L'Heureux is a twenty-something mental health advocate learning to navigate the ups and downs of her twenties. After graduating from Assumption College in 2014 with a Bachelor or Arts in psychology and human services & rehabilitation studies, Mae spent a year living in the Midwest and serving at a nonprofit mental health organization. She hopes to one day become a mental health nonprofit professional, helping individuals on their recovery journeys. In her free time, Mae loves writing, traveling, and immersing herself into a good book. Her love can be bought with a bowl of ice cream and a cuddly kitten.


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