So it’s been a long while since my last post. See if you can guess why, based on the title of this one! Yep, that’s right, I started a brand-shiny-new job earlier this month. I’ve been experience a whole lot of emotions – mostly good, but even really good emotions can be quite exhausting. So I’ve been trying to take good care of myself, and in the midst of that, blogging has been pushed aside.
But, I’m feeling really good and in a little more control of myself now, and I’ve figured out a few things that I think could help others in my position – so, without further ado, here are my top tips for making the transition to a new job easier!
Time. Give yourself plenty of it.
- Ideally, you will have some time off between your previous job and your new job. Make good use of this time! Do chores around the house that you’ve been putting off, organize the cabinets above the refrigerator, steam the curtains, make and freeze meals to have on busy weeknights. Chores are about the last thing you will want to be doing after work and on the weekends for those first few exhausting weeks.
- Make sure you don’t commit to too much during the first month or two of a new job. Even when it’s a positive change, all the elements of that change are so demanding of your emotions and energy. Expect to be much more tired than usual, and don’t take on more than you can handle.
- Wake up earlier than you need to in the morning. This allows you to have a relaxed, calm morning instead of rushing around. Also, you’ll most likely be figuring out all the elements of your new schedule, including what time you need to get to work and the best route – in my case, this includes learning the schedules and locations of multiple train lines and stops as well as the walking route from the stations to my office. So much to figure out! It’s much easier to be rational and calm about this when you’ve got plenty of time to get to work and you’re not worried about getting lost and being late.
Make friends. As many as you can. As soon as possible. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll even like them.
- I’m in sort of a unique position right now as I already know several people at my new company, so luckily I was able to avoid the awkward first day “where do people eat lunch and who will I eat with” conundrum (which is my absolute biggest worry usually). And while it is wonderful to have a couple familiar faces, it’s still really really important to be friendly, positive, and outgoing – always, but especially in the first couple of weeks at a new job. People need to know right from the start that you’re approachable and nice.
- First impressions can often be incorrect; so, even if you don’t like someone at first, it’s best to be friendly and establish a good relationship from the start. If it turns out that you really don’t like that person, you won’t have lost anything; but if the situation were reversed, you could have lost out on a great friend!
- Friends at work are essential for liking your job (and, by extension, your life)! It sounds extreme, but I have been in situations where I had no friends at work, and during those experiences, I was miserable – and I was doing the exact same type of work I am doing currently! Having people at work to talk to, laugh with, eat lunch with, and ask advice of really makes SUCH a difference to your job satisfaction.
Ask questions. Lots and LOTS of them.
- Now is your golden opportunity – a brief window of time that will never come again, so take advantage of it! You are brand new to the company, the department, and maybe even the career. Ask questions. A ton of them. After you’ve been in the position for a while, a question might seem silly and you might be afraid to ask. So now’s the time!
- When you do ask all those questions that pop into your head, make sure to write down the answers. If you’re in a conversation with no pen and paper, make it a point to remember the key concepts and write them down immediately when you return to your desk. This way, you can avoid asking questions multiple times, and writing things down tends to solidify them in our brains.
Take good care of yourself physically and mentally.
- Now is not the time to go on any crash diets OR to exist on fast food and coffee. Eating healthy makes you feel healthy, which is incredibly important when starting out in a new position. So make sure you’re eating lots of veggies, whole grains, fruits, and healthy sources of protein such as beans, lentils, nuts, or egg whites. Drink lots of water and herbal tea and avoid things that are too heavy or fried, which can leave you feeling sluggish – not the impression you want to give at a new job!
- Get plenty of sleep. I can’t stress enough how important this has been for me these past few weeks. There was one morning in particular where I was especially tired because I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before, and I felt crabby and just not like being very sociable at all. It really sunk in then how much of a difference it makes to have gotten good sleep the night before. This makes it quite important to be getting enough sleep throughout the transition to a new job – but really, just in general I think this is good advice.
- Schedule time to zone out. You don’t necessarily have to go comatose, but it is wonderfully freeing to have time blocked into your day that permits you to do whatever you want. You can watch a half-hour program, read a guilty pleasure novel, check up on your Facebook account, take a little nap, call a friend, listen to music, or whatever you do when you’re doing nothing.
- Spend free time with positive people. Surround yourself with people you love who are uplifting and nourishing to your soul – family and good friends usually do the trick!
- Make sure to exercise. Unfortunately, exercise tends to seem optional to me when I’m already busy with a whole host of other responsibilities. But exercise is such a great stress reliever (read: calming!) and it will make you feel more confident so you’re more likely to be sociable and friendly at work. So, though it can seem optional, it’s really quite essential for success in your life. It doesn’t have to be a lot. The 15-minute brisk walk from the train station to work (and the 15-minute walk back) add up, and if you can fit in a short jog before work or a yoga class afterward, all the better!
The oldest advice in the book: be yourself.
- It’s really, really true, and something I’m just fully learning how to do. Comparing yourself to other people and trying to emulate their attributes never completely works. It is so hard but so important to figure out who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to live YOUR unique life. I don’t have a lot of advice on this subject as I am just recently starting to really grow in this way, but I think spending some time alone every once in a while is important. Figure out who you are when you’re by yourself, and make it a point to maintain that identity when you’re around other people with different personalities. It can be tricky, but I think the passing of time makes it easier to know who you are.
- Something that can make a transition easier is bringing along an item that reminds you of home. It can be a picture of a loved one, but it doesn’t have to be. Good items for the office are your favorite coffee mug, a nice scented hand cream, a favorite quote on an index card, or a cozy cardigan. Anything that reminds you of home can serve as a reminder that no matter where you go, you’re still you – unique and amazing and wonderful you!
I think that about wraps up my tips for making an easier job transition. I think a lot of this advice really translates to life in general, so these things are worth giving some thought to even if you’re not switching careers. And if you are, good luck out there! Change can be tough, but it’s almost always worth it. So take care of yourself, be friendly and approachable, and above all, be yourself!