The day for your new job starts the night before, notes JobMatch expert Courtney Taborn. In this edition of her career tips and advice, she tells you how to prepare for an anxiety-free first day on the job with a little help from Kendrick Lamar.
1. Attend to physical needs — pack lunch, sleep well, arrive early
If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs it should come as no surprise that attending to your physiological needs is the most important thing you can do for your first day of work. Here’s a quick rundown of them. First, your clothing choice. For those of you who don’t know, we in the United States have a pretty serious love affair going on with our air-conditioning. If you are beginning your new job on the hottest day of the year you need to plan ahead and bring a sweater. Next, be sure to wear clothes and shoes that you are comfortable in. At most offices, the first day includes a walking tour and onboarding tutorials and paperwork which means a lot of sitting and a lot of standing.
2. Prepare for a lot of listening
If you’ve ever explored mindfulness, meditation, or even Bruce Lee’s body of work, you might have heard the quote, “Empty your cup so that it may be filled.” In our interpersonal and professional lives, this means that if you are too eager to impress others you will not be able to take in the information they are trying to share with you. So, how can you incorporate this concept into your first day at a new job? Well, in the words of K. Lamar, “Sit down. Be humble.”
3. Prepare to talk
Ok I know this sounds like the exact opposite of my last point but stick with me. During your first days and weeks at a new job, you are going to be introducing yourself to your coworkers, some of which might be your superiors. If you tend to be an over-thinking anxiety-prone individual like myself, you know how a poorly timed joke can literally wreck your sleep for a week. But I have some good news! Practicing your “elevator speech” can help you avoid the soul-sucking rumination that leaves you feeling as though you’ve made a fool of yourself.
4. Get primal – break bread
Have you ever walked into a meeting and seen a plate of cookies or pizza? Maybe you were having a mediocre day, but then you smell the pizza and feel your face contort into a grin because boy-oh-boy do you love snacks! Of course, in this setting food only means one thing: a room full of folks whose guards are down just enough to connect. So, on your first day if you are lucky enough for your co-workers to invite you to eat lunch with them, do not hesitate to say yes. They don’t tell you this in school, but crumbs on your face is the true equalizer of the corporate world.