We’ve all been there, right?  The first day jitters about starting a new job hearkens back to those feelings you had about the first day of school.  In theory, they are no different.  New people to meet and a boss (professor/teacher) you’re dying to please.  If you can connect with those feelings, hopefully the following tips get you through the first day and beyond.

  • Find a mentor, someone who has been where you are and able to “pull you up” when you’re feeling down.  My boss is this for me as she put me in the position to deal with the day to day that she doesn’t want to deal with but she supports me in the decisions I’ve made thus far.
  • Learn the business/organization inside out.  Talk to those around you about what worked in the past and what didn’t work and then work to implement based on that feedback a good balance of what works for employees and the organization
  • What keeps your boss up at night?  This is so important that I must underscore the importance of understanding and aligning yourself with this fact.  Discuss with your boss the things that concern them the most and make sure that you’re working to alleviate within your power whatever it is that remains top of mind for him/her.
  • Understand and work to make your boss’ bottom line yours.  This is similar to what keeps your boss up at night, do what you need to do to make it yours as well.
  • Put your stamp on everything that you do.  Do such an excellent job so that others around you know that only you could have done this since you went above and beyond what was expected.
  • Seek out constructive feedback prior to your first performance review.  This way you know early what is to be expected and how to correct it before it goes down on paper in the official review
  • Befriend the office assistants or anyone lowest on the totem pole.  You’d be surprised how much power they wield with the higher ups.  The worst thing you can do is walk in and get on a power trip.  Respect their job just as much as you want them to respect yours.
  • Take initiative.  Do this and do it often.  Nothing is worse than having to babysit a new employee into doing the obvious because they’re still walking around like a dear in headlights during the first few days or weeks.  Now isn’t the time to flounder around in wonderment at your new space.  Jump in, hit the ground running and get to work!
  • First in.  Last out.  There’s a purpose here.  Building equity with your higher ups and coworkers as a hard worker.  Show them that you have what it takes to be a hard worker that gets the job done.
  • Avoid office politics.  Every office has drama right?  Some more than others and often you’ll be forced to form an opinion of someone before you’ve had a chance to experience working with them.  Do yourself a favor and avoid it.  I had to teach an employee, Employee 101:  Don’t align yourself with negative office drama.  At the end of the day, when you start being lumped in with the black sheeps by your boss, your friends won’t pay your rent should you be let go.  Be supportive, listen but shut up and mind your business.

Follow these tips and your first performance review is surely to go well.  Not only that but you’ll thank yourself for staying above the fray while winning the praise of your boss.