You probably know that feeling too well: your stomach feels weird, legs are all shaky and all of a sudden your mouth feels like Sahara or Nairobi at best. If you drank coffee before leaving a house, or an appartment, you have one more worry to take care of. But that’s not even the best part of it yet!
On this occasion our minds tend to come up with all sorts of scenarios á la “what if”. Finally, the moment comes when we can put in reality what we practiced for so long in front of a mirror; introduce ourselves with a firm shake of a hand, smile and a neccessary amount of confidence. Will it all go as planned? Brain suddenly freezes- that’s an infallible indication of upcoming troubles. What was that we wanted to say to our new boss or colleague? Blessed be those of us who don’t have to struggle with being nervous in those kind of situations!
What can help in moments like these? I had to go through this about 3 weeks ago and here is some advice I put together to help you “survive” the first day at your new job. If not with excellence than at least with satisfaction and a good feeling.
Wear your best
This is a piece of advice my friend gave me when she started to work in a similar field like I do now. Of course, if your first day is in a meat factory, don’t wear a suit. It goes without saying that clothing should always be appropriate. So in my case, it was semi-formal trousers and semi-formal shirt. A black round-toe shoes and belt, without a tie.
Certainly I’m allowed to come to work in a jeans and some half-crooked shirt, but I didn’t do it. Because of first impression, of course. Let’s compare to this:
So why didn’t I go overdressed like I said above? Because I wanted to feel comfortable. Plus, my boss let me know that frequently I will have to “fix and fetch things” like printer, projector etc. And I don’t want to mess up my suit now, do I?
Actually, everybody here on a position high enough wears suit so it kind of looks like a copyright infringement. The second advice therefore goes like this: When you’re comfortable, it’s the real you. It certainly helps to loosen up any accumulated nerves.
Life is a change
This goes for your outfit as well; Part of the reason why business people here tend to look so indifferent is that they have similar set of suits for every occasion. Are you staying in an office whole day today? Wear suit. Going on a business lunch? Suit. Having semi-formal meeting with colleagues? Suit! The elementary part of being considered “capable” is to dress up according to an occasion. I have 5 different trousers and 7 different shirts in my wardrobe just for staying in the office or attending less important events. Every day I try to match them differently and the best part is that you can wear these combinations outside of “business” with no problem at all. I wear suit with a tie only on formal occasions. If there is an event I consider somewhat more important, I put on black semi-formal trousers, tie and white (or similar colour) shirt, immitating formality, yet not insisting on it.
Here’s something that really happened because of my variations. First week I had to attend a meeting in a Swiss office. I didn’t consider this event so important that I’d had to wear a suit, but it was my first one so I put on my black trousers with shirt that had a ” decent shiny” tone with some nice ornaments. Once I stepped out of the elevator a guy came running to me that he didn’t expect a guest from Commission so early. Long story short, I had to explain that I’m just a mere intern. And let me tell you, he was surprised! Again, first impressions do a lot. You can actually see on people’s faces if they’re worried about you fitting into an organisation or not on the very first day.
Find time to relax
Either the day before your first day on in the morning; Do something you love or have a passion for. It really helps take your mind off of all the jitters and insecurities. Plus, you may find a new perspective on things, which is much brighter. What I want to say is that sometimes our way of thinking depends on circumstances. And those we can adjust, at least to some level.
You can’t lose on this one; the result being you cheered up and in a good mood, ready for the world. Just DON’T go drinking or out to the pub the evening before. Trust me, I went with it once. Once.
Time management is the key
Go sleep a bit sooner than you usually do and wake up sooner than required. That way you have the time to prepare yourself with ease and comfort, not being pushed by the upcoming hour. Simple as that. Nothing more. That’s why you shouldn’t go drinking or crazy the evening before.
Find your happy place
Seems a little bit funny, but stay with me 🙂 Stand in front of the mirror, close your eyes and think about a place you feel safe and comfy. It can be anything, from a park you like to an old house you grew up in. That’s your happy place. Nobody can find you there and nobody can take you out of there. It’s just for you. Feel as your breathing gets slower and you are slowly calming down.
If you feel that you’re getting too nervous, just go to your happy place. That way you should be able to cool your head just a little bit.
Remember that world doesn’t revolve around your work or anything else alone
I know, I know…What of it when I’m right here, right now and this is what’s important for me. Well, here’s an answer: You are not going to die if you fail this little task. You are not going to fail in life if you ask your new boss what exactly he wants. I know how you feel. Just hang in there!
This is all the advice I gathered so far. Actually, I might make a post on anxiety and social anxiety especially alone, because I have plenty of experience with it and I feel everybody knows the feeling. But for now, have a beautiful day folks, You are amazing!