Blog Post

10 Scariest Parts of a New Job (and How to Conquer Them)

Starting a new job can be incredibly nerve-wracking. From meeting coworkers and getting your new sealegs within the team to finding out how to work the break room’s fancy coffee machine, any number of scary first-day/week/month scenarios can kill your post-hire excitement.

That’s why we’ve created this go-to guide for addressing the scariest parts of a new job. Make a good impression and start on the right foot with these 10 anxiety-inducing new job scenarios (and their simple solutions).

1. Walking in late

Rushing through the door, apologizing about being late… not exactly the glowing first impression you’re trying to make. Head this off at the pass by starting your first day on the job the night before.

  • Get enough sleep. Being well rested ensures that you don’t hit snooze one too many times and that you arrive mentally sharp.
  • Pick out your best outfit to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions (more on this in tip #2).
  • Allot extra time for commuting, especially if you’ve never been to the location before. Better to arrive 30 minutes early and have time to compose yourself, meditate, or grab a coffee than show up 10 minutes late.

2. Breaking the dress code

This is one of those situations where assumptions can get you in hot water, like assuming that the dress code is casual when it’s really business casual. There is nothing more awkward than being toured around the office to meet new coworkers when you’re in jeans and everyone else is rocking a blazer and dress shoes.

Ask HR or your hiring manager about the dress code beforehand. Bonus tip: make a mental note of their outfit during your interview(s) and use that as a template for your own wardrobe.

3. Not knowing your orientation leader

Being new in an office setting can feel very much like the first day of class at school. Luckily, the approach to dealing with day one is actually way easier to navigate than the dreaded “finding a table at lunch” scenario.

Arm yourself with at least one key piece of information: the name to ask for when you walk through the door. Showing up without knowing who to meet with first—HR, your hiring manager, your direct manager, an administrative assistant—can make starting your job far more intimidating than it needs to be. After signing your employment contract, be sure to ask who you should report to when walking into the office.

4. Getting buried in paperwork

New hire paperwork is a necessity at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your entire first day buried underneath a stack of documents. Talk about the worst first day! See if you can handle some of these documents at home beforehand or complete these throughout your first days using a customized app-based onboarding program like Talmundo.

5. Oversharing

As the new hire, you’re probably going to be asked a lot of questions. It’s natural to tell people about yourself and your background. Watch out for oversharing, though. Telling too much is just as bad as not saying enough, and it’s important to balance the “me me me” talk with questions about your coworkers as well. Breaking the ice and making friends will make your new job far less scary in the first few weeks.

6. Fumbling for topics

Speaking of, well, speaking, use your commute to brainstorm your best small talk. Preparing a few icebreaker questions or thinking of trendy topics to broach can lead to more natural coworker interactions, and quickly ease you into the office ebb and flow.

Check out our list of icebreakers for inspiration! Although they are perfect for managers onboarding new hires, many can easily apply to new hires themselves as well.

7. Coming on too strong

As you break the ice at work, it’s tempting to jump headfirst into building relationships with your team members. This is undoubtedly a great idea, since employees with a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged in the office (not to mention the other benefits like more satisfied customers and greater profits).

But like any other relationship, coworker relationships take time to develop. Jumping to add your team members on social media may come on too strong. Start with some casual coffee or lunch dates and then consider waiting for them to make the first move on social media and outside the office.

8. Forgetting all names

The first day can feel chaotic! Names can easily get lost in the fray and then you’re back on day two not knowing anyone. Implement some name memorization techniques to make the first week less overwhelming:

  • Create associations between new coworkers and another friend of yours, or an item that reminds you of the person
  • Repeat the name multiple times while you’re chatting
  • When you have a free minute, write notes in your phone about the people you’ve met—what department they work in, any topics you discussed, etc.
  • See if you can grab a seating chart or personnel list to help you put names to faces faster

9. Getting lost on the way to lunch

So you were invited to a team lunch—great! But you’re not sure where the restaurant is… not so great. Avoid the stress of finding your way by tagging along with a team member if possible. Better yet, see if you can go with your manager to grab a few minutes of essential one-on-one time.

10. Missing the first meeting

Overlooking a Slack message that you’re not looking for can mean missing your first meeting. Uh oh! Establish how your new manager prefers to communicate, whether it’s face-to-face check-ins or workflow managers like Slack or Google Suite. Getting on the same page ensures that you’re where you need to be, when you need to be there.

A customized, engaging orientation program can take the stress out of your new role. If your hiring manager doesn’t have a program in place, talk to them about the Talmundo app!


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