No matter how old we are or how successful, it’s a universal truth: everyone loves a fresh start. It’s the same with first impressions - you never get another one. If we enter into a room with a salty attitude, people aren’t going gravitate towards us to make nice conversation. The opposite happens, and people give us a wide berth and avoid eye contact. Fresh starts are a way to reinvent ourselves without undergoing dramatic changes. One well-known method of achieving a fresh start is attaining a new job. Like first impressions, entering into fresh starts with the wrong attitude can spoil things.
People reinvent themselves in big or small ways every new year. Whether it’s their new-found determination to diet, their dedication to their careers, going back to school, whatever the resolution may be, people find something to improve. For many of us, myself included, new jobs are a way to showcase our best qualities and eliminate our past shortcomings.
Now the job hunt begins.
The hiring and interviewing process for many of us is adrenaline filled. It’s exciting and a little scary getting the request to interview call. We practice how we’re going to answer the questions and polish our resumes. After buying an outfit that makes us feel confident and capable we double check the mirror and then rock the interview. After days and sometimes weeks of waiting, the offer letter finally arrives and now the fun part begins.
Before you set your new year’s resolution to becoming that career driven person, you’re dreaming of becoming, remember all new roads have a couple of bumps in them.
We’ve already shown the interviewer how awesome we are, which was a part of our reinvention process, but now we have to hold on to that awesome person we’ve invented. You know, the confident, level-headed, career-driven, the-job-is-my-life person, we’ve shown the hiring manager. Not the ditzy, short attention span, I glance at my phone every 30 minutes, a person we used to be.
New jobs are tough, it’s filled with a world of ‘new’: new policies, people, work assignments and clients. Holding on to that reinvented career driven person can be hard when starting a new job. Wait! I said hard not impossible. When faced with unfamiliar territory, people have a tendency to revert to old ways. Think of our old habits (ditzy, short attention span, etc), as our security blanket, when things get a little scary or unfamiliar we rely on something we already know.
One of the most important “new” I didn’t mention before is new personalities. I’m a quirky, sarcastic, dry humor, weird quotes kind of girl, so when I meet someone new I tend ramble-which is not always endearing to new people. Because of this tendency, I’m either really quiet around new people or really talkative. When I enter a new job, I want to portray a reliable, confident, smart, caring person. Being unfamiliar with a new role can make portraying confidence very difficult. But instead of reverting to old ways, make confidence a goal.
No one expects new hires to be experts on their first day. So, ask questions! Be confident in your questions and make the questions in depth. Gain a clear understanding of what the trainer is trying to teach. In training, we don’t think of half the questions we do once we’re in our new role and then once we think of the question-we’re not sure who to ask. So, make sure you grab your trainer's contact information and ask away.
New insecurities are bound to pop up, being the new kid in cubicle kind of sucks. Listening to your new coworkers laugh at their shared inside jokes, and hearing them ask questions to one another about you (without asking you) can be a nightmare for someone trying to eliminate their bad habits from previous jobs. Again, this scenario makes it easier to revert to those old ways.
But hang in there, eliminating unhealthy work habits isn’t impossible. If you’re entering the new year wanting to reinvent your professional self, stay strong and remember why you want to become a polished version of your already awesome self. A new job is a fresh start but it isn’t always needed and sometimes it’s a headache. In your current position make some changes. Start small if need be, if you’re ditzy (like me) make to do list to ground you, this always helps people with short attention span (again, like me). If you’re a constant cell phone checker, put that bad boy in a drawer to make it harder for yourself.
Remember, baby steps are still steps.