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4 Ways To Manage Stress Before Starting A New Job

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You’ve done it. You’ve made the leap into something completely new and challenging.

Whether you were dissatisfied with your old job or were just looking for something new, it’s a big step to take a new position. You’ve said yes and filled out the paperwork.

Then, panic sets in.

You now have to prove yourself. These people don’t know you and aren’t your longtime friends. You might be moving to a new place with a different environment and a totally new commute. You might have a sinking feeling: are you jumping out of a screaming-hot frying pan only to run head first into the fire?

Everybody gets new job nerves, no matter how experienced they may be.

Here are our top tips on how to deal with stress before you start a new job so that you hit the ground running on day one:

Do Your Research Before Starting a New Job

If you’ve made it this far in your job search, you know you have to do your homework. Now that you’ve landed the gig, it’s time to dig deeper. Set a Google alert for any major news and happenings about the company and follow every online presence you can find. Know what they’re talking about and being talked about.

One way to impress your newest boss is to send over a quick email and ask what you should read or take a look at before starting your position.

This could be the employee handbook, product specs, or an overview of the tools they use. Though they might not send anything back, chances are you’re filling a critical role, and might not have the time to spend ramping up on company culture or the product portfolio. Get that out of the way before you start so your first day you can ground yourself in what your company stands for and what they do.

Set Goals

Before you walk through the door, reflect on your career. Why did you take this position? What does it mean to you? Is this a short step on the way to something bigger, or your dream role? How will you grow? Asking yourself these questions can help you understand why you decided to move outside of your comfort zone and take that leap in the first place.

Then, set some career related goals for yourself. This can be short-term, like “Get to know everyone in the office by name,” or long-term, like “Use this experience to pitch myself at my dream company XYZ.”

Successful people don’t go into any situation without knowing why they’re there.

Also read: How to Set Goals You Can Really Achieve

Make A Game Plan

Time to turn those goals into plans.

Set up a 30-60-90 plan for yourself and think about your vision for your direct reports. If you’ve done your research, you’ll have a sense for what your team is doing and how it breaks down. Think through how you’ll fit into the picture and what you’ll bring to the table—and write it down. Know what you’ll ask your new reports, and what you expect of them.

This way you have something concrete for your first meetings with your direct reports (and with your boss) to talk through. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll be able to listen to feedback right away and start a productive dialogue.

Set Yourself Up For Success

Your first day is going to be stressful: there’s lots of paperwork, new names, a new commute, and a completely different way of thinking and doing things. Get ready for an overwhelming amount of “newness” by setting yourself up beforehand.

This can include a dry run of your commute if you’re able, ironing your favorite shirt, and getting a good night’s rest the night before. Hiring managers spend a lot of time and energy finding the right fit for their company—you weren’t a mistake.

Starting a new job can be stressful, but it’s a great opportunity to make an impact.

About the Author

Kayla Lewkowicz hails from the small town of Hopkinton, MA, home of the Boston Marathon. A marketer by day and freelance writer by night, she's a passionate storyteller, reader, hiker, swimmer, runner, and eater. She loves connecting people and ideas and helping customers realize their full potential at Litmus Software. Like what she has to say? Subscribe to her blog or say hello on Twitter @kllewkow.