Adjust to a New Job

Adjusting to a new job can be a daunting challenge, whether you took the new job by choice or out of necessity. Pretty soon, you'll know the new people, the new work, and the new place. In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to make the transition smoother.


  1. Visualize a great day. Try to think of all you believe is good and positive in you. Tell yourself that you'll be a happy person around in the workplace and a pleasure for everyone at work to have you with them.
  2. Arrive on time or slightly early the first day. Ask in advance when, where, and whom you will meet. Confirm that somebody will be there to meet you when you arrive.

    • Obtain and bring the phone number of somebody who can let you in. Get any special instructions, too.
    • Be courteous and patient with the receptionist and any security staff you meet on the way in. They can contact the right people and help point you in the right direction.
  3. Take care of the administrative stuff. Visit Human Resources, security, your manager, and anybody else you need to see to get started. Ask questions if you need to.

    • Fill out whatever paperwork is necessary and get it turned in promptly. Note that applications for insurance, retirement, or other benefits may need to be turned in within a certain amount of time after starting the job for them to be accepted. If you're not sure about policies, procedures, or deadlines; ask.
    • Present identification if it is required. You may need to place a copy of your passport, Social Security card, or other state or national ID on file.
    • Obtain (or apply for) your badge, uniform, and any keys you will need. Make sure to get a temporary badge if your permanent one will take some time to arrive.
    • Attend any training or orientation sessions. These will help familiarize you with the processes and procedures of your company, and the new role.
    • Review the employee manual and any other matter you're asked to read.
    • Request business cards if they will be a part of your job.
  4. Get to know your colleagues. This could be the single most valuable way to ease the transition into a new job.
    • Learn names as much as possible. Introduce yourself and ask a few simple questions to Start a Conversation With a New Business Associate. Find out what people's roles are and how long they have been around, for a start.
    • Ask who to ask. If you're stuck on something, go to somebody you already met and ask where you should take a question.
    • Make friends. As you start to develop a professional rapport with some people, invite them to have coffee or lunch with you someday. Getting outside the workplace can do wonders for camaraderie.
  5. Learn your work area and, as appropriate, set it up.
    • If you share space or equipment with others, learn where it goes and how to care for it. You'll make a good impression by keeping things tidy and in working order.
    • Arrange your work space for your style. Do you use your telephone frequently? Put it within easy arm's reach. Are you right-handed? Leave yourself space to write on that side of your chair. Organize your desk for the way you work.
    • Adjust your Use an Ergonomic Chair Correctly to fit comfortably. Ask for any special accommodations you need.
    • Clean your workspace, especially if somebody else occupied it previously. Stay a little late the first day, if you need to. People eat, sneeze, and cough at their desks, and you're better off not starting a new job by calling in sick the second week.
    • Remove the clutter, if any was left behind.
    • Wipe down your desk with damp paper towels. Pre-moistened wipes or a mild spray cleaner will do a better job. Do not forget the mouse, mousepad, keyboard, the armrests of your chair, the telephone and doorknobs, since all these things get handled frequently.
    • Collect or request any supplies or equipment you will need to do your job.
    • Arrange and organize your workspace as you go, too. You may not know what to title file folders or binders until you get started doing your job, for instance.
  6. Get your computer, accounts, and passwords set up. The IT or IS department will usually help. Listen to their instructions and advice. Do not forget to ask for assistance installing a printer, if you need to.
  7. Learn enough about your voice mail system to initiate your mailbox, record an outgoing message, and set a password. Sometimes there are various internal and external messages to set up.
  8. Learn your new job. Depending on your job and your previous experience, it could take anywhere from weeks to years to master.
    • Ask plenty of questions at first. Everybody will understand that you are starting in a new place, and it will show that you're actively learning.
    • Establish goals and define your objectives. Do this jointly with your supervisor. You may see what needs doing, or he/she may tell you what needs to be done, or (most likely) a combination may occur. Your objectives may evolve as you settle in, but starting right away will give you direction when you most need it.
    • Listen carefully to instructions and advice that people offer.
    • Write things down. Use a notebook, calendar or planner to help keep track of all the new information that is coming your way. When somebody tells you where to go or who to see, make a note of it. It will help you remember what you need to do, and it will demonstrate that you are paying attention.
    • Repeat back instructions that you receive, in your own words. It's a good way to make sure that you understand things completely, and it will help you remember. You can begin, "Let me make sure I understand correctly here. You'd like me to..."
  9. Learn the building or other space where you will be working. Where is the printer? The restroom? The emergency exit? The Lose Weight Despite Unhealthy Cafeteria Food? If there's a map, take a good look at it.
  10. Talk to your boss. Even if it's not your favorite activity, communicating regularly with your boss is a good way to know if you're on the right track. Do not forget that you can ask questions, give a status report (verbally or in writing), and ask for feedback and recommendations.
  11. Jump in and start doing your work. Either you will figure out what you are doing or you will learn where you are stuck and what you need to ask. Instructions and advice may get you started, but doing is the best way to learn.



  • Don't underestimate the power of being new. Yes, you have a lot of work to do, and you'll need to establish a new reputation here, but you also bring a fresh perspective and you probably bring experience from other companies or jobs. Try to turn that into fresh energy, new ideas, and initiative that will make you stand out among your new colleagues.
  • Nerves about your first day(s) on a new job are normal, but don't let them get the better of you. If you happen to slip up, simply explain that you're nervous and try again. Most people will understand.
  • Get to know the area around your workplace, too. You don't have to do this the first day, but as you get comfortable, take a different route home. Ask coworkers about their favorite restaurants, or explore for yourself. In fact, asking coworkers about good restaurants nearby is a great way to start a conversation and get to know some people.
  • Personalize your workspace a bit, if appropriate. A well-chosen knickknack can make a new office feel more familiar and serve as an ice-breaker with new colleagues.
  • Don't give up too soon. It could be the perfect job for you if you just give it and yourself a chance.
  • In general, dress according to how others dress, whether that is jeans and sneakers or suits and ties. The exception is if your new role means seeing people that the others in your office don't. If you're part of the sales or executive team, for instance, dealing with customers or investors that the back-office crew doesn't see, dress accordingly.
    • Always dress professionally for the interview. If you're not sure, dress professionally for the first day and adjust your style after you've had time to look around.
    • Dress according to your duties. Whether you're climbing ladders to the roof, digging ditches, or sitting behind a desk, dress accordingly.


  • Clean up after yourself in the break room. Don't leave food in the refrigerator to spoil.
  • Keep your conduct, dress, and manner professional; especially at first, until you have some feel for the atmosphere and culture in your new workplace.
  • Experience is great, but do not assume that your new company works the same way as your old company. Make the effort to learn what is different or new. Never say, "We didn't do things this way where I used to work."
  • Caution yourself against using expressions that may be offensive, racist, or otherwise "politically incorrect" in the workplace.

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