How To Prepare For Your First Day At Work

How you prepare for your first day at work will set the tone for your first few weeks in the job. You might be a little nervous as you are keen to make a great first impression but there are things you can do in the few days before you start to give yourself the best chances to impress.

Identity statement

New job, new start. People do not know you. This is your chance to re-invent yourself should you wish to.

Spend some time a week or two before your start date to think about who you want to project. What would you want others to think of you when they meet you?

Write up a list and work on it so that it becomes a clear statement describing the person you want to be in this new job.

An example could look like:

“I am calm and professional. I am respectful of others and I inspire respect. I am productive and get my work done in the most efficient manner. I meet my objectives easily and go above and beyond what is required of me, without needing to work long hours. I have a positive attitude and am open to feedback so that I can improve my performance. I am a team player and support my colleagues when I can. I am a high performer. I am friendly and build a strong network easily. I am solution oriented and colleagues come to me for help with their problems because they know I can solve them. I embrace the company’s values and always conduct myself with integrity. I do the best that I can with the resources I have every single day.”     

It doesn’t have to be very long, but you need to resonate with it.

Affirm your new identity  

Once you are happy with your identity statement, you need to write it up and post it in places where you will see it. You want to read it at least twice a day. Repetition is key to making a imprint on our mind. Ideally you want to read it twice a day for 30 days.  

Pre-framing

This technique is great to calm anxiety if you have any.

A couple of days before you start, get yourself in a quiet space, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Start to imagine your first day. See yourself waking up, getting up, getting ready, and getting to work.

Go through this in details, add all the details of your normal morning routine. If you practice gratitude, meditate or exercise (or all 3!) in the morning, go through all of that.

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Then go through all the details of your first day. Imagine arriving at reception, asking for your contact, being let in, getting the tour of the office, being shown to your desk, having lunch etc. Do not leave anything out.

Then imagine the end of the day, going home and unwinding.  

This process will hugely help you to mentally prepare for your first day at work. If you do this several times, it should bring you a sense of calm and confidence before the event.

Practical planning

Doing the pre-framing exercise should bring up all the little details that you need to think about before the day. How are you going to get to work? What time do you need to leave the house? What do you need to take with you? What will you be wearing?

Make sure that everything is ready well in advance so that there is no extra stress the day before or on the day. If you don’t have to worry about the details, you can focus on the main thing: making a great first impression.  

How to prepare for your first day at work – key take aways

  1. Write your identity statement
  2. Read it again and again
  3. Visualise your first day to ensure it goes smoothly using the technique I gave you above
  4. Plan the little details in advance

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

How do you usually prepare for your first day at work? What has worked well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

Further resources

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

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