Are you starting a new job soon? Chances are that you have some time off before your first day. Use this time well and relax and reflect to prepare yourself for an optimal start. An optimal start at your new job will kickstart your own performance. As the saying goes: a good start is half the work.
I recommend taking at least a week off to rest and reflect. This time is important to mentally finish the old job. There are many things you can do during that time. Most people would meet with friends and enjoy some time off, or actually go on holidays. All good and recommended, but you can also use this time to prepare yourself for your new job. In this blog I touch base on some of the rituals, activities and things I do to prepare myself for a fresh start.
Rest & relax
Let’s start with the obvious one: relax, chill and rest. Take your time and spend some more time on the couch. You’ve deserved it. This will help you get out of your previous rhythm and refresh yourself. Even though the new job might be in the same industry, similar position or even at the same company, your rhythm will be different. In my experience, having a consistent rhythm for working days helps me to stay focused and be able to cope with stressful situations. Starting a new job will be stressful and you’re going to want to have the energy and stamina to deal with it.
Prepare & inform
This step is something you might have already done during the application process: informing yourself about the company, industry and the specific role. I personally like to read experiences and views. Even if I energised the same role at the previous company, it is good to get some extra input for your own reflection. Additionally read about the industry. I personally recommend reading a maximum of 2 books to not overwhelm yourself. And of course you’re going to want to read about the company, their business and their cases. Especially their latest work.
Enjoy & be inspired
This is the part of the preparation I enjoy the most and what actually inspired me to write this blog. I am going to get quite personal here. You have some time off, enjoy that time, do fun stuff and finally get control of that watchlist on Netflix. I have a little tradition whenever I’m beginning something new. And that is watching The Devil Wears Prada. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is an essential part of my preparation. It’s not just fun to watch the movie, but to watch somebody at the top of their game and somebody excelling at their career inspires me.
Inspiration can come from different sources. Inspiration is very personal but you need it to get refreshed in order to be able to come up with fresh ideas for your next job. This small rejuvenation of your brain is essential.
Looking for some inspiration right now based on my recommendation above? Have a look at these two videos by YouTube channel ‘The Take’ on the Devil Wears Prada. This video analyses the “Perfectionist” Miranda Priestly and this video analyses the “workaholic”, being Emily Charlton. Enjoy and be inspired.
Reflect & learn
Take this time to reflect on yourself, your past experience and your career. You have the unique opportunity to think about your next steps and where you want to go, without being distracted by daily business. For me this is always a time to put things into perspective. I rearrange my thoughts, update my portfolio and reflect on my learning journey.
Coincidentally, when you’re in the process of leaving your old job, you’re usually having some exit talks. These talks allow you to get better insight into your growth, as they usually contain a report about your performance from the start to the end of the collaboration.
Use this information to reflect and appreciate how you’ve grown. I also use these insights to identify areas in which I would like to grow and improve for the next job. As you progress in your career, your skill set continues to improve with your experience. Try to make this an active component of your reflection between your jobs to keep your head on the ball and prepare yourself for your next challenge.
You can also use this time to do some professional housekeeping, like refreshing your LinkedIn page, thinking about how you’re going to update your network. You can also see these small things as methods to support your reflection.
Manage your expectations
Another aspect that I think could really be of help during preparations: managing your own expectations. Your performance, what the new job is going to be like and all the other things you can’t really predict or influence. A way I deal with this is by setting goals for myself, specifically OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results). I write them down to remind myself that I’m not going to be able to continue full speed from day one but that you need some time to adjust and get used to your new situation. Managing your own expectations will help you put things in perspective. You can set different goals. For example, getting used to the company, meeting everybody and not needing to ask questions anymore after a month. You can go many ways with this. But remember, don’t overwhelm yourself.
Last but not least, don’t worry too much about things you can’t control. Like how the first few weeks will go, what kind of projects you’ll work on or even your own performance. The only thing you’ll be able to influence, or rather prepare, is your own optimal start. Make sure you feel prepared and have all the mindspace to take on your new challenge.
I would like to enable everyone to have a good start at their new job. Starting something new is exciting and anxiety inducing. By preparing yourself for an optimal start, you’re taking some of the doubt out of the equation. There is no perfect way to set up an optimal start, many factors have an influence on your performance. Many of those you won’t be able to control, so don’t worry about it and enjoy your time!
I hope you liked reading my blog, claps, comments and shares are highly appreciated. 💻
The why behind this blog post:
As of June 2020 I’ll be joining the strategy team at HPB (Het PR Bureau) in Amsterdam. After four incredible years in Berlin I have decided to continue my career in Amsterdam. Berlin has been a great milestone in my career, I have learned numerous things, met incredible people and grown as a person.