How to navigate new job nerves

So you've landed the job you've been gunning for and you're about to embark on your first day? New job nerves are normal, but there are five first day FAQS you can tick off your list now, so you can focus on the job at hand and knock your new boss' socks off.

  1. What time should I arrive? Obviously, you want to give yourself plenty of time and arrive early on your first day to make a good impression, but how early is too early? After all you don't want to be stuck waiting by the front door if no-one else has arrived yet.

    Ask your manager what time you should arrive and if parking is available, or if you'll need to allow extra time to park off-site and walk to work. If you're taking public transport to work, allow an extra 20 minutes or so in case of delays, and use Google Maps to work out how long it will take you to walk from your stop to the office.
  2. How will I remember everyone's names? You're likely to meet a lot of new people on your first day, so it's natural to be nervous about remembering the names of all your new colleagues. Many people swear by repeating someone's name back to them when they're introduced, while others find associating new people's names with a particular characteristic helps it to stick in their mind - for example, blonde Sarah or Johnny beard-face.

    If you do happen to forget someone's name, don't fret, your colleagues will remember their own first day and are sure to be understanding. Simply apologise and ask for their name again. It won't take long to have the company role call committed to memory.
  3. What do I wear? Unless you're provided with a uniform, deciding what to wear on your first day at a new job can be nerve-wracking. Think about what your interviewers were wearing when you visited the office, and check out the company website, blog and social media accounts for an idea of what's appropriate, and what will fit in with the rest of the team.

    As a general rule, it's usually best to dress more professionally on your first day, and then adjust accordingly if the company culture is more casual. If in doubt, you can always ask your manager if there's a dress code to consider.
  4. What will I do for lunch? Lunch at work isn't just about staying fuelled during the day, it's also an opportunity to get to know your colleagues. Depending on the workplace, there may be a cafeteria, staff room, kitchen, or local cafe that your workmates frequent. If your boss doesn't mention the usual lunch routine during your first-day orientation, ask your team members. If they invite you to join them for lunch, accept the invitation and use the opportunity to pick their brains and build a rapport.
  5. What if I'm out of my depth? Many people feel worried they won't pick up on new systems and tasks quickly enough, but your employer will expect there to be a settling in and training period. Take your time (and loads of notes!) and remember that you were hired for a reason, and your boss obviously thinks you have the potential to do a great job. You won't know everything by the end of day one, but no-one will expect you to. 
As a general rule, it's usually best to dress more professionally on your first day, and then adjust accordingly if the company culture is more casual.