Getting Started

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,
Today was the first day of my new job, and I feel like I have so many questions. I don’t want to annoy my new boss, but how should I go about getting answers without sounding too stressed or anxious?

Dear, “Antsy,”

It is completely NORMAL to have a ton of questions… especially after your first day! You are just getting started, and any manager would expect nothing less. I can tell that your mind is spinning so here are a few things you can do to help ease any anxieties and get the information you need:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and jot down every question that comes to mind. Consider this your brain dump. For me, writing things down always helps clear the mind and make you feel less overwhelmed. Having a visual list will also enable you to prioritize your thoughts. Right now, as you recall your first day, you’re thinking about everything from, “Where’s the copy room?” to “What’s my phone extension?” In the grand scheme of things, what you really should be thinking about are more fundamental questions such as, “How often should I include my boss in emails?” or “Will we have a set meeting time to regroup each day or week?” These are the things you want to try to get ironed out with your immediate supervisor early on. The other stuff will naturally fall into place.
  2.  Next, if your manager hasn’t done so already, see if you can set aside a meeting with him or her to go over your list of questions (once they’ve been prioritized). It’s best to get a meeting on the calendar where you will receive undivided attention. Tugging at his or her sleeve in the hall every time a thought comes up will get annoying.
  3. As you get more and more into the swing of things, you will likely make new friends and discover great resources for some of the miscellaneous stuff like, “Where’s the best place to grab a bite around here?” You know what I mean.
  4. The questions you want to address during your one-on-one time should be primarily about what is expected of you in your role, when certain projects are due, how and when to escalate certain challenges or situations, preferred communication methods, etc.

Think back to your interview. You were hired for a reason and likely came across as a confident, hard-working individual. Don’t let that person get lost in the shuffle as you begin this new career path. Pay close attention to your manager’s personality and business style, listen carefully, be resourceful, and knock ’em dead!


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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