Overcome new job anxiety and be confident in your new role.
Updated: Feb 9
Planning for your first 90 days in your new role will enable you to quickly make an impact and feel part of your new team.
Congratulations, you got the job!
After all the hard work you put in to your application and the interview process, you deserve to celebrate.
And then you’re likely to swing between excitement and ‘new job anxiety’ where you worry you can’t do the job.
Whichever of these reactions you have, you do need to show your new team and leaders you’re the right person for the job – that you can deliver what you promised in your interview. So a plan for your first 90 days is essential. Not only will it enable you to demonstrate your value, it’ll help allay your nerves because you’ll feel as prepared as you can be.
Before you start your new job
Build on your knowledge of the organisation – what more can you learn about its business purpose and goals, its culture?
Keep in touch with your new manager and if possible your new team. Can you get details of any ‘induction’ they have planned for you? Great ‘onboarding’ will enable you to feel less daunted on your first day.
Start connecting with people on LinkedIn, especially those you’ll be working closely with. You can DM them to introduce yourself and also share posts that enable them to get to know you and the value you’ll be bringing to your new role.
Ensure you have a meeting with your new manager arranged for Day 1 and ask them to arrange for you to meet with other key stakeholders in the first week.
Know what boundaries you want to put in place and decide how you’ll do that. It’s really common to want to make such a great impression in a new job that you put in extra hours, say Yes to everything, etc. If you don’t intend to continue doing that, then don’t start – it’ll just confuse people when your behaviour changes, or you won’t change your behaviour and will end up burnt out and resentful.
Prepare for your first meeting with your manager. How will you agree your priority objectives? How will your performance be measured? How do they like to communicate? How often do they want to meet with you? How often do you want to meet with them?
Plan how you’ll introduce yourself to people when you first meet them. Prepare some short introductions for different people. What do you want them to know about you? What are you looking forward to achieving? How do you like to work, etc? Practice saying these out loud so they’re familiar when you actually say them to people.
Think about what you want to ask people when you first meet them. What do they want from you first? How will you find out how they operate?
Think about how you can implement some ‘quick wins’ to help you settle in.
What do you need to learn? Who’s help do you need and how will you get it?
Tell your existing network about your new job. From updating LinkedIn to more personalised communications to your professional network, particularly those you want to maintain your relationship with.
Find out if there’s a mentoring scheme within the organisation and how you access a mentor (someone who can help you navigate the new culture and develop your career there). Also think about an external mentor, someone you can talk things through with knowing there’s no need to worry about confidentiality and ‘office politics’.
Remind yourself of your strengths, skills and achievements. This will help your confidence and remind you why you’ve got the job. Also think about which strengths and skills will help you shine in the role, and which achievements you can build on.
Consider if you’ve ‘said good-bye’ to your previous role effectively. When we start a new role it’s easy to find ourselves thinking about what’s different to our previous organisation, and comparing them. There may be great things you want to take forward with you, and also some things to leave behind. Identifying these, and how you’ll manage comparisons and accompanying emotions will be helpful in your transition.
Draft your First 90 days plan.
When we start a new job we’re given some time to ‘settle in’. People will be assessing our performance but with kindness (hopefully!), recognising that it takes time to learn and to add value.
By preparing to learn and add value as quickly as possible, not only will you feel more confident, you will actually learn and add value more quickly, impressing your colleagues and leaders in the process!
Create yourself a ‘project plan’. This will help you keep on track and enable you to celebrate progress. Highlight the unknowns and think about how you can fill the gaps.
In your first 30 days
Explore the full scope of the role. Where are the boundaries/overlaps/grey areas?
What are the expectations of your role and your performance in the short and medium term? Understand how your performance will be measured.
What are the anticipated obstacles or hurdles and how might these be overcome?
Understand the priorities and key targets linked to the organisational or departmental strategy, and how your own role and targets align.
Start to explore the organisational politics and culture of the organisation. What do people say about it?
What are the resources at your disposal?
Understand the leadership/working style of your boss. How do they want to work with you? How much information do they expect from you, when and how?
Implement some quick wins – ensure they are in line with your objectives and priorities. Communicate the benefits / value to your manager, colleagues and key stakeholders to start to establish your credibility.
Identify the key people you need to meet during the next 60 days, including a mentor.
Check you’re maintaining your boundaries – is there anything you need to do differently before it becomes a habit or expectation?
Update your First 90 days plan, noting your findings and achievements.
Nurture your new network. Create a stakeholder Power / Interest map. Start to deepen relationships.
What else do you need / want to learn about people? What are their strengths and skills?
Start to broaden your network, meeting new people in different teams. How does their work contribute to the business goals? Is there overlap / synergy with your work? Is there scope for collaboration?
Build your relationship with your mentor. Explore the most useful way to use your time together.
Continue progress towards your objectives and communicate your progress and achievements, including obstacles you overcome. Highlight the strengths and skills you use.
Are you noticing ways you can improve things? Consider how best to communicate these and what action is appropriate.
Are you utilising your strengths and minimising use of your weaknesses? Is there anything you need to change about how you’re working?
Check if you’re maintaining your boundaries and plan what to do, if intentions are slipping.
Update your plan for the next 30 days if appropriate.
What’s working well for you? Is there anything you need to do differently? Consider this yourself and ask for feedback / advice from your manager, stakeholders, colleagues and mentor.
What do you need to learn in the medium-long term? Create your development plan for the coming year.
Are you utilising your strengths? What can you do more of?
Are you working in line with your own personal values and drivers, as well as the organisations’ values?
Are you maintaining your boundaries? Do you need to reset anything?
Is your ‘psychological contract’ developing? Do you believe this is a great place to work, that you can be your whole self? If something is missing, explore what it is and talk with your manager and / or mentor about it. (My Career Audit can help you think this through.)
Reflect on your relationships with your manager, key stakeholders and colleagues. Are you getting to know each other and developing good working relationships based on mutual trust and respect? Is there anything you need to do differently?
How confident are you now, in your role and in the organisation? What needs to happen to increase your confidence further?
Continue to track your progress against objectives. Celebrate and communicate your progress and achievements.
Start to plan your career development for the next 12 months.
This may seem like a lot to think about, but putting this work in will pay dividends in enabling you to become established in your new role as quickly as possible. Shortening the time that you feel like 'the new person' is invaluable to how you feel and how you perform.
If you'd love some help to plan your first 90 days and overcome that new job anxiety, get in touch with me today.