6 Things I Did Right Before Starting My First Job

All the feels and preparation!

The true story of what I did just before starting my first job.

I had polished my resume, applied for a role, miraculously gotten through the interview, and landed a position. All that was left to do was start it - my first big girl job. Like anyone would be, I was nervous. As. Hell.

Here are the steps that I took to calm myself down and set myself up for success on my first day at work.


The Night Before

I cooked and ate a comfort meal

I deal with anxiety by cooking and baking. Seriously, prior to taking a standardised test, my home smelled like garlic for weeks because of all the cooking I was doing. I find that it’s a good way to distract myself - to spend some time taking my mind off impending adulthood - and to do an activity in which I am in complete control of the process. True to form, I made a marinara sauce and meatballs, both from scratch, which I laid on top of al dente spaghetti.

Then it smelled really good and I was hungry, so naturally I shoved it all in my mouth.

I double checked that I had everything I needed for the next day

My work had given me a checklist of things that I would need for the next morning: documents for my on-boarding and tax forms (passport, license, etc.) and a business casual outfit. I double and triple (and quadruple, if we’re being honest) checked that my documents were in my bag and laid out an outfit of heels, a dress, and a sweater that teetered between business casual and business professional. If we’re being honest again, I had had that outfit planned out for about a week prior to starting.

I added a notebook and pen, a pair of headphones for my commute, and band aids - in case my new heels tore up my feet - to my bag, then checked my email to make sure there was no last minute notice of something else that I might need to bring.

I caught plenty of Zzz’s (or at least I attempted to)

I know the importance of getting enough rest, so I crawled into bed with about nine hours until my alarm would go off. I read my library book for a little, then turned off all the lights, rolled over, and… continued to worry about what the next day would be like.

I ended up lying in bed awake for the next two hours, doing my best to get myself into REM but failing slightly miserably. In between counting sheep and cursing myself for not being able to fall asleep, I took time to remind myself that not everything is going to be in my control on my first day or at my job in general - and that’s okay, because I had tools in my arsenal for rolling with the punches. Tool number one: a really boring TED talk that put me to sleep almost immediately after I had started listening to it.


The Morning Of

I woke up early

Normally, I’m the kind of person who hits snooze seventeen times before finally rolling out of bed (my roommates have never been too thrilled about it), but on the morning of my first day, I pulled myself out of my bed on the first ring of my alarm. It wasn’t difficult - after all, I had been feeling a mixture of nervousness (what if I’m not good at my job) and excitement (I can’t wait to meet all my new coworkers) floating around inside me.  

Waking up a bit earlier than usual gave me time to prepare - mentally and physically - for the things that I would need to add to my morning routine for my first day and for my new job. No one wants to be late, especially on their first day, so this extra time was crucial for me to be able to get everything I needed done in order to prepare myself for the day and get there with a little extra time to spare.

I read the news

I’m a political news junkie by nature, but my job involves my having to be up-to-date on current business trends and market movements. So, for about twenty minutes in the morning, I caught up on political news for fun, the market so that I didn’t sound like an idiot on the first day, and hollywood gossip and sports news as a way of connecting with my new coworkers.

The hollywood gossip part was purely for research purposes and not at all because I’m curious about what goes on in #BachelorNation. I swear.

I wrote down how I was feeling… sort of

I’ve seen a ton of articles and pieces talk about the benefits of journaling, of writing things down and expressing your feelings physically with words. I don’t doubt that there’s something calming about that, but I do know that I’ve spent the last three years trying to be someone who journals (I have managed to nearly fill up one journal in almost a thousand days, so I wouldn’t say I’m the most consistent).

I did write down my feelings… just not on pen and paper. I sent texts to friends who I knew would understand the jitters, whether they had started a job in a new city or were in a similar industry to me. Not only did this allow me to express my feelings much in the same way that journaling would have, but it had the added benefit of letting me hear from my team of cheerleaders just how much they knew I was going to rock my first day. It gave me the confidence to stand up, finish my tea, and take those first few steps out of the door.

Sophia is the founder of New Girl at Work, a comprehensive resource for millennial women beginning to navigate their careers. The site explores all aspects - career and not so career related - that come with starting a new job. She recently graduated from university in Washington DC and moved to Boston to begin her own career.