Saturday, April 20, 2013

How to Get Over New Job Jitters

Starting a new job can be exciting and infuriating all at the same time. Everyone feels nervous when they are the "new guy" at work, especially when it's a new type of job all together. I started a new job at Perkins a few weeks ago. I started training as a hostess, but after only one week they decided to move me to server training because they needed new servers ASAP. This was extremely intimidating to me at first, I had only served in a drive-in before and that was almost four years ago!

Leading up to my first day I was having anxiety attacks about what to expect, how much training I would receive, how the kitchen worked, and even little things like how to hold the trays correctly. I was especially nervous because when they hired me on as a hostess they only gave me one day of training and then I was on my own. The night before my first day of server training I came home and cried my eyes out to John. Embarrassing to admit, but I wanted people to know that if you come home crying from work out of frustration this is normal! Not the best situation, but it is normal to be nervous about starting a new position.

Today is my first day of serving my own section completely alone, I haven't had any panic attacks or tears leading up to today. I wanted to share a few tips on how I got over my new job jitters so hopefully you can too!

You need to be able to communicate your needs and worries to a manager. I know this sounds scary, admitting you are struggling to your manager seems like a sure way to get fired. (at least it did in my mind at first) Once I finally gathered the courage to tell my manager that I was afraid that they would only train me for a couple days then put me on my own (like they had done with hosting) he made sure that I would not be thrown into serving. I explained my worries and that although I had some server training it was a completely different industry (drive-in vs. sit down). It was super comforting to hear directly from him the specifics of how I would be trained, how many days of training I would get, and he even threw in a few tips to memorizing the menu!

Don't feel like you will seem stupid or inexperienced if you ask questions during training. I probably asked about a thousand questions a day on my training days and I don't regret a single one. Every answered question made me feel even better about serving on my own.

 On my last day of training I was given one table all to myself, and eventually two or three tables all to myself. Even though my training was almost over I still ran into situation when I needed help. Sometimes I wouldn't know which dressings went with dishes, or where things were in the kitchen. Don't be afraid to ask co-workers for help! I have never had a negative experience when asking someone for help with something. Usually people are eager to give assistance as long as they aren't too busy, it makes them feel accomplished and like an "expert" at their job.

Sometimes I would feel myself getting nervous and jittery right before my shift, I would force myself to take a few deep breaths, calm myself down, and then just go in. You can't let fear keep you from doing something you need to do. There have already been situations where I want to just call and quit just because I was scared to try something new. Now that I'm starting to get the hang of it I'm so glad I didn't quit right away! Just breathe and remember that as long as you smile and let customers/co-workers know that you are new they are generally nice about your mistakes.

This may seem like a small tip but getting ready and looking good for work will make you feel so much better. If you already have to worry about the new tasks you need to complete, you don't want the additional worry of "I look like such a scrub today" entering your mind. Also spending time to get ready before work lets you prepare your mind for work mode.

These are just the things I've learned so far about starting something new and scary. These tips relate to my job specifically, but can be used for most new jobs too! I'd love to know if you have any more tips and tricks for starting a new job, leave a comment and I'll add it to the list!


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