Monday Mornings with Madison


Do you recall your first day working at a new company? Or the first day you started a new position?  Or your first day in a new business venture? Take a minute to think back to that day. How did you feel?

Chances are that you probably felt a lot of excitement and perhaps some anxiety too. The night before, you probably planned what to wear, brushed up on any rusty skills, and mentally prepared for the day ahead. When you arrived, your first day at the new job or venture was probably fraught with a lot of unknowns, which may have been stressful. But, in all likelihood, it was probably also a day full of promise and opportunity. When you first walked through the door, everything was still good. Every new co-worker was a potential new friend. Every task was an opportunity to learn or shine and nothing was repetitive or boring. Every obstacle was a chance to showcase your problem-solving skills. You probably spent the day filling out paperwork, getting a parking pass or door key, and learning the office routine. If it was a new position, you probably spent the time training or learning about what the job entails. While it may not have been your most productive day ever, it was a day when you were completely open to new ideas and were most eager to produce. Because it was your first day, any mistakes were easily forgiven or overlooked. Most of all, you were excited for the opportunity to do a good job.

Now try to imagine what next Monday would be like if you had the same energy, excitement and attitude that you had on the first day, but without the first-day jitters. What might that look like? You’d spend the night before getting ready for the day ahead. You’d get a good night’s rest. You’d be at work a few minutes early to impress your boss. You would be open to innovative ideas and you’d be revved to get to work… except there would be no time lost on the learning curve. You would already know how to do the job but you’d bring a fresh enthusiasm to the tasks at hand. Once at your desk, you’d tackle every task with gusto, not procrastinating the tasks you least enjoy. Any past conflicts or irritations with coworkers would be erased and all your interactions would be positive and pleasant. You would not judge anyone and no would be judging you.

Does that sound impossible? Try it. Here are some tips to follow to recapture your first-day excitement on your next day at work.

  1. Get plenty of rest the day or weekend before your “first day”. It is paramount that you are fully rested so that you can be fully engaged during your “first week”. There will be a lot of information coming at you during the first week; you want your memory to be in top shape.
  2. Follow your company’s dress code and dress appropriately. As many HR managers profess, dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got.
  3. Get to work before the scheduled time. Just like you did on your first day and even in your first week, make sure you arrive to work before you are scheduled. This will allow extra time in the event of a traffic jam or other unexpected transportation issues.
  4. Once at work, ask clear questions to gain an understanding about expectations and demands.
  5. Remember that you were hired for a reason – your skills, your knowledge, your ability, your potential. Bring your knowledge to the table. Speak up when you have an idea. Blaze your path as an emerging leader.
  6. Live up to your supervisor’s expectations. If your boss doesn’t schedule time to discuss performance expectations and measures, request a meeting to discuss your role in detail. Even though its not your first day, always knowing these expectations will ensure your success.
  7. Seek out an informal mentor or trusted coworker to help guide you through problems. Having a go-to contact can get you up to speed more quickly.
  8. Learn, learn and learn. Learn as much about your job as you can, and then learn some more. Find creative ways to get more out of your job and bring more to the position. Doing so will allow you to find new levels of creativity and push you to do more on the job.

Try following these eight steps next Monday. See if it doesn’t give you added energy and enthusiasm at work. Who knows… by acting like it’s your first day at a new job, you may just do your job so well that you’ll get promoted to a new position! 

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. ” J.B. Priestley

© 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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