You nailed the interview, negotiated a great salary, and are anxiously awaiting your start date. At some point, the fear of starting a new chapter will hit and you’ll feel a little trepidation. What will the next year of my life look like? What challenges can I expect? What if they fire me before I even finish training? While these thoughts may be rattling around in your head, you can be rest assured that no matter your field or experience level, there are certain stages you’ll go through—sort of like the five stages of grief but on a much more positive note. Here are the seven milestones you can expect during the first year of your new job.
Your first inside joke
Trying to become friends with a group of people who already have an established rapport is difficult.
Add the extra layer of professionalism and fitting in can be even harder to navigate. However, as you accumulate time at your new company, you’ll start picking up on your coworkers’ quirks. Perhaps one guy always brings amazing smelling lunches. Or the girl next to you always makes fantastic puns. You’ll start catching on to things, and then suddenly one day, one of your coworkers will make a joke that no one outside of your little group would understand and you will actually understand it! While it may sound silly right now, that first moment of inclusion will help to solidify your bond with your team and be a crucial step in assimilating into the company culture.
First group bonding activity
Most companies with progressive leadership value time spent outside the office walls for team members to get to know one another better and have fun. Sometimes these events are simple happy hours where you can relax and chat about interests outside the office. Alternatively, you might be working for a company that values coworkers being able to work with different departments and you’ll head to one of the popular “Escape the Room” game centers to test your problem solving skills in a fun environment. These are situations where you can let your hair down a bit and create a true connection with the people you spend 40 hours a week with.
When you pass your probationary period
If there’s a certain threshold you have to pass to be considered out of the woods and a true member of the team, you’re going to be counting down the days. The uncertainty and need to prove yourself will undoubtedly cause you stress. But when you finally pass the 30-90 day mark, you’ll be ready to start popping champagne at the sense of relief and security you feel from reaching that milestone.
Your first review
The first time you sit down with your manager, boss, and other leaders of the company is stressful no matter how confident you are in your work. You might feel like a sitting duck waiting to hear criticism because just maybe you’re not doing as good a job as you think you are. Your ears will be pricked up for any criticism or hints that you’re a failure. More likely than not, your reviewers are simply going to tell you the things you are excelling at and a few places where you could grow. You’ll leave that meeting with a sense of satisfaction and goals to work toward in the future.
The first time you realize you stopped counting how long you’ve been there
Especially when you’re in your probationary phase, you’ll be carefully monitoring how long you’ve been in your new position. But as those days begin to build up, you’ll start to lose track and focus on the work.
You’ll get lost in the steady stream of tasks and daily routines and suddenly the weeks and months won’t seem to matter as much. One day you’ll vaguely look at the calendar and think, “Wow, I’ve been here seven months!” and then start to ponder how you forgot to make a mental note of month six.
The first moment you hate your job
No matter how great your job is, the day is going to come when you absolutely hate your job. You’ll regret the moment you ever decided to interview for the position. You’ll complain about how overworked you and how no one respects you. You’ll go home that night and cry. And that start searching LinkedIn and Indeed for any job that will get you out of there. But after a bath or a good night’s sleep, you’ll find your inner calm and start thinking of ways to better approach the work day. By the next day, you’ll have a plan in place and realize that you had a bad day, not have a bad job.
The first moment you love your job
As you start closing in on your one year mark, you’ll start reflecting about all you’ve accomplished over the last 12 months. The successes, the failures, and everything in between. And while this may not be your dream job or your end goal, you’ll feel happy to have had this opportunity and know that this was where you needed to be.
Getting through year one doesn’t mean it’s time to relax and enjoy the ride. Instead, this is a time to plan your next goal and start pushing ahead so you can develop your own milestones rather than them just happening to you.