Any readers out there have any first-day-of-work traditions? I mean, we all get nervous when we start a new job. So how do you help yourself stay on track? A fancy coffee? A cute outfit? A fresh notebook, new haircut, or maybe a call to a friend for support?
How about a parade?
Okay, okay, hear me out on this. Inauguration Day is upon us, and it got me thinking: this is really just the President’s first day of work, right? So all the pomp and circumstance is basically the government’s highest and fanciest version of ‘welcome to the office, here’s your cubicle.’
No matter how you feel about this particular inauguration (and I know there are a lot of feelings out there), let’s take a step back and look at the ceremony itself. If our country’s oldest tradition can help out whoever is stepping into one of the most difficult jobs in the world, maybe we could learn a thing or two — and apply accordingly to our own first-day-jitters.
First of all, let’s consider the oath. Technically, that’s the only part constitutionally required before work can begin, so I think it’s fair (and basic common sense) to say it’s probably the most important part. The President makes a very specific commitment, and swears to it out loud.
What commitment are you making when you start a new job? Are you really making any — or are you just showing up?
What if you wrote your own, personal ‘oath or affirmation’ for the job you’re about to begin? What if you had your own mission statement for the work you wanted to accomplish, the ways in which you wanted to grow, the projects you wanted to spearhead? Not only would that inspire you to get started with passion, but it would keep you efficient. When you have a specific focus, it’s much easier to know your direction and let go of unnecessary distractions. So establish that focus, and commit to it!
Secondly, at the Inauguration, a physical change takes place. Traditionally, the President walks from the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol Building down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where, of course, he takes up residence. When the President starts his job, he doesn’t just get a new office — he gets a new house. Of course, not everyone can afford to cut their commute and work from home, but we can make our own ceremonial changes. How can you adjust your home to remind you of the new goals you set? If your last job left you overworked and exhausted, part of your goals now might be to get better sleep. How about a new duvet cover to help cement the change and remind you of your commitment? If you’re excited about a new industry, maybe buy some books on the subject to read up at home. Or hang a new piece of art to help remind you of your updated goals. A new job means new momentum for change, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of that!
Now, my favorite part: the party! The Inauguration is always flanked by days of parades, performances, balls, banquets, and general celebration. Reward yourself for making a change, for landing the job, for taking a risk! You earned it. Go out to dinner with your friends, or invite them over for a cocktail party. Book yourself a massage, or splurge on a new piece of tech! Make it memorable, make it fun, and make it yours. Too often we get so caught up in the stress of starting a new job, we completely forget all the hard work we put into finding it! Relish this moment. This is a time to celebrate with those you love — it’s sure to energize you for the work ahead.
You might not be starting your job on national television, witnessed by millions of people across the world (not this time, anyway). But this job is still an important chapter in your life, a transition worth commemorating.
Make sure you start it right.