5 things to do right before you start a new job

My husband just accepted a new job, and he had to give his new boss a start date. We agreed that he would take a week off before he starts, but it turns out we had very different ideas about what that week would entail.

We both agree that the stress of a job hunt is exhausting, and anyone who has been through that process needs to recharge before embarking on something new. A real vacation — like Paris or the beach – was not possible to plan because we had no advance notice about this job. In fact, though, one does not need to be in an exotic location in order to recharge.

The problem is that my husband's idea of recharging is haphazard and, in my mind, ineffective. But just because you're married to a career expert doesn't mean you want to hear her advice, which is frustrating to me, to be honest. So here is an open letter to my husband about how I think people should spend the week before a new job.

1. Get out from under your oppressive to do list.
It's no fun to start a job weighted down by a big to do list that has nothing to do with your new responsibilities. Take a week to kill your to do list. Anything you can't get done in that week, delete: admit that you are not going to get done in the next year. You can console yourself with the fact that if it's not important enough to do when you have a week with no plans, then it probably wasn't important in the first place.

2. Clear the clutter by devising a new system.
Get rid of all your piles, all your lists, all the projects, all the things that hang over your head but never get done. But going through this mess once is not enough. Figure out a system so that you don't create new piles and lists once your job starts. Piles and lists and unfinished projects are borne of unrealistic ambitions. Acknowledge what you can do and get rid of the other stuff. The pressure you feel to address your unfinished business drains you every day. Create a system that does not generate unfinished business.

3. Get into a routine that supports the lifestyle you want.
Do you want eight hours of sleep a night? You should. People who get less than seven hours of sleep exhibit the same mental signs as someone who has had a little too much to drink. Do you want to exercise regularly? You should. People who exercise regularly have more successful careers. So get started on this during your down week — the week when you have no other commitments except to get your life in gear in preparation for your new job. It's a lot easier to get yourself into a routine when there is no other pressure. And if you can do a week of the life you want you're more likely to keep it up when you start your new job.

4. Have lunch with friends.
Most people avoid their friends when they are looking for a job. Not that this is the right decision, but it is an understandable decision during a time when morale and self-esteem are low. Now that you have a job, though, reconnect with people and let them know how excited you are. Better to do it now, during your interim week, than during your first month of the new job; you never know what your schedule will be like, especially for the first couple of months. Also, be sure to invite people out to lunch who have helped you in your hunt. Even if their help was not particularly fruitful, if they tried, then you should express thanks.

5. Remember who you truly are.
For people who really, really need a job, much of a job hunt is pretending: Pretending you don't need a job. Pretending you love tedious tasks and long hours. Pretending you get along with anyone. Pretending you feel good about yourself. But most people who need a job and can't find one actually do not feel that good about themselves. Once you do find that job, Take a week to get back to your regular self — the valuable, self-confident person you truly are.

Posted in Job hunt, No image, Productivity
9 comments on “5 things to do right before you start a new job
  1. Susan says:

    Penelope, these are great tips. I’m starting my new job at the end of this month (yay!), so I will try out a few of these during my transition week.

  2. TJ says:

    “Getting Things Done” is a great system for prioritizing things, but everyone on the internet has probably already heard of it :)

  3. Diana says:

    “People who get less than seven hours of sleep exhibit the same mental signs as someone who has had a little too much to drink.”

    … Ummm … and your source authority for this statement is …?

  4. Lisa says:

    Holy cow, aren’t you bossy? That is how you propose one recharges? And you give that as the consolation prize to Paris because there isn’t enough time to plan? Are you mad?

    I can see the value of doing all of those things, of choosing to do them because it feels good to be productive. But to be *handed* the list like a homework assignment, just reeks of “Here, you unproductive, good for nothing. Prove your worth by accomplishing these things.”

  5. Amy Brown says:

    Wow, your commenters are testy! It’s an advice blog post, people, you might be surprised to find advice here!

    I was just thinking, this is also perfect advice for people who are about to have a baby. I know, you have to buy and launder and fold all those adorable little clothes, but you so, so have to clean up your to-do list, cut through clutter, have lunch with friends, and start thinking about who you are and what kind of parent/person you want to be (that will almost certainly change as your children grow, but at least you’ll have started thinking about it). The routine thing, well that will depend on the little monster, but at least you should get lots of sleep while you still can.

  6. Chernaya Magiya Seo says:

    Excuse me. A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
    I am from Lesotho and now teach English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “There are also forums to discuss directories.Australian seo company specialising in practical search engine optimization.”

    With respect :), Dacey.

  7. samantha says:

    Thanks for the post..Keep posting more for reference..It’s always great to read the article like this..
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  9. Abdiel Technologies says:

    Hi,

    http://www.PlanningCrossing.com is a good source of jobs because it only shows you jobs from employer websites and every other job board out there. Please link to http://www.PlanningCrossing.com because the site has more jobs than any other website.

    This is a good way to track down jobs because these jobs are often not advertised and that the site is dedicated to researching all jobs in property career.

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    Regards,
    Abdiel Technologies

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