Fast Company

Your First Week

Author Nick Corcodilos offers advice on dealing with your first week on the job.

It's your first week in a new workplace, and you're miserable. the boss is a jerk. the team is dysfunctional. In a sudden rush of fear, you wonder if taking the job was a terrible mistake.

It's not uncommon for people to get socked with a panic attack during their first few days on a new job, says Nick Corcodilos, author of the myth-busting book Ask the Headhunter and creator of the much-visited Web site of the same name. Before you make a mad dash for the exit, check in with "the Headhunter."

Do you get calls from people who are freaking out over their new jobs? "All the time. At a certain point, the newness of it all really hits them. The trick to getting your nerves under control is to get the job under control: List the things you need to do to make the job work for you. Your panic will die once you have an objective - and a plan for achieving it."

What should you do if you think you're in over your head? "Talk to people who have done your job in the past. Ask about the problems they ran into - and how they tackled them. People usually respond well when you ask them for advice."

You've analyzed the situation, and you still feel the job isn't right. What then? "Be brutally honest with yourself. If you feel that you made the wrong decision, quit. You'll take some heat, but it's better to take it now, rather than several months later."

Coordinates: $14.95. Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job. Plume, 800-331-4624; www.asktheheadhunter.com

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