Last week, I shared that I had accepted an offer to work as a full stack engineer at a great company. Once my offer was signed and I knew what my start date would be (I actually knew that before the offer was signed), it was time for me to start preparing for work. Having not worked in about 9 months, I knew the biggest adjustment would be schedule-related, but I also knew that I wouldn't be able to fully adapt my schedule until I actually started working. But there were things I could prepare in advance.
The first thing that I wanted to take care of was my first day of work outfit. For a long time, I've had a tradition of buying something new for my first day of school, and when I started working, I carried on that tradition and bought something new for my first day of work. While I certainly appreciate the fact that my office dress code is casual (so I can wear whatever I have and don't have to buy something new if I don't want to), I wanted to dress up a bit for my first day, but I didn't want to be overdressed. It took a long shopping trip, but I settled on a plain skirt, a nice but not fancy shirt, and sneakers (although the sneakers were more a practical part of my marathon recovery).
Now that I was ready to show up at my first day of work looking good, it was time to make sure my tech skills were up to snuff. I knew that I would be learning a lot on the job, and obviously I demonstrated an acceptable level of technical skill during the interview process, but I still wanted to take some time to expose myself to the new technologies I might be using. I knew that my new company uses Typescript, which I had never used before, so that was where I decided to focus my time and energy. After reading through some documentation and not really feeling like I understood what was going on. I decided that the best way for me to learn would be to actually write code, so I found a to-do app tutorial that looked promising and went through the whole thing. Writing the code definitely helped, and while I certainly am far from an expert in Typescript, I now feel like I have a better sense of how the code is written and what the new (to me) terms mean.
The last thing I needed to do to get ready for my new job was get my life in order and do the things I wouldn't have as much time to do once I started working. The most time-consuming thing I did was actually somewhat of a coincidence - I happened to win cheap tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for that week, so I spent a full day focused on the play, something I'm not sure I would have been able to do had I been focused on either job searching or working. I also wanted to do some shopping, because a lot of my clothing was old and doesn't fit so well (and because I needed to buy the aforementioned first day of work outfit), so I spent a day focused on that, and I also spent some time doing a big grocery run. One of the big things I needed to take care of that week was preparations for the New York City Matahon, which I would be running the day before I started work. Because I wasn't focused on job searching or busy at work, I was able to spend as much time as I wanted at the race expo and was able to get together with friends a few times in the days leading up to the race, which really helped calm my nerves.
Once I had done all of my non-work prep, it was time to start my preparations for work. Sunday night I packed my bag (including bringing all my paperwork and a notebook), decided where I wanted to get breakfast and lunch (the company was providing, but I knew it wouldn't meet my dietary needs, so I brought my own), and laid out my outfit. I checked my new work email and saw that I had been sent calendar invites to all of the various orientation meetings, so I took out my notebook and wrote down my schedule for the first few days so that I wouldn't constantly have to be checking my email to see what was next. Then it was off to bed to try to get a good night's sleep before my first day!
While the new job is definitely an adjustment, the prep I mentioned above really helped me feel confident, comfortable, and prepared going into day one. I know that I've gotten my non-work life (mostly) in order, and now I want to focus on being as comfortable as I possibly can be at work and feeling confident in my contributions to my new company.