Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Changing Jobs

3 Things Your Boss is Worried About During Your First Week

The first day of a new job is nerve-wracking.

Especially for your boss.

It may be natural to focus solely on yourself during the first few weeks of a new job (“Am I going to get along with my new team?” “Will I be overwhelmed with my new workload?” “Will I be able to learn everything I need to know?”), but the truth is, your boss has some worries of his or her own during your first few weeks on the job.

Hiring you—as it is with hiring anyone—is a risk. Are you going to live up to expectations? Be as good of a fit as you seemed during your two short, 30-minute interviews? Until he or she knows your communication style, working preferences, and personality—and, above all that, is able to trust you—he or she is going to be a little wary.

But expecting those common worries makes it easier for you to make it crystal clear to your boss that you are meeting expectations, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and proceeding at the right pace.

To help put your boss’ mind at ease, here are a few of the things your manager is worrying about during your first few weeks, and what you can do to put those concerns to rest.

Worry #1: Are You Fitting in With the Team?

Managers want teams that gel. They want a group of employees who work well together, who ask each other questions, and who give each other help when needed.

And the one thing that can ruin that is a team member who doesn’t fit—who doesn’t get along with the rest of the group or, worse, who doesn’t care about forming relationships and is only there for the paycheck.

So, during your first few weeks on the job, your manager is going to be wondering if you’re a good fit for the team—if you’re getting along with the rest of the department staff, if you’re making an effort to get to know your team members, and if you’re actively forming relationships that will foster collaboration.

Preempt That Worry

There’s no need to announce to your boss, “Look at me, I’m really connecting with the team!” Just do it. Reach out to your team, ask them questions, make time to grab coffee or lunch with them, and offer your help where you can.

You see, as you connect with your department, word will get around to your boss. Your new teammates will be the ones telling your boss that you’re a great addition to the team, that you’ve been so helpful already, and that everyone thinks you were a good choice. And that’s going to be a powerful testament to your boss.

Worry #2: Are You Catching On?

Your boss knows you’re competent—at least, according to your resume and the brief time he or she spent with you during the interview process. But now that you’re officially a part of the team, he or she is wondering if you’re responding well to the training you’re receiving and catching on to your daily responsibilities.

Are you picking up the work quickly, or are you struggling to grasp the basic concepts? Are you already taking initiative to tackle your new tasks on your own, or are you holding back and continually waiting for someone to walk you through, step by step?

Your manager is wondering whether he or she needs to provide you with extra training and attention—but even more so, he or she wants confirmation that you were the right choice.

Preempt That Worry

You don’t want your boss to doubt for a second that he or she made the right selection when picking you for this role. So, be upfront if you don’t understand something or need a little extra training. Your manager will appreciate that you gave him or her the chance to connect you with more training—rather than hoping that no one notices you struggling.

But you want to show your strengths, too. So, ask for lots of feedback during your first few weeks on the job. Schedule a recurring meeting with your manager to go over some of your recent work. You’ll have the opportunity to show that you’re grasping your new assignments, you’re exceeding expectations—and you were the absolute best choice for this role.

Worry #3: Do You Have the Right Amount of Work?

Managers want their new employees to feel challenged and to have enough work to fill their days—but not enough to scare them away or make them think they’ll need to put in 15-hour days to stay on top of it all.

But your boss doesn’t yet know how you work, how to tell if you’re stressed, or how to recognize that you’re bored. Often, new employees smile and nod no matter how much work is on their plates, wanting to appear agreeable and hardworking. But underneath that, they can easily be completely bored or absolutely overwhelmed.

Knowing this, your manager is going to wonder if you truly have the right balance of work. He or she is constantly thinking about whether you have too much or too little.

Preempt That Worry

Keep the lines of communication open with your manager. If you’re overwhelmed, ask your boss to help you clarify your priorities. Without explicitly saying, “Help! I’m overwhelmed!” you’ll convey that you have a lot on your plate—and need to know what should get done first.

If you’re feeling a little bored, don’t be afraid to pop in your boss’ office and ask if there’s something else you can help with. He or she will appreciate that you’re taking initiative, rather than staring blankly at your computer screen for half the day.

Either way, it’s important to keep your boss in the loop about what you’re working on and how you’re feeling workload-wise. Your manager doesn’t always know every task that’s on your plate, so by keeping him or her in the know, you’ll be able to confirm that you’re working on the right tasks that are going to put you on the road to success.

Photo of boss courtesy of Shutterstock.