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

5 Small Work Victories That Are Worth Celebrating When You're New at a Job

If you’re a beginning runner, you celebrate your first 5K finish. If you’re a rookie piano player, you revel in the first time you’re able to play any song besides “Chopsticks.” If you’re a novice baker, you throw up a fist pump the first time your soufflé doesn’t sink.

But when it comes to the first few weeks of a new job, there’s usually not much celebrating—only an intense focus on getting through each day without bumbling your responsibilities or making huge, company-foiling mistakes.

However, taking a moment to celebrate little victories can remind you that you’re getting closer to proficiency in your role—and overall career success—every day.

So if you’re looking for a milestone to celebrate, be on the lookout for these five.

1. Completing an Assignment Without Asking for Help

“What program do you use for expenses?”
“How do I book my travel?”
“What does this error mean?”
“Can you help me set up this spreadsheet?”
“Where’s the coffee?”

It’s the bane of a new hire’s existence: To do virtually anything, you have to ask for help.

While there’s no shame in asking your co-workers for assistance, it feels really good that first time you’re able to make it through a project or assignment without asking for help. It means you’re capable, confident, and on your way to mastering your role.

2. Wondering “Where Did the Time Go?”

After a couple weeks of feeling completely lost in my first managerial role, I clearly remember looking at the clock on my computer at 5:30 PM one evening and wondering where the day went.

Or, it can happen with a single task. You start an assignment, and what seems like five minutes later, you look up—and realize it’s actually been two hours. But you didn’t notice the time passing because you were so captivated by your work.

In the first few weeks of a new job, you’ll probably feel hesitant or unsure—and because of that, time might pass slowly. So when you first experience that moment when you’re so engrossed in your role that time flies, celebrate. That means you’ve found work that you enjoy and can fully immerse yourself in.

3. Moving on After a Mistake

As the office newcomer, you’re under a lot of pressure to perform well. Out of dozens—maybe hundreds—of applicants, the company picked you to fill this role. And now your teammates are expecting you to meet all of their expectations.

That pressure can make it difficult to move on after a mistake. Even if the misstep was minor, you may find yourself fretting over it for days, rehearsing the perfect apology to deliver to your manager, and wondering if the company will take back its decision to hire you.

But there will come a day when you make a blunder and can move on gracefully. You’ll know exactly how to react, how to fix the mistake, and how to move forward without agonizing over if it will affect your tenure at the company. And that’s something to take note of—because it means you’re confident in your role and your place in the organization.

4. Enjoying a Workday From Start to Finish

Most days, especially when you’re new to your job, you’re going to experience quite a few ups and downs. You’ll learn something new; then you’ll ask a dumb question. You’ll befriend a co-worker; then you’ll get lost on your way to the break room. You may enjoy your new role—but only during the moments when you’re not completely embarrassing yourself.

But eventually, you’ll go through an entire day and realize you enjoyed every part of it.

Sure, maybe you faced challenges. But you enjoyed the problem-solving process and using your creativity to find a solution. Maybe you were faced with an intimidating new assignment. But you collaborated with a co-worker to figure out how to work through it. And at the end of the day, all you’re left with is a sense of pride and accomplishment.

It won’t happen every day (even for people who work in their absolute dream jobs). But when it happens, revel in it—it’s a great achievement and a sign of good things to come.

5. Taking a New Employee Under Your Wing

At some point, you won’t be the newest employee anymore. Someone new will join your team or department—and he will look to you to help him find his way within the company.

That won’t necessarily mean you’ve mastered your role completely. But it gives you the chance to be the one answering questions instead of asking them or offering to lend a hand instead of begging for help.

And when you’re still relatively new to your position, that is quite a victory.

As a new employee, you may feel like you’re walking on eggshells. But celebrating even small wins can give you a boost of confidence and remind you that you’re capable of great things. You’ve proven yourself in these achievements already—and there are only bigger victories ahead.

Photo of woman at work courtesy of Shutterstock.