Back to School, Back to Work: 5 Great Tips for Starting the Fall Off Right

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1. Celebrate

C’mon, you deserve it. Whether you are honoring the end of restful summer, or the beginning of a new career, give yourself a pat on the back.

Take a moment to reflect, reconsider, and strategize. Begin by building a foundation of positive energy for your transition—what are you grateful for? What behaviors and attributes helped you to secure this new position? What are you looking forward to?

When you head back to work or school after some time off— never be afraid to ask questions…

Consider the skills and the experience you are bringing to your new role; if you are a student, then consider all that you have learned. Also, if you’re going back to work after a break, allow yourself to reflect on the struggles you encountered during your time of unemployment.

All of this will help you enter your new role with confidence and enthusiasm.

To ready yourself for re-entry, create an action plan that will help you prepare for launch. If you are returning to work or school after a long intermission, the transition can be jarring, especially if you are experiencing any anxiety or stress. Pay attention to your emotions, but don’t let them overwhelm you. It’s okay to be nervous—really. Focus on maintaining an even keel. Steady as she goes.

2. Get Proper Rest

Physical preparation is an important part of any professional or personal transition. Acclimate yourself as soon as possible by eating decent foods, getting moderate exercise, and starting to sleep on a schedule that fits your new position.

If you’ve developed any unhealthy habits during your break, get rid of them immediately! Inevitably, you will experience a bit of stress or irritation during the first few weeks of the transition; that’s why it’s better to get moving now. If you fail to take care of yourself, you may end up calling in sick before you get a chance to make a decent first impression.

Next, get your wardrobe in order. If your work clothes have been balled up on the closet floor for five months, then it’s time to drop them off at the cleaners. Contact your new boss to make sure you fully understand the expectations for personal grooming and dress. You definitely don’t want to show up for your first day, only to discover that your beard, earrings, or jeans are inappropriate.

3. Listen and Ask Questions

Even if you feel confident about your abilities, it is critical that you keep your eyes and ears open during your first few days on the job. Maybe you have been in a similar position before, or maybe you presented a killer strategy during your interview process, however, the critical input and advice you will receive during these first few days is crucial.

Never be afraid to ask questions regarding basic lines of communication, hierarchies, expectations, reporting protocols, and even—especially—the location of bathroom!

4. Set Personal Goals

Jobs are a two-way street, and no matter how excited you are to have this new opportunity, remember that your labor is valuable. You deserve to get something back—something more than your weekly paycheck.

As you prepare to reenter the workforce or school, clearly define your goals by making a list of the benefits, tangible and intangible, that you would like to receive within a certain period of time. Having concrete personal goals will help you monitor your progress.

5. Keep Looking

Okay, so you haven’t even started yet, that doesn’t mean you need to burn any bridges or cut any ties that could lead to a better position in the future. Maintain your contacts and keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities coming down the pipeline. There is always a chance that your new position won’t work out for one reason or another, and in that event, you will want to have as many options available as possible.


Have any other great back to school and back to work tips for solopreneurs? Why not share them with us in the comments section below!