The first day of a new job is daunting for everyone, but it can seem particularly daunting if you have a sight problem.
Moving to a new office and a new environment is stressful, let alone moving to a new job and meeting lots of new colleagues.
The most important thing to do before your first day is to stay positive about the job. Having negative thoughts about your new job and your ability to do it is natural, and these fears can be particularly strong for people who have been out of work for some time. The job was something that you obviously wanted to do and you were excited about doing.
When you get a firm offer of employment and a start date you should contact Access to Work.
One of the keys to a good first day is being able to deal with nerves effectively. Try to think back to your job search and how you managed to deal with the pressure of an interview. Small things such as getting up early, eating a good breakfast and planning what you are going to wear should ensure that you have the best possible start to your day.
Meeting colleagues can be one of the most challenging aspects of a new job for someone who is blind or partially sighted. There may be some awkward questions about your disability or some people may try to avoid you altogether. There are no easy answers to how to deal with these situations. Nevertheless you need to be prepared to talk positively about aspects of your disability in the same way you did at your interview.
Dealing with the layout of a work environment may be an issue for someone with a sight problem. If this is the case, it should be possible to arrange coming into the workplace before the official start date to familiarise yourself with the new environment. If it is not possible, make sure you talk to your manager about getting some extra time and help to learn the layout of the workplace. If you have a guide dog it may help if you explain the etiquette of having a guide dog within the workplace.
Remember that no one expects you to know everything at once and keep reminding yourself that they have chosen you for the job.
The first week is all about settling into the routine of your work and getting to know your new colleagues. Creating a good impression by arriving early (but not too early - 15 minutes is about right) and showing enthusiasm is always a good idea. As in the interview, dress appropriately (for the weather, for job duties, for your age). Be well groomed. If you travel with a guide dog, be sure that the dog is well-groomed too.
Getting to know your colleagues is the most important thing you will do in your first week. Try to join in with as many things as possible and do not be afraid to make a nice gesture or two. A nice touch would be to bring in some chocolates or biscuits to share. Do not wait for colleagues to ask you to lunch, take the initiative and ask them. Small details like these are vital in creating a good first impression.
Recognise that you will be closely supervised at first. Pay attention to the directions you are given and follow instructions. If you don't understand a task or technique, ask for clarification. Establish your reputation as a hard worker: stay on task, only take breaks when scheduled, don't make personal calls or text friends or family while on duty, and use you own space and tools to accomplish assigned tasks.
Familiarise yourself with company policies, benefits and responsibilities (Health insurance, timekeeping protocol, sick leave, vacation time, payroll options, etc.)
Starting a new job is exciting. There is nearly always a honeymoon period when you are welcomed and learn lots of new things. Try to enjoy it! When you stop and prepare yourself mentally for your new job, you will be a success at it.
For more information and advice to help you in your job search, the following factsheet may be of use:
Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.Contact us