How to Set Healthy Boundaries When Starting a New Job - Deepstash
How to Set Healthy Boundaries When Starting a New Job

How to Set Healthy Boundaries When Starting a New Job

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Set Healthy Boundaries In Your New Job: Key Takeaways

Set Healthy Boundaries In Your New Job: Key Takeaways

Failing to set boundaries early on in a new job is not only exhausting but also traps you into high expectations that you need to continually live up to, which can be demoralizing and unsustainable.

Here are a few strategies on how to set healthy limits in the first days of a new job so that you can balance your own needs and make a good impression in the process: 1) identify what’s driving you,

2) consider the upside,

3) articulate and share your personal preferences,

4) apply your energy strategically, and

5) create and follow through on new habits.


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Overstretching Yourself In Every Direction

Overstretching Yourself In Every Direction

Many high-achievers have a tendency to push too hard in their first days in an effort to prove themselves. If you have ever done this, then maybe you volunteered for additional tasks to appear helpful, answered emails after hours to be perceived as responsive, or otherwise overextended yourself to justify you were a worthwhile hire.


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Identify What’s Driving You

Identify What’s Driving You

Reflect on what underlies your desire to prove yourself. Many of your motivations are probably positive, such as having passion for the job or wanting to show you’re hardworking and conscientious. But it’s also likely that certain fears are driving you to self-sabotage. Unhelpful beliefs typically start with phrases like:

  • I should…
  • I must…
  • I have to…

Naming your fears reduces the hold they have over you and empowers you to reframe beliefs around your self-worth and your work.


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Consider the Upside

Consider the Upside

Self-management — an emotional intelligence skill associated with regulating your time and energy — is an essential leadership skill that accounts for up to 90% of career success. Setting boundaries proves you have self-awareness and possess strong time management, prioritization, and communication skills.

Setting boundaries when starting a new job means you not only display important leadership capabilities but also allow you to teach people how to treat you. In other words, your behaviour signals to others what is acceptable or unacceptable.


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Articulate and Share Your Personal Preferences

Articulate and Share Your Personal Preferences

Think about the physical, mental, and emotional boundaries you need to be at your best. That may include defining:

  • What time you will start and end work.
  • Response times for emails and messages.
  • Calendar blocks for focused work or “no meeting” time.
  • The frequency and duration of breaks during the day.
  • Resource or training requirements needed to do your job.
  • The type of work you enjoy doing the most and what you have the bandwidth for.

Be proactive about communicating your boundaries with your manager and team.


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Apply Your Energy Strategically

Apply Your Energy Strategically

Your first few weeks and months on a job undoubtedly contribute to your reputation. It’s important to go above and beyond, but to do so selectively and strategically.

You want to make sure you’re devoting energy to the highest impact areas. Suss out your boss’ goals and expectations and then align your efforts with those top priorities so you can provide value.

Likewise, focus on recruiting your bench of advocates and supporters.


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Create and Follow Through on New Habits

Create and Follow Through on New Habits

A new job offers a new beginning and a chance to reset. In psychology, this is known as the fresh start effect, or the tendency to take action toward a goal after a special milestone, occasion, or key date has passed. Use this time period to your advantage and put bad habits behind you.

Holding yourself accountable to your boundaries is key. Perhaps you schedule a check-in with yourself once a week to assess your progress, or maybe you create a tracker to log your achievements.


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David Hendricks's ideas are part of this journey:

Upskilling: Preparing For The Future

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