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Set Boundaries Early When You Start a New Job

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When you start a new job, it’s tempting to say “yes” to every request and opportunity that comes your way. But doing so can lead to you continually trying to live up to high expectations, which can be demoralizing and unsustainable. How can you set healthy boundaries in the first days of a new gig? Start by reflecting on what’s driving you to overextend yourself in the first place. Are you overly eager to prove your value? Are you afraid to say no? Is your passion for the work leading you to have unrealistic expectations of yourself? Once you identify what’s motivating you, consider the upside of setting healthy boundaries. While you might think expressing the limits of your capacity is a sign of weakness, it’s in fact the opposite; setting boundaries proves you have self-awareness and possess strong time management, prioritization, and communication skills. Next, articulate your personal preferences to your manager. That may include agreeing upon what time you will start and end work, when you’re able to respond to messages and attend meetings, when you take breaks during the day, and most importantly, the type of work you enjoy doing and what you have bandwidth for. 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 so that you set yourself up to do your best work over the long haul.

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