Starting a new job is an overwhelming experience. It easy to build anxiety about proving yourself, making new friends, and not screwing up. I recently changed positions and it wasn’t into the third week, where I finally broke down and felt the overwhelming awkwardness of being the new person. It took a month before I was getting my grove. Here are 5 things I do to survive being the new person at work.
Make It a Point to Network
The word “networking” is intimidating to most people. It sounds like a purposeful way of using someone for your advantage. The truth is networking at work is as simple as asking someone to lunch and seeing if you have a connection. The goal is to either make a friend or mentor. It truly depends on your connection on a personal level, so let your guard down. This isn’t a time to hide behind walls. Also meeting different people in your office can give you insight on how to maneuver around office politics and how to succeed in the company.
Work on Your Weakness From the Start
Beginning a new job is a great time to start with a clean slate. From day one, make it your mission to work on your weaknesses, specifically that you carried from the last position. If you were always a tardy, make it a point to get there 10-20 minutes early. For example in my last transition, I practiced being proactive rather than letting my fear of overstepping stop me from asking questions or taking the lead. But make sure to always focus on your strengths to give you confidence you need to succeed.
Say Yes to any Work Extracurricular Activities
Being the new person can be a little awkward since it seems like everyone has their friends. It’s like high school all over again. A way to make friends is to say yes to any work activity. For example join the company’s softball team or volunteer groups. If you work at a large company some have social organizations or even ToastMasters meetings. Being active at your company is a great way to make friends. Even if softball isn’t your thing it will allow you to have something to talk about with your fellow co-workers during office hours.
Remember It Takes Time
It is easy to forget that it takes time to feel comfortable again. From my experience it can take up to 5-6 months before you feel situated and get your routine going. Usually after a few weeks you get handle on your job role, start to make friends, and know the lay of the land. So in the beginning, just remember everyone starts as the new person and you aren’t expected to know everything. In a year you’ll look back and see far you came.