Starting a new job is likely to be a stressful affair, whether you are entering the workplace for the very first time or you are used to changing jobs frequently. Most reservations people have relate to how well they will adapt to the new working conditions, similarly issues about the new company culture and being able to fit in will surface, stemming from whether they will like and of course be liked in return by their new colleagues.
Making the transition away from being the “newbie” on the block, to a well-liked and respected colleague will not happen overnight, and will take a certain amount of resolve from a person. We have put together a guide to help new starters get their new job off to a flying start.
Things to remember and do
- As a general rule, many people give themselves 3 months to adapt and fit into a new role. Seeking to be liked by your colleagues or aiming to resolve major issues all in the first day of starting is unrealistic and will put additional pressure on you.
- Find out who the relevant people in your department are and what they do, you never know when they may be able to help you in the future, and ultimately help you to reach your career goals. If you are in a management position then you will quickly learn which individuals possess which skills and strengths which will help you to run your department more efficiently.
- Smile as this will help to relax you, even if you feel as though you are suffering from information overload on your first day. If you look miserable and come across as stressed your new colleagues will notice and pick up on this, and we all know that first impressions count and tend to stick.
- For the first few weeks keep the conversation between you and your co-workers “light”. In other words find similar things apart from work to talk about. Perhaps talking about a TV show or the latest football match, this will help to initiate the conversation away from personal questions, which people may feel uncomfortable talking about having just met you. Your fellow colleagues, don’t forget are also trying to get to know you and the things that interest you outside of work, so stay away from controversial topics and aim for neural ground.
- If you are working in a new area, eg city or country then ask your colleagues if they know or could recommend where the best places are to eat, drink or socialise. This tactic may initiate an invitation to be shown around local facilities by your co-workers.
- Never be afraid to ask for help. If you need to know where something or certain information is held then always ask as this will avoid time wasting.
Things you must not do
- Talk about your previous job or compare it to your new one, e.g. “in my old job we never did it like this” as this will not be appreciated by your colleagues. Always look to the future and what you need to be doing now in your workplace to get ahead, not what you did previously.
- Never get involved with office politics especially being a new starter as you will risk alienating yourself from your colleagues. In time and when you have gained their trust you will soon get to know the ins and outs of who did what, when and where.
- Try not to be over friendly with your co-workers, such as inviting them out to watch you partake in your favourite hobby or inviting them round to your house for a BBQ. If you mention in conversation what you get up to outside of work and they take an interest, then perhaps ask them if they would like to come, then it is up to them to make the next step.
- Avoid sending ‘friend requests/invitations to connect’ through online social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have only just met them it will come across as very unprofessional, remember you would not approach a complete stranger and ask them to be your friend. When you start any new job you need to build up your network slowly and in a way which will generate real relationships that are not ‘forced’.
Starting a new job will always be a stressful time for any new employee and being nervous is only natural. There are ways however for you to combat first day nerves to you give yourself the best chances of enjoying your new role and progressing forwards with your career.
Written by Jennifer Megafu