New Kid On The Block: Settling Into Your New Job

Your hard work and determination has paid off. You’ve landed a new job and you’re excited to start your first day. As your start date draws nearer, your celebratory mindset turns into nervous anticipation. Will you fit in? Will you catch on fast enough? What will they think of you? Questions like this are racing through your mind.

The timing of this week’s topic is no coincidence. Like you, I am experiencing some nerves and questions as I settle into a new position of my own. Since my profession requires me to offer advice and support to other professionals who are experiencing career changes, I thought it would be helpful to pause and reflect on some of my own advice. Who knows? Maybe you and I will learn a thing or two together.

You don’t have to know everything on day one.

Your new employer isn’t expecting you to burst through the door with all of the answers on your first day. In fact, most employers understand that your first 90 days on the job is usually focused upon settling in and finding your footing within the organization. Even if you are working in a job with similar responsibilities to something you’ve done prior, there is still a learning curve respective to your new environment. Don’t work yourself into a state of panic by putting undue pressure to perform unrealistic feats in your first few months.

Be a sponge and absorb everything around you.

Your first few months are the perfect time for you to learn important things about the culture of the company. Your future success will in large part be based upon your cultural fit. Don’t panic. Obviously, your new employer saw something within you which led them to believe you were a good match. Pay attention to everything around you. Take physical and mental notes about what you observe. How does your boss react to certain things? What seem to be hot button issues throughout the office? What are some of the communication preferences of those with whom you’ll be working closely? Take a ‘fly on the wall’ approach as you settle in. Demonstrating a genuine interest in learning how they do things will earn you respect from your new employer.

Keep your chin up.

Regardless of who you are or where you work, it is difficult to be the office newbie. Although you are excited about your new opportunity, your first few months are sure to be filled with highs and lows. Perhaps you are growing frustrated because you aren’t yet working up to your typical speed. Maybe you aren’t fitting in with everyone as quickly as you hoped. Or, you might be cringing at the thought of having to ask yet another question in fear of being perceived as a pest. Your ability to stay positive is crucial to overcoming these typical feelings experienced by anyone working through the major changes associated with a new job. Maintaining an attitude of optimism and enthusiasm will ease your transition and impress those around you.

Form smart relationships.

Although it may be intimidating for you to step out of your comfort zone to initiate conversation as a newcomer, it is important to do so. Forming important relationships early on can be a significant contributor to how successfully you transition into your new role. Step out of your comfort zone to introduce yourself or strike up a conversation. Don’t hesitate to accept an invitation to a company-sponsored social event. You never know who you’ll connect with and how they might be able to mentor you throughout your career. While forming relationships is recommended, be smart about the conversation you choose to engage in. Steer clear from engaging in office gossip, and politely excuse yourself from any dialogue going down a gossipy path. Nothing good will come from building comradery based upon putting others down.

Most importantly, be patient with yourself and don’t give in to your fears or anxieties. Fully acclimating into your new position will take time. Before you know it, you will be adjusted to your new routine, the new people and your new place.

Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a regional director and senior consultant with JL Nick and Associates Inc. She is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, employment branding, professional development and executive coaching for more than 13 years. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at ecipolla@jlnick.com or visit JL Nick and Associates website at www.jlnick.com.