*Initially posted on my workplace & productivity blog Fair Game.
Here I am! I apologize for the long break in content. But who I am kidding? You readers are probably swamped with your own awesome endeavors!
I started a new job in January of this year and after 8 years of running my own company it has surely been a transition.
Here are 6 things to remember when you start a new gig. The first few weeks can be so anxiety-filled it’s hard to see past those feelings. Hopefully these can help.
1.) Your New Boss is Not Your Old Boss
We have an unconscious tendency to carry old feelings (whether negative or positive) with us to a new work situation. While being cautious, asking questions, and taking time to learn your new superiors workflow and preferences is important, it’s important not to assume and continue where your old boss left off.
Specifically this is true if your former boss was aggressive and liked to yell or punish. You need to wipe the slate clean the best you can and give your new boss a chance to surprise you with their understanding and different communication style. Try to keep an open and untainted mind.
2.) No One Expects You to Know Anything
Everyone knows you are new and it’s going to take a while to get up to speed. So don’t pile on loads of stress because you feel so out of the loop. Many have sat where you sit now; feeling overwhelmed with new policies, procedures, and organization systems and like you, they slowly got to know these things and they became second nature. Don’t worry about trying to impress out of the gate – the expectation is low for your first week… so just ask questions, stay cool, and write notes. Enjoy this blissful time where people aren’t hounding you to turn things around with tight deadlines.
3.) Be Patient With Yourself
The human brain is highly adaptable but it doesn’t snap and change over night or in one day, or even one week. After a couple weeks you will start to feel more confident and less anxious. After 2-4 months you will really start to get in your groove and crush it. Even more, you will feel silly for being so hard on yourself those starting months because you couldn’t quite “get” it yet. Of course, I’m not saying not to care in the first few months and show it. Do good work, take notes, ask questions, but just know that the creeping anxiety of being new will soon be eradicated and your newness is not nearly as much of an issue as you believe it to be in you head.
When it comes to email and internal correspondence I suggest you mirror (ie. match) the tone your team takes. Some teams are more formal and others are more lax. If in doubt I would say formal is always a great place to start (as it shows respect in and seriousness about your work) and adapt from there.
4.) Tread Lightly
For those eager beavers out there, like me, it’s easy to want to bring to the table loads of new ideas and strategies right off the bat. Learn the culture first so those ideas and strategies have the best chance of survival. You may think or feel you really get the culture after 6 weeks – but give it 6 more and really start to understand more of the intricacies. Time reveals so much. The more you know about how the company ticks, who supports new and bold ideas, the better you can position yourself.
5.) Find a Buddy
Is there someone else in the company that was recently hired? That’s an easy first lunch date because you both will be feeling awkward and new. Trade tips and thoughts on what you’re seeing and learning in the company so you can both feel you’re not in it alone. Don’t worry, in a couple of months your calendar will be filling up with lunch dates with people all across the organization, but patience is everything. Find a fellow newbie who you can team up with.
6.) The Inside Jokes You Aren’t Yet a Part of, Probably Aren’t That Funny… 😉
It’s easy to be caught in those smile-and-nod-along group jokes that you have zero understanding of. You weren’t there so how could you? Give it a couple weeks and you will find you are on the inside of those knee-slappers.
Good luck in your new roles,