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Adjusting to a New Job

The end goal of any job hunt is, naturally, to accept a position at a new company – which means adjusting to a new company culture.  This can lead to a difficult transition period, during which time you might feel frustrated or like you’ve made a mistake.  Don’t get discouraged, though!  We’ve put together some tips for dealing with an unfamiliar environment and company culture.

One: Don’t Panic

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when starting a new job, especially on your first day.  Everything is different: the people, the location, the work, the coffee, and you’re struggling to take it all in and remember everyone’s name and role.  Step one is not to panic.  Yes, it is a lot, but over time you will get everything down – and no one expects you to remember everything right off the bat.  Getting confused or overwhelmed at the beginning is normal, and does not mean that you are going to fail – only that you need some time to adjust and learn the ropes.

Two: Ask Questions

We’ve seen many people fall into the trap of not asking a lot of questions when they start a new job, because they’re trying to seem extra clever and impress their new boss and coworkers.  This will do nothing but stress you out in the end, though!  If you have a question about how to do something, whether it’s how to order business cards or if you can see samples of how to complete a particular project, keeping quiet and trying to figure everything out on your own will just make the new job seem even more overwhelming.  No one is going to fault you for asking questions – and they might even be impressed by your inquisitive nature!

Three: Observe Everything

While many issues can be quickly resolved by asking a simple question, there are some things about company culture you can only learn by observing.  Pay attention to everything your new coworkers do, and you will learn a lot about the unwritten code of conduct at the company!  For example, if your day is supposed to start at 9, arrive at 8:45 one day and watch people come in.  Do they all arrive before 9, or do they trickle in between 9 and 9:30?  Do they arrive with lunchboxes to eat at their desk, or do they show up empty-handed and go out for lunch?  Does everyone shut their computer promptly at 5, or keep working until 6 or 7?  Absorb all of this information and start building your new work routine.

Four: Avoid Arrogance

Different companies have, for better or worse, different ways of doing things.  Just because something was done differently at your old company does not mean that everything else is wrong!  And even if your old company was more efficient in certain respects, constantly saying, “at my old job we did…” will do nothing but irritate your new coworkers and make you seem like an arrogant know-it-all.  Over time you can certainly try to make suggestions on how to improve processes, but wait until you’ve been in your new position for a while and try to frame your thoughts in a positive way.

Five: Expect to Make Mistakes

Making mistakes is inevitable in life, especially when you’re trying to adjust to a new job and new company culture.  Expect that you will make mistakes – possibly a lot of mistakes – and come up with ways to cope without getting frustrated or negative.  Try not to blame your new coworkers for any of your missteps, and focus on how you will do better in the future.  For example, instead of getting defensive when you find out that you were supposed to send around an activity report before going into the weekly staff meeting and snapping, “no one told me!,” laugh it off and assure everyone that you will be more organized next time.

Six: Ask for Feedback

Once you’ve been at your new job for a few weeks, ask your supervisor (or even a friendly coworker) if you can have some feedback on your performance so far and how you could improve.  Not only will this help you resolve any issues you might be having with the new culture, it will also signal that you are eager to learn and contribute to the company.

We hope that our advice on how to adjust to a new company has been helpful!  If there is anything else you would like to discuss, please contact our experts today.  We’re always happy to help!  

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