January 17, 2019

New kid in town? Here’s how to get on board with your new normal at work.

Say hello to your new “we.”

Maureen Kennedy, Bravely Pro

We’ve all worked with that new co-worker who talked about their old company for weeks or months after they started.“Well, we did it this way,” they’d say. “We would never do it that way.”They just couldn’t let go of the old we and embrace the new we.

When you start a new job, it’s important to take the time to reframe your we before you begin. Embracing your new identity as part of your new team, department, and organization will help you transition faster. You may be new, but you’re part of a new we.

So how can you embrace your new we?

Search for culture clues.

Every company has its own culture, and every team has its own micro-culture. The culture is how the work gets done: and in those first days and weeks, it’s critical to listen to what people are saying (and not saying) to pick up all the culture clues. Take notice of how meetings are run (Do they start late? Who talks?), how people communicate (via Slack, email, or in person?), and how they socialize. Find a co-worker that you trust and turn them into your own cultural ambassador, picking their brain on how things work. The faster you understand how work gets done, the less time you’ll spend worrying about getting it right, and the faster you’ll acclimate to the new way of working.

Get your story straight.

Before your first day, get your story straight. Practice introducing yourself (it can be a quick monologue) in a way that highlights your background and experience. Practice reciting this until it feels natural! If you had a big career change, be ready for questions from curious coworkers. You’ll be meeting a lot of new people, and your intro can be an easy icebreaker to help you build rapport with them.

Prepare for the “new job blues.”

Starting a new job is exciting. But it can be exhausting to feel like you need to be “on” all day and introduce yourself to everyone you meet , even for the biggest extrovert. That’s why some people fall victim to the new job blues.They just want to crawl into bed right after work and unplug their brains. Think back to times you started a new job — did this happen? If so, get prepared by filling your new fridge with healthy comfort food. Plan to reach out to a few old friends that first week who will help you shake off your new-ness, get enough sleep, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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