Ten Tips for Settling into a New Job

You’re on the way home. It’s hot outside. It’s hot in your car. Your thoughts are somewhere else when you get the phone call: “We’d like to offer you the position,” says the voice on the other end. Suddenly you forget about the heat.

The moments after you get a job offer you feel relief, excitement and confidence. It’s an exhilarating moment, but once the celebration is over, you’ll soon realize it can be a daunting experience as well.

As a newbie you’re tasked with learning new names, faces, procedures, acronyms and company culture. But as the new kid on the block you get away with asking questions — which brings us to our first piece of advice.

Tip One: Be curious. Ask questions. If a question is nagging at you, ask it. Sometimes you can try to figure things out yourself but many times you end up wasting hours and hours, and sometimes days, by not getting a quick answer from those who know.

Tip Two: Befriend the people in your new-hire orientation class. Those will be the first group of people you’ll spend hours with. You’re all new, you’re all trying to navigate a new system and you’re all probably looking for something to attach to in this new environment. If it’s appropriate, reach out to the people in this group in the weeks following orientation for a lunch or coffee chat.  

Tip Three: Find your ambassadors. These are your allies — the people who believe in your role and your department’s role. The connection you forge with them will make your work life easier.

Tip Four: Be relentless about building relationships. Your co-workers are looking for an excuse to leave the building for lunch one day. Give them one. If time and schedules are an issue, you might even try to arrange a 15-minute coffee break in one of your employee lounging areas.

Tip Five: Set long- and short-term goals you want to reach in your new role. These should be goals you deem most important in making the biggest impact where you are. It’s a good idea to ask your manager what he or she thinks you could do to make the biggest impact. You don’t want to put efforts into something only to find out it wasn’t a priority.

Tip Six: Get organized. You’re starting off with no paper files, no electronic files, no emails, no baggage. This is the time to set your files up in a way that’s conducive to productivity. You may not have many electronic files but set your folders up anyway so that when files start to trickle in (and eventually pour in) you can put them where they belong.

Tip Seven: Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re bound to have an oopsie moment…an “aww shux I stuck my foot in my mouth” moment…a “why couldn’t I articulate any sounds when the CEO came up to me” moment. It’s okay. Just don’t make a habit of it.

Tip Eight: Don’t take it personal! You haven’t been there long enough to have accumulated bad history with anyone. If someone seems to be rough and gruff, that may just be how they are. Don’t assume a “nobody likes me” stance. You’re new. It’s going to take time for people to get to know you and for you to get to know them. Everything will eventually fall into place and you’ll be a regular part of the crew in no time.

Tip Nine: Be yourself. Not much to add here. Fitting into a company’s culture is important but you should not have to change who you are at your core to fit into the new environment.

Tip Ten: Have fun! Whatever happens, this is a new experience. Consider it an adventure.

What are some things that worked for you when you first started a job? Share them!


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