You’ve landed your first office role. Congrats and welcome to the corporate world!
Working in any new environment will bring a lot of anxiety and a lot of questions: What should I be anticipating? What should I wear? How should I prepare? Are there any office faux pas I should avoid? What does professional mean?
First thing is first: DON’T PANIC! First-day jitters are completely normal; starting a new job in any environment can (and should) be nerve-wracking, but it’s also very exciting.
A new job means a new opportunity to flex those professional muscles. It also provides a chance for you to apply your transferrable skills as well as add new skills to your professional toolbox.
To help navigate through corporate jungle, here are 7 tips and tricks to help you during your transition into an office environment.
1. Learn the Company Culture
Once you are in your new role, familiarizing yourself with the company culture is important. If you’re not sure where to start, learning your new employer’s company culture is a quick and easy place to begin.
Additionally, reviewing the company’s vision and mission statements can also give you a leg-up in understanding the company.
Do your homework and check out the company’s history page in your downtime and learn who’s who.
2. Get to Know Your Coworkers
Being the new kid on the block is never easy, but it is important to remember your new colleagues are trying to learn about you as much as you are about them. Take advantage of simple ice breakers to start conversations. Be sure to ask questions and be engaged with their answers.
Try to avoid speaking negatively about your past employer or ask questions around the latest office gossip; you don’t want the first impression you leave on others to be that you are eager to engage in negative workplace behaviors and contribute to the drama.
Observe how others interact with each other and always remain respectful. Compliments are a great way to break the ice and get brownie points with others.
Some veteran coworkers might be a little tough to get to know at first, but gaining trust is a two-way street.
Remember: Proper office etiquette goes hand-in-hand with getting to know your coworkers and culture.
training and orientation is time the company set aside specifically to teach you, so you are set up for success; take advantage of it
If you are shifting to a more traditional office environment from a retail or food service position, being mindful of both internal and external communication is very important.
Review the best practices for internal and external communication with your trainer and be sure to ask how to write a proper email.
Inter-office communication with your peers can typically be more relaxed than the emails you send to clients and customers, but they should always be professional.
4. Know Your Learning Style
If you are transitioning from a service position, you know all too well that standing on your feet and performing physical tasks for eight hours can be draining, but so can absorbing new information.
The first day of training/orientation can be so full of information your brain may feel like it just ran a marathon.
This is completely normal. Just remember to take training one step at a time, and do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification. New hire training and orientation is time the company set aside specifically to teach so you are set up for success, so take advantage of it.
If you know you are a visual or auditory learner, tell your trainer. This will help them teach you, which will, in turn, help you learn information.
Pro tip: Never underestimate the power of good notes
5. Set Realistic Goals
When starting a new job, it’s easy to want to hit the ground running and prove you know your stuff. But we all have to walk before we can run (and in some instances, we have to learn to crawl before we can even walk).
As much as companies LOVE eager workers, they love employees who are equipped to handle the roles of their job even more.
Depending on your situation, it might not be a bad idea to have a conversation with your manager and/or supervisor to better understand the expectations they have for you in your first 90 days.
If needed, quickly touch base with your supervisor throughout the training process to make sure you are on track and meeting expectations.
6. Ask for Help
When we start a new job, our personal anxieties can cause us to fall into the trap of not asking for help when we need it. And this makes sense to a point: We don’t want to seem like a burden, or that we aren’t catching on fast enough and aren’t a good fit for the role.
But all this anxiety does is stop us from seeing the perspective of the trainer. When you ask someone for assistance, it shows you trust the person and their expertise. Additionally, it shows you are engaged and want to understand what they are trying to teach you.
If your company has a positive culture, they will want to help you succeed in any way, and will not mind helping when you have questions.
7. Stay Positive
The most important thing to remember when starting a new job is that it is new.
You’re not going to have all the answers, and this is okay –no one expects you to.
Changing careers or starting in a new field is just as exciting as it is scary. And just like learning how to play an instrument or drive a car, when you’re learning, there will be good days and bad days. But the important thing is to not give up when those bad days come.
If you are able to maintain a positive attitude and take the speedbumps with as much enthusiasm as you are your successes, you will be sure to succeed wherever you go in your career.