The Newbie Survival Guide: Top Tips for Adjusting to Your New Job

Survival tips for office newbies

By , Contributor

It’s your first day at your new job. You dressed to the nines, made sure you have everything you need in your bag, and went to work feeling 100% positive that the day would turn out well. However, the balloon of excitement in your chest immediately deflates once you realize that you’re like a fish out of water at your new workplace. Everything and everyone is unfamiliar — from the guard who opened the glass doors for you to the receptionist who gave you a visitor’s ID at the lobby and the colleagues who looked at you with raised eyebrows, every single living and non-living thing at your new job seems totally unwelcoming. So the smile on your face evaporates into thin air and you’re left feeling alone, not to mention miserable.

Honey, don’t feel so down. Every office newbie goes through the same “I-am-so-alone, I-have-no-idea-what-this-job-is” and “I-think-I’ll-resign-early” phase during the first few days at a new workplace. It’s perfectly normal to have first-day jitters. Because everything and everyone is so unfamiliar to you, you’ll definitely feel like a complete stranger at first. Take comfort in knowing that everyone who was hired before you also felt the same way during their first few weeks. Adjusting to a new job may take some time, but it is actually not as difficult as you think. If you’re still sitting at the farthest corner of the office pantry and eating alone after, say, a month or two, then you’re probably in need of these newbie survival tips:

Learn the Ropes of Your Job

Learn the ins and outs of your new job. Above anything else, this is the most important thing you should do if you want to quickly transition from the newbie who knows nothing to the employee who can handle anything. Prioritize learning about your job and accomplishing unfamiliar tasks before socializing with your new colleagues. Your superiors—and everyone else on the team—are watching you, so focus on making a good impression. Go the extra mile if you can. This doesn’t mean, though, that you stay cooped up in your cubicle even during break hours. As with all other jobs, you need to learn to strike a balance between work and play.

Adapt to the Office Culture

During your first few weeks, listen carefully and be observant. This will help you get a good grasp of the culture in your new workplace. Learn the corporate culture and adapt as necessary. Make friends, accept lunch invitations, dress appropriately, and come to work early. Be friendly and build rapport. Remember that you’re the new kid on the block, so you have to be the one to reach out to your colleagues and not the other way around. This way, you can break the ice and fit in more quickly.

Ask Questions

If you don’t know how to send an Internet fax, then ask your colleague to teach you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even for seemingly trivial tasks like this. Accept the fact that every single thing in your new office—from facilities to tools and workflow—is unfamiliar to you, so ask questions when necessary. Don’t be a know-it-all. Be willing to admit your lack of knowledge or expertise in certain areas of your job and know when to ask for assistance.

Give It Time

Lastly, give yourself time to adjust to your new job. It won’t happen overnight. You’ll probably even make mistakes as you go along, but it’s all part of the initial phase and learning curve. Give it time, and you’ll fit in your new work environment sooner than you think.

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Nancy Perkins, a full-time mommy wannabe, has been a freelance online writer for two years now. She loves sharing information on health, business, technology, fashion, women's issues and motherhood. Nancy lives life to its fullest each day and is dreaming of retiring on an island she will someday own.

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