After series of interviews, tests and meetings, you finally land the job! Naturally, you can’t wait to dive in and achieve ground breaking results but at the same time a plethora of questions begin to flood your mind; all the questions you can possibly think of under the sun.
It started off with the more technical bits like:
- Am I even good enough for the role?
- How will my performance be measured?
- What if I don’t excel?
- How do I prove myself?
- Can I do this for the long haul?
- Is this really where I should be?
- What if the culture doesn’t align with my values?
- Is this really what I should be doing?
Somehow I found myself asking a few trivial but relevant questions like:
- Will they think I wear too much black?
- Is it okay to drink garri?
- Can I take the noise level?
- Am I eventually going to match the noise level?
- What’s my best route to work?
- When is it okay to get friendly?
I really did ask all those questions and then some more…eventually, I realized it was really okay to ask those questions and most importantly, it was okay to simply be myself, give myself room to experience all the little joys that come with being the “new girl”.
It took a lot of unlearning, learning and relearning, understanding the importance of asking the right people the right questions, taking into account lessons from each day as I evolve into the bringing the best version of myself to light.
Nonetheless, a number of things helped me cope with my new work environment however, I’ll only be sharing three (3):
- Observe: Pay attention to the culture. Understand that you’re in a new space with new people who have behaviours and values that you’re unfamiliar with, who exhibit work cultures that may differ from anything you’re probably used to. It’s important to take time out to study and understand how key individuals e.g your boss and your team mates react to certain situations, the manner of dialogue, how they handle challenges both internally and externally. The key isn’t just in observing however, but in observing to see how their behaviours can influence yours and yours theirs, ask questions, and never assume you’re a walking encyclopedia.
- Right alliance: Still taking a cue from observing your environment, it is important to stay neutral, objectively assess situations before taking sides, be friendly but don’t get sucked into the clique life just yet or at all if you can. This is not to say that you become hostile but be sensible in dealing with people around you. As you can imagine, this process takes time, don’t rush it… trust the process.
- Attitude: The right attitude towards work, being a team player, being willing to go the extra mile, taking time out to get to know members of your team; after all chances are that you’re going to be stuck with them for a long time. Be warm, accommodating, and helpful, share new knowledge without truly expecting anything in return and hopefully things pan out in your favour. Don’t forget to be firm and assertive, show confidence when and where you need to and be open to seeing things from a different perspective.
Ultimately, no rule books exist for how to cope with a new work environment and if they did, there are no hard and fast rules to adapting. Find what works for you and you’ll be well on your way to conquering!
How have you dealt with being the newbie at work, church, school or similar communities?