Doing anything new can be scary. From a first day at school to your first date to your first solo record, all are common experiences of human cease-to-existence. But perhaps the most daunting of new starts is the new job. As bad as that Admin role at the chicken hatchery was, at least there was comfort in being part of the furniture after 5 years of loyal service. Unfortunately, you were often literally part of the furniture, as the Head Poultry Tender would use you as a seat during meetings, but you will miss the staff and the rhythmic cluck of 12,000 caged hens punctuating the day. Now in your new shiny role, you must adapt. The quicker you do this, the more likely your new job will start to feel comfortable and that queasy feeling in your stomach, of a thousand eels swimming in dodgy prawn curry, will disappear. As a newbie, there are 5 key markers along the path to adaptation-
People are who you will mostly be working with on a day-to-day basis, although occasionally some other species will cross your path. This is most likely to a be a monkey, and more than likely because your employer is paying peanuts. Monkeys aside, the quicker you can adapt to the people around you the better. As the newbie you will most likely be a novelty to your new co-workers, who will be desperate to hear your story. This interest in your past allows you some indulgences. You can hold centre stage in the staff room, as you wow your captive cup-o-soup audience with a lunch time matinee of your show “My Career to Date”. Or perhaps you choose to play the mysterious type, dropping crumbs of information on the trail to your true identity.
Coffee, or more correctly Bad coffee, allows you to highlight to your new colleagues, why in your opinion it is so. Perhaps it’s the grind or the bean choice, maybe the brand. You could explain how the Barista isn’t working the angles on the froth. No matter where you work the coffee is going to be worse than where you live, much like the toilets.
IT dealings illustrate that all new things come with a price. That price is bureaucracy and the unrequited friendship of Aban the Pakistani Help Desk Assistant. He will be the first person to learn your name and many other personal details that should have been between you and the employee information form.
Dress can be difficult. It’s hard to go from the freelance creative uniform of promotional t-shirt and happy pants, to that of the corporate cattle. Research and learn where the boundaries lie quickly. Corporate casual, like the notion of Easter and ‘Make Yourself at Home’, can mean different things to different people. Guys this may mean a tie. Don’t worry, it can be used to cut circulation to the brain, causing you to pass out in boring meetings. Girls this may mean skirts. Let your legs out with caution. If you’re lucky they’ll be an asset, asserting your body language like a high jumper to a pole. If you’re legs have more in common with sea lions, make sure you appropriately tame them with devices such as stockings and tanning. This goes double for male skirt wearers.
This could take years of dedication, with the true aim to get your co-workers thinking you may be Batman. Either way, your future and past is in your hands.
Nostalgia for your old job is a natural part of adjusting. It may mean you doubt the wisdom of your choice to leave...don’t worry, that will pass as soon as you bump into your old colleagues. Use this nostalgia to talk up your old workplace. It will make you sound more exotic and wise to your new friends, and leave them thinking that you could up-and-leave at any minute you get an offer, like a maverick gun for hire. Phrases such as “ Yeah, I remember at the last place I worked we did something like that....about 4 years ago.” should keep everyone on their toes and in suitable awe.
Like most things, fear is based on the unknown. By following the above advice, you’ll be able to avoid the fear of being the newbie, and adapt like the corporate chameleon you always dreamed you’d become….no wait, that was a Freelance lingerie Photographer in Helsinki. Dreams change huh?!