You thought finding a place to sit in the cafeteria as the new kid or struggling to make friends in a new environment was over when you graduated high school--boy, were you wrong. Kids might grow up, but there are still cliques: mean girls, bullies, the cool lunch table. As the new kid on the block, joining a new department or company can be challenging, and not just because you have a brand new job to do. You also need to find your stride amongst your peers while also making a positive impact on the bosses.
And you thought middle school was tough.
Fortunately, you're older now, presumably wiser, and a lot more confident than you were as a bumbling teen. While every job environment is different, there are some hacks to adapting and fitting in from the start. It doesn't matter if you're naturally a social butterfly, nearly a recluse, or somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Try out these 10 tips for new employees and make the transition as easy as possible.
1. Research your environment before diving in.
Sometimes you'll be able to get a sneak peek of what to expect--for example, companies like Google (and other major corporations) are pretty transparent about the company culture. You might be able to find company videos, YouTube channels. or helpful blogs and forums to prepare you for your first day. You can also glean tips from what employees write on glassdoor.com. Knowing how relaxed (or not) a company is, what the "average worker" is like in your department, or the general dress code can help you prep for fitting in.
2. Smile, ask questions, and be interested.
It might sound like advice for a first date, but these three things can go a long way. You're going to enjoy punching the clock much more if you genuinely like the people around you. Get started on the right foot by being friendly. People like people who are curious about them. (In other words, everyone's a narcissist). Like it or not, "making friends" can be just as important as doing your job well.
3. Practice saying yes.
You might feel overwhelmed, but as a newbie always say yes if someone asks you for coffee, to lunch, to volunteer on a project or just about anything else. Being agreeable comes before being a pushover. You have to prove yourself before you can say no.
4. Don't complain.
In your first few weeks, you have no room for complaint. Take initiative, look into why things are done the way they are, and take everything as a learning experience. You need to master the field before you start making suggestions.
5. Respect everyone.
It doesn't matter where you are in the pecking order or where anyone else is. Treat everyone with the same high level of respect, from the entry-level employee to the CEO. You never know who could have your back, do you a favor--or even be your undoing.
6. Give 110 percent.
Or 120. Or 150. The point is, as a newbie you need to work harder than anyone else. You need to prove you want to be there, you like to be there, and you'll give it your all.
7. Repeat everyone's name after being introduced.
You're overwhelmed, but forgetting someone's name can be one of the biggest blunders you make. Make it a point to repeat everyone's name after introductions, and address them by name whenever possible. You need to drill those monikers into your head.
8. Appreciate company quirks.
You might not "get" the weird birthday song yet or why Friday night happy hours are always at the same bar, but go along with it. Traditions are important, and giving them a fair shot can help you get integrated.
9. The SOP is your bible.
Chances are your predecessor spent a long time putting together that handbook of Standard Operator Procedures. Learn it, memorize it, and live it. It's your cheat sheet. Why would you ignore it?
10. Offer to help.
It doesn't matter if it's carrying files to storage or helping a co-workers with a spreadsheet. If you can help in any way, do so. That's where teamwork is born.