How to Adapt to a New Job – Part I

December 31st, 2012 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

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After you’ve finally obtained that long coveted job, where do you go from there? We’ve got you covered with a few tips on how to adapt to all the demands of any new job.

Unlike the Disney films of your childhood, when you overcome all odds to succeed at the end of a long struggle, life doesn’t freeze in that idyllic moment and certainly doesn’t cue up a sappy overture to celebrate your success. It continues on, the way it did before, only with the challenge now being how you adapt to your new situation. The moment after securing a new job is no different. Depending on certain factors (industry, atmosphere, culture, people, and projects), your learning curve may differ but you can almost guarantee a smoother transition with these 6 simple steps.

1.) Learn the company’s history & practices: Unless you are on the ground floor of a company from day one, chances are that a culture, history, and way of doing things predate your arrival. You should be intimately aware of all three. Before your interview, you should have already performed some preliminary research (if not, brush up on this before your next interview). Using this information as your staging point, ask direct questions to determine the more involved aspects of the company’s history, procedures, & practices as you try to adjust.

When new employees fail to familiarize themselves with the past, they risk stumbling during those opening weeks. They may broach sore topics of discussion or trudge through well-worn project failures. Without research, even your best intentions may accidently stir up unnecessary office discord. To avoid that possibility, uncover all the important events, successes, and missed opportunities to keep your ideas sounding fresh and to minimize the potential for any gaffs as you acclimate.

2.) Ask questions: This is the perfect time to ask a slew of questions. As the new person on the job, it is perfectly appropriate for you to inquire about policies and procedures. In fact, if you ask really poignant questions, you can even build up your respect within the company as you build up your company knowledge base. Asking questions conveys your genuine interest in your new role, so it’s okay to show your gung-ho inquisitiveness from the start!

Just make sure that when you’re asking questions, you absorb as much of that information as possible. Of course, you’re allowed some wiggle room as you adapt to new loads of information. If time goes on in this new job and you fail to retain information, your inquisitiveness, once perceived as a positive, may soon paint you as a vacant, dead-end employee.

3.) Reach out to your new coworkers: Since you’ll be spending most of your waking hours with them, it’s best to establish friendly ties with your new coworkers. Your interactions on the job will be better and you will run into fewer major problems if your coworkers enjoy your company. For those folks naturally inclined to the gift of gab, taking those first social steps may feel as natural breathing. For introverted folks, those first social steps may not seem so natural, so here are some tactics to quickly modify your new coworkers’ perceptions.

Extend a friendly greeting when you first meet new people. Engage your coworkers in small talk and ask them open-ended questions about their family, lives, & interests. If you’re looking to make headway real fast, bringing in a snack for the whole office is never a bad idea. Whatever you choose to do, make it personal and make sure the effect isn’t only a brief, fleeting connection; the whole purpose of building up stable relationships as you adapt to your new job is to have a network to help you resolve problems, big & small, that might have otherwise stumped you.

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by James Walsh

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