One month ago, I started working as an editorial fellow/reporter at GovLoop. This wasn’t the first time I started a new job in a new place, but this was the first time I felt so welcomed in a new environment. While part of the ease of transition had to do with my coworkers and the work I was assigned, there were some controllable elements I acknowledged and worked with to aid the transition:
- Set intentions.
My intention from day one was to give all of myself to the new position. My work is nowhere near done, but I did indeed start an article on the first day and contributed as much as I could to the GovLoop community in the days following.
When you have a goal or series of goals that you bring to work with you, your work takes on more meaning than merely checking off a few responsibilities every day. These goals can be milestones, such as publishing a certain number of articles or closing a number of deals by a certain date. They can also be smaller yet still notable achievements, such as delivering on a product earlier than the due date to allow for additional rounds of modifications.
- Hit the ground running.
Sometimes the first few days or weeks of a job can be slower than what you might later encounter. People understandably need some time to onboard to a new position, but you should remember to use the days of buffer time wisely. Perhaps establish connections with your team by getting acquainted over coffee.
If you’re stepping into a position that was previously in place, you could ask about the successes of your predecessors and what you can learn from them. You don’t have to duplicate the person before you, but you can learn from someone who was in your position at some point. Always evaluate and think critically.
You want to establish an atmosphere of productivity in your workplace from the start, not only for your own sake but also for the impression you leave on your coworkers and bosses. The psychological phenomenon known as the halo effect has long been recognized, and it suggests that “if we see a person first in a good light, it is difficult subsequently to darken that light.”
- Be consistent.
Even if your first impression is a good one, you have to be consistent in the respectful way you treat your coworkers, in the depth of effort you put into your position. In the words of American writer and historian Will Durant, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”
Be consistent in the standard you set for yourself and perform to that level. It’s ideal to have a standard that is higher than the one your boss expects; aiming to overperform and falling short still results in a better outcome than aiming for the bare minimum and falling short. Hopefully, you’re excited about the work that you do and happy at the company or agency you find yourself in, but even if you’re not you can still demonstrate your competency. That being said, you don’t have to stretch yourself thin every day; just consistently put all your effort into what you do every day and keep going.
- Slack on.
Slacking off is inappropriate for the workplace, but connectivity tools like Slack can be useful to create a sense of community. I left Slack on, joined some work channels and some fun channels, and turned notifications on, except in cases when I wanted to work deeply on a piece. I’ve participated in fun challenges, including an ongoing 50-day squat challenge, with my coworkers and discussed everything from beauty to tech to meditation to books whenever I had a minute to spare. This was helpful in making me feel more at home in an initially unfamiliar environment.
What have you done to ease into a workplace? Let us know in the comments below.