Starting at a new job can be terrifying and exciting in equal parts, and the first few weeks can set the tone for the rest of your time at the company. Since we spend roughly a third of our waking hours at work, there’s no reason for us not to try and make friends with our coworkers. After all, the more comfortable you feel to be yourself and share your ideas, the better your work will be. Navigating a new company climate and culture can be tricky, so here are a few tips from one newbie to another about how to rock your new job.
Give Relevant Insights
There are very few things as nerve-wracking as speaking up and giving your thoughts while still being new at a company. More often than not, people fall to one side of the spectrum or the other when it comes to sharing insights and perspectives. They either say too much or too little.
Being a Project Manager at PRPL meant that I was expected to give my thoughts and insights straight from the outset. The key for me was finding the balance between offering my own perspective and relying on my team to play to their own strengths, even if I didn’t know all of them yet. If you listen and support your team, they will listen and support you.
If a company hired you, then they already believe you bring something to the table, so you should never feel that your lack of seniority is a barrier to you giving your opinion. On the other hand, if you always give your opinion unnecessarily — especially when it’s not particularly relevant — this eagerness can easily be mistaken for arrogance. Give insight when it’s impactful and you know you can support your claims, but don’t feel pressured to always add something to the conversation.
Don’t Eat By Yourself
This should be a no-brainer, but don’t eat lunch by yourself! Things haven’t changed since school. It can still be a bit nerve-wracking to approach a group of people at lunch and sit down with them. You have to be willing to set the nerves aside and approach them, understanding that they probably want to get to know you too.
If people in your office go out for lunch often, be the one to suggest a restaurant, or ask if anyone else is grabbing a bite. Casual gatherings are a great way for people to get to know you in a low pressure environment. At the PRPL office, there’s always a group that’s down to hit up a local lunch spot, but you can also eat in the kitchen with the people who brought their brown bags.
Take Initiative and Share Your Passions
When you start at a new job, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of expecting others to take all the initiative. Rather than falling into ‘me’
vs ‘them’ mentality, recognize that the office is full of all types of people — shy, outgoing, eccentric, timid — and
while it’s great to have people immediately reach out, you have to put yourself out there if you want to know everyone. As soon as we realize this, it should become easier to take initiative and show a genuine interest in your co-worker’s unique characteristics.
Every office has cliques, and it isn’t always a bad thing. While it’s easy to view these cliques as impenetrable social walls, instead you should see them as groups that have bonded over a common interest or passion. In the workplace, these groups are not something to avoid, but rather they are a chance to bond with like-minded people. This means finding your place is simply about sharing what makes you happy, and not being afraid to share what you’re passionate about with others. Give people something to connect to, and the rest will take care of itself.
At PRPL, our friendships form the social fabric of our team. We strive to always have an inclusive mindset, so that newbies never feel left out. Whether we’re bouncing ideas off each other in our teams, grabbing lunch with a few friends, or enjoying in-office happy hour with the whole PRPL crew, it’s always better together.
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