How to successfully navigate the first few weeks at a new corporate job


Starting a new corporate job can be scary. You are walking into a new building, with new coworkers and new responsibilities. Whether this is your first corporate job, or just a new one, navigating those first few weeks is a little tricky. Most new employees spend those first few weeks trying to juggle everything from learning their new job, to remembering everyone they meet, to simply finding their way around the office. Navigating a new corporate job is sometimes a little unnerving, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother.

Build up your wardrobe

If this is your first corporate job, you may not have a closet full of the right clothing. Before you step foot into the office, you should go out and buy yourself some new clothes that will be suitable for your new job. You don’t have to spend a ton, as a few different essential pieces can combine into a lot of different options. Having the right clothing will help you to not only fit in, but make you feel more confident as well.

Get to know your coworkers

After you’ve gotten into the office, one of the first things you should do is get to know the people around you. Make a point of trying to remember everyone’s name, along with some basic information about them. If you have to, use some memory tricks, or jot down some notes. Getting to know your coworkers serves two vital purposes. First, it will help you to feel more comfortable around the office. Having some friends in the office will keep you from sitting at your desk all day by yourself and make the day go by quicker. (Just be careful about how friendly you get – some of your colleagues may be more competitive than you think.)

Second, you’ll feel more comfortable asking for help if you are familiar with your coworkers. There is going to be a lot to learn those first few weeks, and you are bound to forget something or have some questions. By getting to know your coworkers, you’ll establish some connections that can help your initial transition.

Find out what your bosses like

Besides your coworkers, it’s also a good idea to get to know your bosses a little bit. Specifically, you should find out how your boss likes things done. Everyone has their preferred way of doing things, and by learning how your manager wants to do things, you can more quickly adapt yourself to the office. You can also take this time to learn a few personal details about your boss, and try to form a more personal connection with them. Of course, keep it professional, and don’t be over eager – keep it to small talk for those first few weeks.

Learn about the office norms

The quickest way to start fitting in is to learn about what is normal around the office. Does everyone show up early? Do they stay late? Does Monday morning start with everyone catching up on their weekends, or do they dive right into their work? Study the day to day habits of your coworkers, and try to emulate them. If everyone in your department takes turns buying coffee for the group, make sure you sign up for a shift.

Be as helpful as you can

As you’re first getting started, you may not have a huge workload. This will lead to downtime, and instead of waiting for someone to assign you something new, look for opportunities to help. By being helpful you get the opportunity to interact with your coworkers, give off a good impression of yourself, and impress the bosses a little. Be careful not too take too much onto your plate, but if you find an opportunity to help someone out in your downtime, try to take it. Always offering to help your team may even make you an indispensable employee in the future.

Take lots of notes

While learning your new role, take notes on all the instructions you are given. Before you ask any follow up questions, take a moment to scan over your notes and ensure that the question wasn’t already answered. Taking notes not only helps you to remember all the new information you’re given, but shows that you are interested in what the other person is saying. Good notes will give you a valuable resource to rely on, while also keeping your colleagues or manager from having to repeat themselves.

Get adjusted before making suggestions

One pitfall some new employees fall into is making suggestions before becoming adjusted to the new office. If you think you’ve found a better way of doing something, give it some time before you bring it up. There’s a chance you’re not seeing the entire picture and that your suggestion has already been thought of. While it’s a good idea to look for ways to innovate, make sure you know how everything works first.

Once comfortable, ask for feedback

The last tip for navigating your new corporate job is to ask for some feedback. After you have been at the job for a few weeks, see if you can schedule some time with your manager and ask for feedback on your progress. Find out what you have been doing well, and what you need to work on. Asking for feedback shows that you care about the job and provides you with further ways to adapt to the new job. Don’t wait for your manager to bring something up first, potentially after you make a mistake – proactively schedule a meeting, and then you can start improving your work performance sooner.

Fitting in won’t take long

When you first start your new corporate job, you may feel out of place. However, the more involved you get with the organization and the people in it, the sooner you will feel like a part of it all. Those first few weeks may be rough, but if you can get to know the people around you, and slowly become accustomed to your job, they will go by quickly.

Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg MVO Nederland afscheidssymposium Willem Lageweg via photopin (license)

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