A new job can be both exciting and terrifying in equal measure. No matter what, changes are going to come. Don’t worry – Hays’ Robby Vanuxem is here to help you through them.
Starting a new job is a big milestone in your career. So, with your first day fast approaching, you will no doubt be feeling both excited and a little nervous.
After all, with a new job comes a lot of change, from a new routine and commute to a new environment. You will need to acclimatise to such adjustments quickly in order to ensure a strong start.
However, there are a few other less-obvious adjustments that you may not have necessarily anticipated as you prepare for starting your new job. These could catch you off guard and break your stride if you don’t brace yourself.
Feeling like the newbie
No doubt you felt settled, comfortable and had all the answers in your last job. Now you’re the newbie who is asking all the questions. This is one of the hardest adjustments to tackle in a new role.
There will be a lot to take in, so try to prioritise your learning, focusing firstly on understanding the business’s strategic priorities, who the most important people for you to build relationships with are and which tasks will form part of your day-to-day role.
Be sure to take notes and ask plenty of questions during your training and induction sessions, and don’t be afraid to ask the same question more than once. It’s better to clarify something you are unsure of now, as opposed to later down the line when you are expected to know this information already.
After all, you’re new and questions are to be expected. It can help to find a colleague who you feel is knowledgeable and to whom you feel comfortable asking questions.
Not having an instant rapport with your new boss
You probably won’t click with your new boss straight away. Yes, in your previous role, you developed a good rapport with your manager and a great working relationship. Over time, you came to appreciate their preferred communication style, their expectations and their standards. But now, in your new role, you will need to build this important relationship again from scratch.
Firstly, I would advise that you clear your head of any preconceived ideas about your new boss based on your previous one. This is a clean slate; no two bosses are the same and you will have to take the time to get to know this one.
Secondly, make getting to know your boss and observing their communication style a priority. You can begin to try and build a rapport before your start date by emailing your manager to see if they’d like you to do any prep work before you start, or asking if they would like to meet for coffee.
It’s also a good idea to understand from the very beginning what your boss expects of you in your first week, second week, first month and so forth. From here on, be proactive in scheduling catch-up meetings to discuss your progress.
Lastly, stay patient. Don’t try and jump-start a relationship that hasn’t formed yet, or envy your colleagues who already have a great, longstanding working relationship with your new boss. Patience is a virtue and, in due course, you will find yourself building a good dynamic with your manager if you are proactive and put the effort in.
Not feeling fully integrated straight away
Just like with your new boss, your new company culture will take some time to get used to. Company culture is basically the personality of a company and is embedded in a number of environmental factors, such as the way senior leaders interact with the rest of the workforce, the dynamic the employees have with one another, plus the overriding work ethic, values and objectives of the business.
When you realise how different your new workplace culture will be, it’s no wonder that this will take some getting used to. Don’t be surprised if you experience a bit of culture shock.
You can brace yourself for this adjustment by researching the company further before you begin your role. Look at their social media accounts, careers website and Glassdoor profile. These can often indicate a company’s tone of voice and build a picture of how staff engage with one another.
On the morning of your first day, get into a positive mindset. Promise yourself that you will be brave in integrating yourself into this unfamiliar environment. Talk to everyone, remember names, ask questions and observe everything around you. Be patient, and remember that truly fitting in with a new organisation takes time.
Feeling like you can’t be your authentic self
Like I said, it may take time to integrate with this new company culture. So, during your first few weeks, you may be tempted to try and change your personality or be something you’re not in order to fit in. Obviously, professionalism is key, but I would advise against this.
Firstly, you were hired on the basis of your authentic self being a good fit for the company culture, not this pretend self that you think people want to meet.
Secondly, being your authentic self will build your trust and credibility with others, allowing you to establish genuine relationships.
It takes all sorts of personalities to make up a company culture, and no doubt you are a great fit in your own unique way. Stay true to yourself and you will feel like part of the team over time.
Missing your old job
Even if you didn’t like your last job that much, at some point during your first few weeks, you may don those rose-tinted glasses and feel a pang of nostalgia. The old and familiar will suddenly feel so appealing and you might even find yourself wanting to go back.
Remember that this feeling is normal when starting a new job, especially if you are struggling with the above adjustments. However, you must remind yourself that you left your previous job for a reason. Try not to compare the two. This is a fresh start and, over time, your previous role will feel like a distant memory.
Adjustments in your new role and everything that comes with it could take anywhere from three to six months. Sometimes, it will be even longer depending on the technicality and seniority of the role. The key is to prepare yourself for these less-expected adjustments, facing them with a positive and patient attitude.
Remember, this change is just another chapter in your career success story, and you can’t experience success without taking a leap of faith from time to time.
Robby Vanuxem is the managing director of Hays Belgium.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.