Working at VINA is my first real job out of college. It’s exciting, but a much different experience than any job I’ve had before. Adjusting from previous internships where my main responsibility was making coffee to one where I am responsible for relatively high-profile essential content and digital assets has been, and continues to be, an invaluable learning experience.
It’s thrilling, really. On top of the increased sense of responsibility, I’ve also had to insert myself into a new working culture and figure out how to fit in. Honestly, it’s been a pretty easy transition at VINA HQ due to a fantastic, welcoming team and office culture, but I know for others it can be more difficult. Here’s what I’ve learned so far about how to easily adjust to a new workplace:
LEARN THE CULTURE
Whether you get the gist of it during on-boarding or you found out from your new desk-mate, make sure that you get a feel for the culture. Workplace culture encompasses everything from the office social life to the overall business values of your company. Even things like where and when people eat lunch, or how they communicate on a daily basis are important things to recognize and adjust to. For me, learning to use Slack for questions and communication (versus email which is what I had been accustomed to) was a little bit of an adjustment! A month later, I realize we couldn’t operate the same way without this messaging system, and I’ve been using it for everything from urgent communications to mundane or silly notes. Making yourself familiar with the specifics of your new office culture will make the transition much, much easier. Be open to change, and enjoy getting to know your new workplace!
MAKE YOUR SPACE YOUR OWN
When I started at VINA, I got my own desk (arranged in a cluster with two others). It had my computer and some digital accessories, but other than that, it was mine to decorate! Because I’m in a desk cluster with two other people, I wanted to keep my tchatkis to a minimum but still reflective of my personality. Making a space your own is so important – it helps you feel more at home, and it gives your coworkers a sneak peak into your style and personal flair!
I chose a picture of my mother, a little decorative box, and my favorite ceramic hand/crystal. All of them are small, so they don’t overwhelm my cluster-mates, but they’re enough to make me feel happy every time I look at them. I also brought in a little plant to add some green to our office, a benefit for everyone. If you’re sharing a space like me, make sure you keep your coworkers in mind, notice what they’ve brought in, and keep the decoration minimal and personal.
There’s no doubt about it – starting a new job is stressful. Through the piles of paperwork, on-boarding documents and meetings, and new tasks or projects, a lot is thrown on your plate at once. Sure, it’s exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. One thing that has helped me stay on top of my work in the first month here at VINA was organizing my schedule and task list, communicating frequently with my supervisors, and managing my time effectively. The earlier you start organizing and developing your work flow, the easier the transition into your new position will be.
This wasn’t true at VINA for me, but at past jobs, the first couple of weeks involved a lot of downtime. It could be that your new supervisor needs to decide and delegate work to you or that the projects you’ll be working on haven’t begun yet. Either way, try to keep yourself busy. Organize your calendar or agenda, set up necessary meetings, and get as much prep done as you can. Fill your downtime by being productive and getting to know people – you’ll have lots to do in no time!
(Featured image via carolinewhitephotography.com)