Tips on Surviving a New Workplace and Job

By Pamela Bongkiyung

Patience they say is a virtue but no one needs it more than oneself when you are under pressure to understand, learn and be on top of tasks at work. For those who have just begun a new role, in a totally new environment with unfamiliar terminology and processes, you will agree that it can be quite the challenge at the start. If you are most likely to understand quickly and get straight to work, it can be frustrating failing to grasp concepts as fast as you desire. Worse still, when you feel that colleagues are not giving you the time to learn to walk before you start running. But fear not, help is at hand.

Give Yourself Time

First things first, you need to give yourself time to learn about your new role, understand the structure of the new company and processes of the department. Sometimes, you may be too hard on yourself but you need to master the art of taking things lightly. This eludes some people still. If you fall in the latter category, do not fret. Take a day at a time and know that Rome was not built in a day.

Ask Questions

Do not be afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing ignorant or not in the know. It is only in asking that you get to know. You never know what help may become available, you only need to ask. Ask about what is expected of you, ask for clarification, ask your colleagues or someone who did a similar role how they tackled an issue you are struggling with. Ask those with more experience how to approach the role and what to do to stay motivated, interested, effective and productive. Yes, people may get impatient or fed-up by your many questions, and so what? I think in this case the end definitely justifies the means.

Set Goals

The more tasks you set and achieve, the more your confidence grows. Ensure that you are working towards achieving a goal. This not only helps in providing a sense of direction but gives you a work place purpose that keeps your mind away from idleness and thereby endless needless worries.

Do Not Look at Yourself through the eyes of others

Colleagues may not be as understanding and some could question your approach to doing your job. Sometimes, this presents itself in situations of professional slights, social interactions and tasks sent your way. Do not let this bother you. Yes I know, it is easier said than done. But always remember how you see yourself, what you know you are capable of and maintain a positive outlook. Politics sometimes plays out in the work place in the worst possible way. Woe betides anyone who is caught in the cross-hairs. Sometimes you can succeed to avoid it altogether depending on your job and position but other times, it remains inevitable. Decide to throw away the worse to gain experience on dealing with such situations. The next time you encounter that behaviour, it will be a none-issue. Compliments when they come, should be taken with a pinch of salt as overtime, you do not want that to be the definition of doing a good job. Within yourself, you always know when you are doing a great job and when you are floundering.

Listen More Than You Talk

It is said that we only say or repeat what we already know but by listening we learn new information. For some, being engaged means always participating in discussions and being outspoken at meetings. Those who do not speak up can be viewed as being less proactive. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the fêted Nigerian novelist once expressed her surprise on arrival in America that people got marks for speaking up in class. She said she failed to understand this art of speaking for the sake of it or to appear to be doing something as there were marks given for participation. As much as a good dialogue is good, when in learning mode, I prefer to sit quietly, listen, absorb, learn and ensure I fully grasp where the discussion is headed. Only then can one begin to develop ideas on how to contribute to the process. The pressure is high to be seen to be active and engaging but what this generates sometimes is the feeling of helplessness especially when the presence of your bosses add to your worry. Take your time in assessing the discussions, ensuring you capture each person’s perspective, then it can enable you to understand how to work with them.

Always Respect Authority

You may disagree with your bosses approach or treatment of you but never disrespect them. A wise birdie once told me that someday when you are in a position of authority, you too will want other people to follow your orders or prescriptions. Every good turn deserves another, so get on the programme.

I hope this has offered you some insights or some sort of relieve to know you are not alone in this. Always relax, take a day at a time whilst doing your best and know it will be alright. Some days start and end well. Others not so much but such is life.



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