I’m a month in to my new life and I have to say it’s shaping up pretty sweet. The (two) day job is paying the bills but it’s also meant I’m getting to work with a whole new team of awesome people. My days in the office give me the chance to catch up with other adults, take a leisurely lunch sans baby, oh, and use my brain. I’m also learning some useful new skills, both in HTML and settling in.
After 8 years in the same job it could be considered pretty daunting to be thrown into a whole new office environment but having started two new jobs (I’m also doing some contracting for a local university at the minute) in the last month I feel like I’m becoming a bit of a pro. During this process it’s also struck me that the whole settling in thing is a skill I need to get good at because as a freelancer I’m going to be having this experience A LOT.
So, as a reminder to me, and tips for others in a similar situation, here are the three key things that have helped me survive my month as a new girl (twice over).
When in a new environment it can be a bit overwhelming, you’ve got no idea who anyone is or even where the toilets are. Even if you’re feeling nervous as hell keeping a friendly, upbeat smile on your face means others won’t see your inner wobbles. Plus, making a good first impression on the folk in the office will not only make your time working there more pleasant and help you feel part of the team more quickly, if you’re a freelancer it could even lead to more work from the large number of new contacts you’ve just made.
- Ask questions
Depending on the kind of role you’re going into and whether it’s temp, perm or contract, there will be a varying degree of expectation on your shoulders. But whatever the expectation, it’s essential to ask questions. I used to always feel too nervous to ask too many questions but I’ve now got to the age where I give far fewer fucks and if I’m not sure about something I just ask. I’d rather ask and get it right than sit and procrastinate, and normally your employer will be glad of that (I know when the shoe was on the other foot I welcomed questions). If you really, really feel like you can’t ask your new boss something, either use your existing contacts (think hard enough and you’re bound to know someone who’s an expert) or, if all else fails, ask Google.
- Be confident
This kind of links into the other two, but whatever you do, be confident. Remember they employed you for a reason, because you have the skills and ability to do what they need you to do. Sure it might take you a while to get your head round it (I’ll admit I’m still not entirely sure what a span tag does), but remember, you’ve got this. When you’re out on your own you’ve got to be your own cheerleader, so get those pompoms at the ready.
So wherever I’m called on to go these days I’m keeping that smile on my face, those questions on the tip of my tongue and believing in myself the whole while. And remember, the best thing about being the new girl is that you get to recreate yourself and be exactly who you want to be.