Being the newbie blows. The first few weeks are not only draining but also exhausting. New people and culture to assimilate to, sometimes proves difficult for many. Particularly while still striving to learn exactly what the job description really is.
The vulnerability that is wrapped in this experience is out of this world more so for an inexperienced graduate. There’s is excitement, expectations and then, there is the reality which looks a little like this.
1. Can I go home?… Should I go home??
The dilemma here is whether to go home when the hours are clocked in or staying in the office afterhours when you notice everyone still typing away on their desktops.
Plan. That’s it. Get your work and priorities all ranked up first thing in the morning. Of course, consult and decipher what is a priority. This way you are under no compulsion to wait on three people for you to make a weird walk out of the office.
That list made in the morning sets you free. After ticking all the checkboxes in it, feel free to up and go. Catch that matatu before rush hour and finally get some rest after a hard day’s work.
Read the culture and mood in the office. Then adapt or twitch your style accordingly. The goal here is to be comfortable.
Office space equals people. People equal relationships. Again the pressure to relate and fit in can be quite daunting. Being personable and friendly is a definite must. However, be intentional in drawing that line. Never sit in a situation that is uncomfortable if anyone feels intrusive or otherwise. There’s always that one person who is invariably asking about where you live and how many kids you have. You don’t have to answer any of that if you don’t want to. Swing that conversation to another direction. There is dire need to belong but no harm will be done by keeping your personal life private.
Oh, there is always office gossip, cliques, frenemies, and best friends. Office drama is inevitable but be wary of it. It is tempting to engage because you know, who doesn’t enjoy some gossip? But don’t. Be very intentional and sober, making smart choices what and with whom you interact with.
Clearly, there is a lot that goes on in an office. It is a completely new world in itself. One huge hack is just to be yourself (cheesy I know, but hear me out) be in line with the personal brand that is you. When true self is in isolation of the pressure, you will be amazed at how easy it will be to maneuver the new workspace, everything notwithstanding.
Do not get me wrong, being yourself does not rationalize being condescending, snobbish or rude. It means allowing yourself to be so, while still being mindful and emotionally mature to accept and work with everyone else regardless.