Here’s what I learned after stepping into a new workplace

For some people, adjusting to a new place comes easily. But for people like me, it first starts with a panic attack.

Numerous questions started plaguing my mind. What would happen, now that I was out of my comfort zone?

It didn’t help either that my very first day I was handed with a huge responsibility and I had no idea what to do with it.

My mind was stuck in the past, drifting away to the place I had left behind. Nevertheless I made up my mind.

I would either stay miserable or do something about it. And do, I did. Here are a few things which have helped me to adjust and be at peace in a new work environment.

1) Clear out the space

First and foremost, clear out all the unwanted stuff off your desk. Keep the drawers uncluttered. There might be things left behind by the ones who have left. So clear it out what doesn’t belong to you. Make sure your space is available only to you.

2) Decorate your desk

Add a little colour to the boring office space. I don’t mean you should sit with a paintbrush in your hand. No, that’s not okay, well unless it says so in your job profile.

Pin up cut outs from magazines which inspire you to take action. Make it fun and interesting. Offices don’t have to be boring. You can have quotes, drawings by your kids, nieces, nephews. Have something in front of you which will make you smile when the stress gets to you. Stick pictures so that you know life is not all bleak and you have someone to look forward to. The singles out there can do equally well with having pictures of beer to look forward to unwinding after work.

3) Communicate

Try to find out about the person who sits in the cubicle next to you. When I came to this new place, people would tell me stories about the lady sitting alone in the cubicle next to me. We often get judgemental about people we’ve never even met before. I knew better than to trust office gossip. So I smiled at the lady. She seemed rude at first as she didn’t smile back. But as time passed, she opened up. Now we are like the Laurel and Hardy at our workplace.

So if you are entering a new environment, make sure you stay on neutral grounds. Someone else’s experience should not decide your behavior towards any person.

4) Remember, you are unique

We often fall into the trap of competing in such an environment. It’s unavoidable. But if you are not good at one set of skills, doesn’t mean you are useless. Work it out with your boss. I remember having a hard time adjusting to the kind of work which went against my personality. I’m a people person. So sitting at one place and being alone in a cubicle didn’t suit me. So I sorted it out with my boss. She was open to discussion and so I was given an appropriate one. Now you may not have a boss like me so maybe you can learn those skills needed for that kind of work. I would have if I would have been denied this opportunity.

5) Say No and mean it

Own your No’s, be the boss of your own life when you can. Protect your time. The first thing I learned was to say No. I am lucky to have a boss who told me to set my priorities straight as some of my colleagues were waiting to take advantage of my niceness. You may not have someone to tell you that but know when to say No. Push it out your throat. At first, my No’s used to be weak but then I learned the way it comes out of your mouth matters. Make your every ‘No’ count.

6) Bosses are human too

You might cringe a lot at this but this is something I realized when I met my current boss. I’d heard about her generosity before but I got a chance to experience it firsthand. And by generosity I do not mean money. I mean all the qualities, kindness, compassion, love, good leadership skills, braveness, capable of protecting her clan, as she called it. She is full of passion when it comes to life. So I am learning a lot of things from her, not just work but life too. There are moments when she gets all worked up. But then again she’s a human and bosses are allowed to break down once in a while. They need compassion from us as much as we need from them.

7) Offer help to someone who’s struggling

Maybe you have skills which your colleagues might lack and vice versa. Help them learn those when you can. I remember when I was new, I felt stuck because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with the stack of papers I was handed. I would run from one cubicle to another asking for help. Of course every one had their own priorities but then I sat in my own cubicle, close to tears when a kind voice offered to help. It was the lady in the next cubicle who was the victim of office gossip. Who would have thought! She was such a knowledgeable person and kind hearted too. Which brings me to the next tip.

8) Don’t try to impress anyone : Unless it’s you who you need to impress. Just do your best. Compete with yourself, aim to do better than you did yesterday. The mistake I made was trying to impress everyone. I am a people pleaser so I would do exactly that. For the first few days I felt like someone trying to impress her in- laws. I felt fake. Since then I’ve given up on impressing people. Instead I communicate with them as honestly as possible. I put across my views and let go of the need to be validated. It has earned me my self respect and people no more see me as a pushover, including my boss.

9) Have a cheerful attitude

For someone in a service sector, like me, it goes without saying, customers like to hear a pleasant voice and see a pleasant face. It would come naturally if you like talking with people and if you have a natural instinct to help solve people’s problems.

Here’s what has helped me. Every morning I sit at my desk, I do a little breathing exercise to work up my facial muscles. And then think of something happy while doing this. It helps to remember they are human beings and some of them need kindness more than you would know. Little things go a long way. Being a banker, I see pensioners wanting to talk to someone that when we smile at them or help them by going out of our way, I’ve seen gratitude in their eyes. It’s dealing with them calmly and listening to what they are trying to communicate, is what will make you feel satisfied about having a job that matters.

After all is said and done, it’s your general attitude towards life which will help you in getting settled into a new job. So what was your experience like and how did YOU deal with them, do comment below.

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