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10 Tips for Adjusting to a New Job & Changes

written by: Andrea Campbell•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 11/1/2010

Everyone faces trepidation the first day, the first week, and even the first month at a new job. There is so much to learn you are afraid you won’t: catch on, do things right, fit in with coworkers—it’s enough to give one an anxiety attack. For help, follow these 10 tips for adjusting to a new job.

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    1. Listen and Read Body Language

    bizhandshake In the beginning it is wise to listen more than talk and mimic more than initiate. Take some deep breaths and try to slow your pulse enough to read the body language of the people around you. Note if they send a friendly vibe, are welcome to questions, or have a tendency to vent. All these signals will work in your favor if you can find them.

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    2. Bring a Photograph

    Sometime the first week, it is okay to bring some things to personalize your space. It not only announces your stake in the office, but can be a conversation starter down the road. Don’t overdo the kitchy objects however, that bespeaks to needing a pacifier.

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    3. Try to Be Confident

    It’s a known fact. People have a tendency to align themselves with someone who has achieved success. If you look like a frightened little rabbit with posture slumped over and no eye-to-eye contact, no one will want to approach you, much less be a helpful colleague.

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    4. Make an “Answer Notebook"

    Carry around a notebook to jot down office must-dos, location of equipment, duties, people’s names and other little-known-to-you facts. Be careful not to write scathing notes about particular personages however, for that is a notebook of trouble.

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    5. Stretch Yourself

    blkmanwcoffeopt This actually means hours. It is not a bad idea to stay a little later to check something out, or come in a little earlier to get your bearings. Anything that will help to aid your transition might be easier when fewer workers are around. Hey, if you make good coffee in the a.m., you might become the office hero.

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    6. Attend to Business

    This seems like a no-brainer since that’s what you were hired for, but really, if you jump into a project, you will get interested, find out a lot, and the clock hours will fly. Soon it will be work-as-usual.

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    7. Talk to the Boss

    Not really a novel idea here talking to the boss; but get effective feedback from the high command on how you’re doing. Ask for suggestions on how to make something go faster, or how to do something better. Your initiative at this early stage is a plus.

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    8. Send Out Friendly Vibes

    Don’t spill your guts about your home, life and problems but leave yourself open in a friendly manner. I would do more listening than offering in the beginning, but signal that you can be a friend and an able co-worker besides.

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    9. Volunteer

    A dirty word in some circles, volunteering gets a bad rap. Be the person who volunteers, but one who does not agreed to solve the company’s deficit the first day. If they have an office softball team after hours for example, and your skills in batting are exemplary, you’ve found your niche. Later, look for areas to sign-up and sign-in for good volunteer causes.

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    10. Do Your Job

    webpageopt As simple as this sounds, it is often overlooked. Make yourself dependable if not indispensable over time, as one of your top career goals. The company managers are the people who pay you—you are the person who works for pay. It can be that simple.

    In closing: Review these 10 tips for adjusting to a new job and changes a couple times before you leave the house. Better yet, take them with you.

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    Additional Reading

    "A Fast Start on Your New Job" http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/3771.html

    The college viewpoint: "Starting Your New Job" http://www.mnsu.edu/humanres/startingyournewjob.html

    Read the book: Life's a Bitch and then You Change Careers: 9 steps to get out of your funk & on to your future, (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2005) by Andrea Kay.

    All photos are: Clipart.com