Nervous: How to Cope in a New Workplace
Written by Ann Wambui on April 1, 2019
Being the newbie blows. The first few weeks are not only draining but also exhausting. New people and culture to assimilate prove difficult particularly while still striving to learn exactly what the job description there is. It is ridiculous because trust, even the askari will take a nudge at you. 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.
Can I go home?… Should I go home??
The dilemma here is whether to go home when the hours are clocked in or calming your tatas after looking around only to find 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 of 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 finish up the rest at home.
Read the culture and mood in the office. Then adapt or twitch your style accordingly. The goal here is to super comfortable.
Office space equals people. People equals relationships. Again the pressure to relate and fit in can be pushy. 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 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 personal.
Oh, there is always office gossip, cliques, frenemies and best friends. Office drama is
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 manoeuvre 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.