Walking into a new office where I know absolutely nobody gives me a lot of anxiety. I always worry about the impression I’ll make or I won’t fit in with the people who already know each other well. I’ve experienced this a few times and I’m slowly getting better at dealing with the stresses of fitting into a new setting. These are a few things I try to keep in mind:
Everyone has been where you are:
It may seem that the people you work with are already pretty close, but you have to remember it took time to feel comfortable. Everyone around you started out as the ‘newbie’ and they all had to either prove themselves or make a connection to someone else.
People know when you are trying too hard:
Everyone knows ‘that guy’ who always tries to impress people around them or force themselves into the conversation. Don’t be ‘that guy’. You are new and you have to work your way into office circles, by showing them who you really are and that you are a hard worker.
When sitting in a meeting or passing co-workers in the hall it is simple to keep your head down and not say anything. But in order to feel more comfortable in your work space try small talk. Ask people how their weekend was when they are sitting next to you or simply say ‘Good Morning’ to them when they pass by.
Give it time:
No one often makes a wonderful first impression. You are either trying too hard or you are so nervous you let it take over your ability to speak. No one fits in right away and it usually takes some time for people to warm up to your presence.
Whether you are fresh out of college or starting a new career you will have questions. It may seem intimidating to go into a co-worker’s office to ask them questions, but it shows initiative. It shows people that you want to do the work right the first time, and not have to waste time re-doing it.
There is a good chance that if you are nervous there is another person around just as new and nervous as you. Striking up a conversation with another newbie will be easier and it may give you both a connection so that you don’t feel so isolated.
There are many ways to start off on the right foot in your new work environment. If you remember to be calm and be yourself, it will be easier. Not everyone likes everyone they meet initially, so there is always a chance you might bump heads with someone at some point. But if you remain composed people will respect you.