I recently moved into a new office of a new company. I was pretty much one of the youngest there, and moving in with a small box filled with my personal items (my box of teas, a stapler I stole from the common office desk etc) made me feel exactly how I felt when I first started working after I graduated from college. After going through this twice, and listening to my friends’ experiences on adjusting in a new workplace, I’ve noted some do’s and don’ts that one should probably practice to survive those first few weeks.
1. Nobody likes near-suicidal sad people. Yes, yes, I get the whole ‘be yourself’ thing, but there is such a thing as being yourself and restraining some parts of you for later surprises, not now. No matter how bad the day gets, never walk into a new office looking like you’re a pill-bottle away from depression. If you’re going to spend many years of your life sitting in that office, you might want to make a few friends, and nobody wants to be friends with a person who looks like they might have mutilated dead bodies stashed in the closet.
2. Observe the culture, and try and roll with it. This new office seems to revolve around one thing – coffee. Everybody takes coffee in the morning, there are two coffee machines and hardly any tea, and pretty much every room smells caffeine-dosed. The problem is I am not a fan of coffee. I am coffee intolerant in the mornings (it gives me stomach aches and I don’t know why), but I tried giving it a shot post-lunch, and hey, it’s really not that bad.
3. Be nice to the ladies. Female colleagues will be either a God-sent or a night mare. It all depends on how you are perceived by them. If you’re annoying, chances are you’ll never get any invites to anything, and you’ll miss out on special office vouchers too. You’ll never know juicy office gossips like who’s divorced and who’s being deported to Venezuela, and let’s face it, aren’t those news the things you look forward to in order to enlighten your otherwise mundane office life?
4. Know your audience. It is kind of vital to measure yourself up with the rest of your new colleagues. The majority of the workers in my new office are experienced, seasoned staff, so I found that I had to catch up with things faster compared to my old office, where most of us are junior staff like me. I also found that certain jokes and subjects of interest are not particularly appealing depending on different crowds of colleagues. On my second day, I found myself trapped in a group conversation where one guy was venting about getting a divorce after being separated for twelve years. I felt like a teenager. All I did was nod and talk about my dead cat.
The thing is, adapting is necessary. Sometimes people may not be your type, and a place may not be your style. But by adapting, it’s a way to show that you’re giving it a shot. And doing that is never a waste of time.