It’s something most of us have faced or will face. A new job in a new town. Usually, there are jitters. There may be self-doubt. There may be thoughts of “Have I done the right thing?”
First step, relax. You’ll very likely make it through your first week and beyond.
Here’s a 10-step introductory plan to help get you started on a positive note:
1. Take a history lesson: Visit a local museum. Flip through archives. Go back 100 years. Go back 50 years. Go back 10 years. Even if you have only 15 minutes, get to know ‘your’ new community.
2. Go for a drive: Just hop in your car and drive. The first week in your new town can seem like solitary confinement if you spend all your time either at the office or at your apartment. Get out there and explore. Travel back roads. Besides, it’s great to come back to the office and talk about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen in your new town. It feels even better when a co-worker (usually a veteran) remarks, “Hmmm, I’ve never seen that before. Where is that?”
3. Beware the grumblers: You may encounter someone during your first week or two who has nothing positive to say about anything, including the community, the work, the bosses, or getting a turkey at Christmas. Remember, such people exist at most workplaces, even good workplaces. Don’t get caught in a grumbler’s web of negativity. Take your time to get to know people. Eventually, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether your workplace is good or not.
4. Tell people you’re new in town: During friendly chit chat with a cashier at a store checkout, casually add to the conversation by saying you’re new in town. We’re not suggesting this as some groovy new pickup line. We’re suggested it as a “Hi, I’m new town, what can you tell me that I should know about Johnsonville?” You’ll likely get some frank, street-level tips.
5. Next stop, tourism office: Visit your town’s tourism office and pick up as many tourist-related brochures as you can find. Even if one doesn’t interest you, pick it up. Congratulations! You now have enough bedtime reading material to last for week No. 1.
6. Don’t treat your new town as a whistlestop in your career (even if it is): Sure, it may indeed be a short-term employment gig, at least until you can find something bigger or better paying. But that hit-and-run approach can offend others who have spent considerable time helping to develop ties in the community by being customer-responsive. Always remember, the relationships you form today could influence where you go tomorrow. Your sector is likely well connected, meaning that word can travel fast about you.
7. You’re here to learn: Remember, you don’t know everything. Be open to new approaches. Be open to suggestions. Be open to critiques. Don’t beat yourself up because you get constructive feedback. Remember, remember, remember: You’re ‘learning by doing’ and to get better yourself. And your co-workers sitting around you are probably more than willing to share their personal stories.
8. Accept every job with enthusiasm (yes, every job): Your reaction is being closely watched, especially during Week No. 1. Create the right impression.
9. Feedback: If supervisors aren’t giving you feedback, ask them, “How am I doing so far?” Or, “When you get some time today, can we go over how things are going so far, and any suggestions you might have for me?” These kinds of questions show that you want guidance and want to do well. And they show a non-attentive supervisor that, yes, you do exist and you’re new and you’d like feedback.
10. Bring in some coffee: Sure, you’re probably not making much money, but this is an excellent icebreaker for visiting the desks of your co-workers, giving them a coffee, and starting some small talk. It’s the express way of getting early, relaxed face time with your colleagues. BTW, if you work in an office of 100 employees, it might be cheaper to buy Timbits.