Starting a New Job: Getting Your Groove Back

March 18, 2010 0

When Donald Trump utters the words “Your Fired”, it makes for must-see t.v., but when your boss says, “We no longer require your services”, it’s a whole different ball game. This is exactly the situation Heena found herself in five months ago.

But what now?

Since her last post Heena has secured a great job in a company that’s just perfect for her. Here’s the story on what it’s like to go back to work after a few months out of the work force.

Starting a new job after being out of the workforce for a period of time can be quite daunting. Much like your first day at a new school, you face the same anxieties as a sixth grader – ‘what do I wear, am I smart enough and the all important – will people like me?’

On my first day on the job, I admit I took special care to look my best – professional but not overly stuffy, choosing my outfit the night before and setting the alarm clock a half hour early to ensure I had enough time to have breakfast and the necessary jolt of caffeine.

Trekking to the subway in the morning I felt as though I was in a time warp – as if I had not been out of work for a period of months. It seems funny that when you are looking for work you feel as though the rest of the world is moving on without you. But as soon as I heard the familiar subway chimes and squeezed onto the overflowing car, I knew that the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” couldn’t have been truer.

As I made my way to my new office I felt a nervous flutter in my stomach and started to sweat under my tweed jacket and wool skirt. I took a few deep breaths and made sure my hands weren’t clammy for the round of introductions and handshakes that were sure to follow.

As I stepped off the elevator, I felt like a little girl, excited by the prospect of something new and filled with the desire to fit in….

Two months later, I can safely say that I am really enjoying my job. As with all things new, there was a learning curve and you’ve got to accept that it will take some time before you reach the top. The more important thing, in my view, is building a solid foundation of professional relationships to navigate the curve and make it easier to climb.

Of course, you will have to prove yourself in the initial period with both your hard and soft skills. This stage is crucial in your career, as this is when you will build your reputation. The following are a few tips on how to successfully navigate the pitfalls of the corporate jungle.

– Always act in a professional manner, whether in one-to-one interactions, over e-mail or the telephone;
– Don’t get involved with office politics – it is important to be aware of them but do not engage in them;
– Be cordial and friendly with co-workers but don’t over share – boundaries are important in working relationships;
– Make sure you understand expectations early on – you don’t want to be surprised when you fail to meet them;
– Exercise a high degree of honesty and integrity in everything you do – take responsibilities for failures and live up to commitments;
– Understand the corporate culture – view on coffee breaks, jean Friday’s, involvement in team social activities etc.

Work is a very curious thing, while we all need to work to support ourselves, in many cases, a large part of our self worth is derived from what we do. If you don’t like what you’re doing and you don’t enjoy the people you work with, it may be time for a change. While the grass may not always be greener, you’ll never know if you don’t dare to look.

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