Some people get their first jobs out of college at a company they didn’t intern for and end up not knowing anybody on their first day. Although I didn’t have that experience, I think I have some advice that might help you. Here are three tips to help you find your way at your new company, whether or not the world normalizes any time soon. Hopefully, you meet tons of new people using these tips:
- Use the New Hire Orientation Time to Get to Know People
- Grab Lunch with Someone Outside of the Office
- Find People with Similar Interests and Ideas
Most companies have some sort of orientation program where they group new employees to give an overview of the payroll, feedback, and issue reporting processes. This is the first contact you’ll get with people at your company outside of interviews, and it’s a great way to get to know a few people. Take advantage of this by messaging the group or anyone that you seem to connect with. Most companies have an instant messenger where you can informally chat with others about how the orientation is going, what school/company they came from, or how they ended up at this company. It’s a great way to break the ice and start creating your network. You don’t have to be best friends with these people or even friends at all, but this is the first opportunity you’ll have to learn how to put yourself out there. Take it!
Having Lunch with New People
I’m well aware the world is in a chaotic state right now, and things don’t quite look the same as they did pre-coronavirus. However, you can still have lunch with a coworker or coworkers if you’re not in the office. How you might ask. Simple. You ask them if they have availability on day and time and schedule a virtual lunch. For starters, you save some money but can still have the luxury of “having lunch” with a coworker. Ask them about their professional background, their last job, or how they got into their field. Be open to having a conversation, but try not to create any expectations in your head about a budding friendship. Use this initial chat as a way to feel out whether or not this is someone you want in your network and/or someone you generally get along with well. Leaving the expectations behind is critical and can help you make the best, most informed decisions for yourself.
Some companies have affinity groups, groups of people that share the same interests. These can be in the form of recreational sports teams, knitting circles, fitness enthusiasts, etc. You might feel more comfortable joining a group that interests you or starting your own if one doesn’t exist. I like this option because there could be members of the group that you wouldn’t meet outside of that interest because you work in different departments or wouldn’t usually cross paths. It helps cultivate a sense of belonging that you may be missing if your peers already know each other or if you lean on the shy/introverted side. Again, go in with little to no expectations other than getting to know a few new names and faces and take it from there. Within the interest group, you may even find your way into a leadership position where you’ll develop skills that can transfer into your work and performance evaluation. So now you have great coworking relationships and a way to move up the ladder; win-win!
I want to make sure I end this post by saying, all of your coworkers are not your friends. In all honesty, you may work in some industries or companies where none of your coworkers are or will ever be your friends. This is OKAY. In fact, it’s normal. Don’t take it to heart, but be cautious. Remember, you’re still at work. While it may take time learning and creating healthy professional and personal boundaries, don’t come out the gate telling all of your private business. We’re playing chess here in the corporate world, and you need to strategically let people into your world. If someone you thought you trusted and whom you were close to personally burns you, don’t retaliate or get too upset. It happens to the best of us, so just take it as a lesson and keep it pushing. Remember, you got this! Now get out there and make some new colleagues, acquaintances, or whatever you want to call them.