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What to do when you are not fitting in at work

Settling into a new job isn’t always seamless. Try as you might to fit in, you just feel out of place. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. More than 50% of hired executives fail within the first 18 months of hiring or promotion due to a lack of support, and even new hires that aren’t C-suite executives struggle to find their footing.

There are a few things you can do to make your new job more comfortable. Let’s start with three common new hire scenarios that you may be dealing with at work and share strategies for dealing with them.

Situation #1: Your workspace is killing the mood

Considering that you’ll be spending around 40 hours per week at your desk, your work environment can really affect your mood. Is a cluttered workspace killing your neat freak personality? Does your out-of-the-way cubicle make you feel detached from your team? Time to take action.

Solution: DIY and ask for help if necessary

Do everything you can to make your workspace feel homey. Hang photos or decorations, bring in knick-knacks that remind you of fun vacations or goals you want to accomplish. If there are any larger issues to address, such as lighting adjustments or even moving to a new space, ask your manager, coworkers, or facilities manager for help. New hires tend to avoid speaking up since they don’t want to rock the boat, but getting comfortable in your new space is the first step to fitting in.

Tip: If you’re struggling to perform at your best in an open space office, check out our guide for navigating the world of cubicle-free offices.

Situation #2: Lonely Island, population of 1

Haven’t formed any meaningful friendships? It’s no wonder that you’re struggling to fit in and perform at your best. LinkedIn’s Relationships @ Work study found that nearly 50% of professionals around the world consider work friends essential to their happiness. If you don’t have friends at work, you may feel like you’re alone on Lonely Island.

Solution: Make friends like a pro

Time to brush off those rusty friend-making skills. Start bonding naturally by sharing some innocent personal information, such as your plans for the weekend, and ask plenty of questions rather than just talking about yourself. Other ways to build better relationships at work include:

  • Walk to meetings with your coworkers
  • Sign up for cross-departmental efforts, such as your company’s volunteering initiative or mentoring program
  • Start a business book club
  • Ask others to lunch or coffee
  • Assess which relationships are working and which aren’t, and then identify points of tension that are preventing those difficult relationships from going smoothly

Situation #3: Everyone else is drinking the Kool-Aid and you’re not sold

Being surrounded by happy, engaged coworkers is usually great, but maybe not when you feel like everyone else is in on a secret that you missed. While others are raving about how great the company culture is, you could be asking yourself why you’re not as excited in your role. When team members say that they feel a sense of purpose at work, you wonder whether you’re doing something wrong.

Solution: Adjust your expectations

Although it’s tempting to compare yourself to your coworkers, avoid it for better mental health. Just because Sally is full throttle engaged in her role right now doesn’t meant that she felt that way on week three. You may just need some time to connect with the company culture and discover how your role connects to the organization’s purpose. Adjust your expectations and your timeline—stop pressuring yourself to feel exactly as your team members do.

And don’t forget about proper employee onboarding can help you connect a lot faster, not to mention help you beat the learning curve. Consider Twitter’s onboarding process, “Yes to Desk,” which gives new employees opportunities to interact with key coworkers and high-level members of the company in low-pressure environments.

The process is designed to welcome new employees and allow them to forge relationships with coworkers all while having specific focus on Twitter’s overall goal—to provide their users with an enjoyable platform for social networking.New call-to-action


Topics: HR
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