Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Can I just tell you how much I hate being the newbie at work? It feels like I just went through this. Actually I did just a little over a year ago. I remember that one well because on day four I cried. Not in front of anybody or anything, but on my way home that day I bawled my eyes out thinking “what have I done?!” It was so quiet at that place and I felt so alone. My boss was already displaying jerkish behavior and I just missed my friends and reputation of being the go-to-girl at my last job.

My first friend at my old job was the guy who had just left my position for a promotion to another department. We went to lunch and he gave me some more details about what to expect, the back story on things, and a few pointers. It was the very “light” version though. But I was so thankful to start connecting to someone there and not feel like I was floating all out there on my own. We became great friends and he is actually very hilarious and the gossip insider at the office so it was a good friend to have! Months later I asked him why didn’t he give it to me straight those first couple days and he said he didn’t want to scare me off. I think it took me a good 6 months to feel comfortable (as I could) there. I had went to some tradeshows (which is always a bonding experience) and initiated pulling together my fellow Product Marketing Managers as a team so we could be a unified front. It never quite felt as strong as the bonds from my past jobs, but it was something. And I for sure found some friends I will keep in touch with from there.

Now I find myself starting all over again. The office is quiet. I don’t know anyone really well yet. I feel like an outsider and so alone. I know everyone who starts a new job feels this the first couple days or weeks (unless you are lucky enough to come in with other newbies), but it still sucks. And the one thing you should know about me is I am painfully shy when I first meet people. It takes me a while to open up, and I will rarely be the first one to reach out and try to make friends with someone new. This makes the newbie process even more difficult.

Here have been my coping tactics so far:

- Smile! I always try to smile at everyone I see in the office. Sometimes it can spark a conversation
- Ask personal questions. Not too personal! But you know, stuff like how they got started in this business or other little things from their personal life can be great topics to help you connect with them. I am not good at this at all because like I said it is hard for me to initiate conversations. So, I have only managed 2-3 questions like that, but they always spark a conversation. I need to try harder though I think.
- I also think next week I am going to bring in some personal items to place on my desk and maybe that will spark some conversation and allow me to connect to my co-workers.

AAAAnnnnddd….that’s all I’ve got. Pathetic huh?

Any other tips? Any newbie horror stories?


AnnQ said...

You're not pathetic at all ! What you're feeling is what everyone has felt at one point. :-)

Do you have any Meetings with people you work with? Sometimes that's one good way to start conversations...

It'll all be great much sooner than you think! (I know,it's easy for me to say...!)

Shoshanah said...

I'm not good at asking other people questions. But its not that I don't what to know about them. I think part of it is I will easily talk to people whether or not they ask or want to hear. And I forgot other people might not tell me things if I don't actually ask them.

And I love that picture you posted!

tootie said...

I think everyone feels like you do when they first start a job - I know I always felt soo awkward at first.

I think you're on the right track with asking them personal questions. That'll get the conversation going.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

uughhh I've been at my job for 10 years...i remember when I started. it's horrible. i hate that whole part.

Congrats on the new job though. Hope you love it!

Jane said...

As my dad always says, "Nothing hard is ever easy." To me, starting a new job is definitely hard! Thankfully with my current job, I knew one of my coworkers from working at the university previously, so not everything was entirely unfamiliar. I think bringing some personal items in to place on your desk is a great idea. Not only will the items potentially spark conversations with your coworkers, but they will allow your coworkers some insight into you and your personality. :-) Having a candy bowl on your desk to share with coworkers may also be another way to spark interactions.