These past few months have been quite the 360 for me. I started not one, but two new jobs, began doing Whole 30, revamped my fitness routine, and overall just had a lot of changes to adjust to. Any of these changes can be scary, but packing so many in at once is terrifying.
The biggest adjustment for me by far was work. Previously, I was at a small ad agency where everyone was around my age; we didn’t have desks – just a table that the account team shared and worked together on – so everything was very collaborative; the hours were flexible – most days we came in late, left early, worked from home, or a combination of the three; and the dress code was extremely casual when we didn’t have client meetings. I got very accustomed to waking up at 8:15am and throwing on my workout clothes for that evening and rolling into the office.
Fast forward to now, and I’m the Director of Marketing at an architecture firm where I have to be ready at work and put together at 8:30am. Quite the turn around! And I’ve transitioned from a shared table to my own office, nicer clothing (no more sports bras at the office), and being the baby of the office.
The transition was a bit hectic at first – the Friday of my first week here I feel asleep at 9pm because I wasn’t used to waking up so early every day – but other a few weeks I was able to find my groove using these tips below:
1) Fully adjust your sleeping patterns
This one sounds obvious, but often is the most overlooked adjustment. Yes, it is obvious that you need to wake up earlier if you start your day earlier (hello 6:30am alarm clock for me), but oftentimes people don’t take their need to consistently go to bed earlier into consideration. Because I am waking up an hour and 45 minutes earlier every day I can no longer go to sleep at midnight. In fact, when I go to bed at 11pm I can feel it the next day, when usually that meant a long night’s sleep for me.
This means that I now try to plan my after work workouts, dinners, happy hours, and date nights earlier so that I can be home at a time is reasonable for my new work hours (note I am not saying a reasonable time, I am saying reasonable for my needs). For the first few weeks this was hard for me to come to terms with (I love my late night workouts followed by cooking and a TV binge), but if I want to stay healthy and well-rested I need to be more strict about my bedtime.
2) Get to know your new coworkers
You by no means have to become best friends with your coworkers (but if do that’s great – some of my best friends are people I used to work with!), but it is a lot less lonely throughout the day to have people to say hello to or ask how their weekend was. My first few days at the new job I hadn’t really had a chance to engage with my coworkers, so my days were spent watching people walk by my open office door or with silent run ins in the kitchen.
After a few days I had the chance to go around to everyone’s desks, introduce myself, and learn what everyone did at the company. (My firm is smaller, so this was not a huge task, but for some of you at huge 100+ people companies this may be harder – maybe go meet your floor or your teammates, etc) This made people more comfortable saying hi, dropping in my office to ask how I’m doing, asking what my weekend plans are or how it went, and makes the work day so much more enjoyable.
3) Make your space yours
Let me preface this by saying make sure you stay within any guidelines of your company.
If you are a full-time employee you are spending around 40 hours a week (more or less depending on work travel, outside meetings or overtime), so you need to make sure you’re comfortable and happy in your space. Whether you have an office, a desk, a cubicle, or a shared table with 3 other coworkers you need to make sure that your environment sets you up to be happy, productive, and comfortable.
For some people that means bringing in a framed photo to keep on their desk, for others it’s their favorite brand of highlighters, but for me it was going to the farmers market to buy myself a little desk plant, bringing in the little stuffed penguin my dad got me at the zoo (his name is Pickles and he sits under my monitor), and the coffee mug my boyfriend got me on our Shedd Aquarium date the day before I started this job. While I may need to bring in one or two more things to make the space truly mine, these little things make me feel more comfortable in my environment, leading to more productivity and better job satisfaction.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten before starting a new job?