How do you orient yourself at work?
Coming into a new company can feel like landing on the moon (you heard us right). The journey has gotten you pumped up, but when you take your first step on the moon’s surface, you feel, well, extra-terrestrial.
Now, if you’re still at the same company but joining a new team, dealing with a lot of changes, or even coming back from an extended leave, you might not be feeling quite like Neil Armstrong but the sense of being out of place may still be there. (Like getting dropped off in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. See? We’ve got analogies for everything).
Whether you’re coming into a new workplace or just need a fresh start in your work, follow these five steps to get oriented.
Step 1: Get acquainted with the culture
Familiarize yourself with the company’s culture, starting with the core values, mission, and overall work philosophy. Figure out who your company serves and how…who are the customers? What do they really care about? Then, understand what the organization stands for, its long-term goals, and how your role fits into the bigger picture. Write all of this down so you can reference it. Use this information to guide your actions and decisions while also using it as a blueprint for understanding those around you.
Step 2: Understand your role and responsibilities
Gain a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities within the organization. Be able to answer these three questions:
- What do I do?
- What is expected of me?
- How does my work contribute to the company’s goals?
And then make sure to familiarize yourself with processes, tools, and workflows that are essential to your role. When you know what you’re doing and can communicate it, you’ll work more efficiently and enhance your impact.
Step 3: Know your team and build relationships
Success in any workplace is built upon solid relationships. Take the time to get to know your colleagues – not only structurally (who reports to whom and who specializes in what) but also philosophically. Learn about their preferred communication styles, work habits, and collaboration preferences. This understanding will facilitate seamless teamwork and foster a positive work environment. Strong networks are great and important in getting the work done, and having fulfilling work relationships are also important in feeling settled and satisfied at work.
Step 4: Clarify the Vision
You likely already have a great grasp of the company’s vision after diving into its culture, now establish your own vision. What are your personal goals? What do you want to get out of this work? How do you want to show up for your colleagues? (More on goals in our article – 3 ways to achieve your professional goals this year)
Write that down in one or two sentences and be sure to connect it to the company vision. Understand how your daily tasks align with the company’s mission and values. This alignment not only provides a sense of purpose but also enhances your motivation and dedication to your work.
Step 5: Embrace Curiosity and Seek Help
No one expects you to have all the answers from day one. And at day 1,000, you’re still going to have questions. So ask them. Be open. Seek guidance when you encounter challenges. Embrace a curious mindset that drives you to understand processes, tools, and best practices. Remember that your colleagues are likely more than willing to share their expertise and help you overcome obstacles. Asking questions not only accelerates your learning but also showcases a proactive approach to problem-solving.
Orienting yourself at work is a continual process
One-moon landing does not make an astronaut. Ok, well, yes it does, BUT most astronauts go on multiple space expeditions in their lifetime. You will find new careers and search for new ways to love your current role many times over and as such, your journey of orientation and integration is a continuous process. Following these five steps can help you navigate your way through a new workplace or embark on a fresh chapter in your career.