The first week of your new office job is nerve-wracking. You know nothing about distributors, wholesale, the customer journey, or even how to turn on your computer yet. We aren’t in school anymore where everyone is learning at the same time, and you are often times left to conquer the learning curve on your own. The below are the things I was unreasonably terrified to do, and the advice I would give to get them done:
1. Talking to anyone who is at their desk
“Interrupt them while they are working? Are you kidding? They definitely look like they are busy with something…look, they even have their headphones in. I’m the new hire, they don’t even know me let alone want me bothering them.”
Reality: Everyone will always be at their desk, they won’t be lounging on any sofas or sitting pretty waiting to talk to you, so you must assert yourself. Chances are, they will be pretty happy to have a small break from the blank stare they currently have going at their computer screen. If they aren’t able to chat, they will kindly tell you to meet up with them at a later time. And just like that, you either have the answer to your question or a concrete time in which you will.
2. Making a phone business phone call
“He doesn’t even know who I am. What if it’s a bad time for him. Ugh, I wish I could just text him. What if he thinks I sound like I have no idea what I’m doing. How do I even start the conversation? I better come up with a starting speech.”
Reality: You’re going to be on the phone with a person and people have the ability to be personable. Don’t come up with a starting speech because it will sound rehearsed and robotic. Ask them how their day is going, tell them who you are like you would tell a colleague in the office, with personality! Ask them if they have a couple of minutes to chat, giving them the option to call you back. Finally, set clear objectives for yourself on what you actually want from the phone call, so you sound like you know what you need. And just like that, you’ve broken the ice with your desk phone!
3. Asking for what you need.
“I need this purchase order request form approved but Jen hasn’t approved it yet. She’s probably been so busy. I can’t bother her now! She obviously hasn’t for a reason. Saying something again would only be pushy.”
Reality: You obviously need this to continue your task and when your supervisor asks you when they can expect to see the sample order come through to their desk, you need to be able to tell them when. Chances are, whoever you’re waiting on might have either forgot to email you back or forgot about the request altogether. Gathering the courage to professionally ask for what you need will have big payoffs.
4. Joking with your colleagues
“Do I crack a joke now? Is that appropriate? No. Stay cool, composed, and collected. Dear gosh they just cracked a joke with me now and I have no idea what to say back! Can I poke fun? What am I allowed to say? Well that awkward laugh sure wasn’t the answer…”
Reality: You don’t know the norms yet, and yes, you might have a few awkward laughs before you settle into your surroundings. Your boss and your colleagues are already comfortable with the office setting and also know each other better, and you eventually will too. Take the time to get to know the people around you and use those star social skills to pick up on their sense of humor. It’s totally appropriate to joke in the office! As long as you know your colleagues’ threshold for jokes.
All in all…you totally got this! Having your first office job can be foreign, nerve-wracking and make you want to take a drink. This isn’t Mad Men and you’ll quickly learn that, but every new job comes with a learning curve, and it’s the small things that make all the difference in becoming comfortable…and absolutely killing it in the office!
Featured Image via The Devil Wears Prada.