Remember the day when you finally tendered that ‘long-overdue’ resignation letter? You have always hated your boss but you have always loved him. In fact, the feeling is so insatiable you can’t decide what to feel because all seems moot now – you have finally reached the final point of no return. You are about to say goodbye to your heavy no-weekend workloads, to the drama of it all and you’re finally free. If you’re emotional like me, you probably cried a bucket-load of tears – you grieved over the sense of separation and you recalled all the memories – no matter how silly or sad they have been.
You feel the pain sting in your heart because you’re finally leaving and a few weeks from now, you’re going to have the best-last-lunch session with the best officemates in the history of officemates.
And finally, at the end of it all – you feel like a 12 year old kid (not too old to tread on the world and not to young to be left crawling) who is being separated from that parent who taught you during your formative years. It’s like leaving home for the bigger city. That’s what I always thought about my first job – don’t we all? It’s a training ground where we learn everyday and we get to be thankful for the patience of these people who took time to teach us and not really blame us for not knowing everything at the first try. And this is why it’s gut-wrenching to say goodbye – and why it’s okay to cry (you can always do it at home or the bus ride after your last day.) But despite all of the sadness, we have to let go. Because seriously, this struggle is a prologue of what is to come next. You’ve a got a bigger problem up ahead – you’ve got a new job.
So getting a new job means we get to be a little celebratory about it right? Congratulations, you’re hired and you’re on your way to greener pastures. You start sketching a very beautiful picture of you in your own condo unit in the ‘it-city’ of your country, sipping sangria with your bff’s on a Friday night. It’s time for you to get in the game and seek bigger opportunities in this new environment, with these new people. It’s what you’ve always needed, it’s the reason why you left your previous job – it’s a fresh start. Looks like everything is bundled up as a nice perfect package. But everything does come with a price and at this point you need to step back a little and take a long look through the bigger picture, it’s time to start plotting out a battle plan. You may or may not agree with me but starting a new job is a lot easier said than done. It is one big struggle that takes time, patience and whole lot of heart. If you’re someone like me then you have probably also experienced the stages of being that girl who just got a new job.
The stages (or phases or levels or call them whatever you like, really) of starting a new job:
1. Orientation Day
This stage is like a prequel to the real thing- literally speaking, it is a prequel (hahahahaha). Imagine this as the ‘Kill order’ of the series ‘The Maze Runner’ (sorry if you’re not a fan, you can always google it but just understand that it’s a prequel of the whole big series) – don’t worry, it is a less gory prequel. This stage gives you an overview of the days to come. It’s like a 50/50 position because you’re not yet officially part of your new company but technically, you’re already hired.
It’s the nerve-wracking stage where you feel proud that you got the job and you’re here ready to face the world with a new title. You feel extremely happy about this whole new you and you’re excited to get on with it.
Since you’re in the office (if your orientation does not happen in your office then it’s probably a scam, so run) you get to scan the surroundings. You gauge the feel and criticize the interior design of your new workplace. You cringe as the HR associate introduces you to the people in the office, trying to act cool without being too overly friendly because you want to give off a good impression – not too shy, not too proud.
You never really make friends during this day. The most hopeful conversation from the day are words of encouragement from the HR associate – who is officially the first ‘friend’ you made in this new job. But don’t get too attached – don’t go home thinking that tomorrow, when I officially start, I might probably get invited to lunch by this HR associate. Unfortunately, HR friendships don’t really work out – not because HR people are snobby after Orientation day, it’s because they have their own teams to get lunch with. So get over yourself and get over orientation day. Tomorrow is the day that we really start. BRING IT ON.
2. First Day
“Ohdearlord. This is AWKWARD. HEHE. I feel so awkward I just want to go to the bathroom but I’ve been there three times already today so my resources are running low. It’s time to panic but god I can’t do that infront of everybody. I have to act cool and collected. That’s right, I’ll pretend e-mail just to save my self from this embarrassment.”
Yep. You’re officially part of the crew! And guess what? You’re the newest one in the group so sit back, relax and be awkward. ALL DAY. This is a day wherein you have to accept defeat. You have no choice, you’re the newest of the new. You will always be the new one on this day until tomorrow – that is, if a new team member joins the company. This is the part where you literally sit in your desk all day, moving right and left – trying not to get too squeaky with your chair and you set up your whole life starting from your email account.
The first two hours would be bearable. Sine it’s your first day, you probably came to work early – meaning, the whole office is practically deserted. You relax and you get to fumble with your laptop – you fix the wifi connection, upload your picture to your Skype account and finish off your pink-font signature. Then the office starts filling up and it gets all too noisy. Now is the time to feel super duper awkward and you just have to hold on because dear the worst is yet to come – you have lunch hour next.
If you are lucky – you get to spend your first-day-lunch-hour with your team mates but if you’re not then it’s inevitably an emergency me time at the nearest McDonalds. Sorry, this is all part of growing up. You and your McChicken burger alone on Monday noon? Tough love.
After lunch should be better. It’s just a matter of acting nonchalant and praying that time should speed up because dang, I am already done with my e-mail and I have practically installed everything that I need to install. Then the angels came down, announcing that it’s already 6pm – HALLELUJAH!
3. The first week
Okay, greenie (that’s what they call newbies at the Maze Runner, sorry for my references) – if you want to build a life out of this new job then it’s time for you to work it out. One step at a time but you have no choice but to do it. Remember what you left- remember all the good friends of your previous work – don’t let all the sacrifice of leaving them go to waste!
During this week – you test all the waters. You walk up to people within your vicinity, strike them a question and see who answers best:
Question: Hey, I’m Grace – the new girl from the block from this department! *reaches hand out*
a. Hehe, I’m ___. You’re okay but sorry I have previous engagement and I’m really late for my meeting. Bye.
b. Ohmygod!!! I feel the same way about this small talk! *friend from other table calls her attention* *you go drift back to your own world* *music out*
c. Nope, I’m the resident bitch and you talking to me? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
d. So you wanna go out for lunch?
Pick letter d and your soul is redeemed. At least at this point you have someone to make lunch bearable. You and McChicken will definitely welcome your new lunch buddy with open arms and large fries shared has never tasted better.
The first week is the time to fish for all the information you can get from the company – no, I’m not talking about secrets and liabilities cause you’ll only earn that privilege when you’re a manager, which would probably take years from now- here, you ask about your co-workers, what do people wear, learn about employee satisfaction and ask the burning question at the back of your mind – ‘how do you get this vending machine to work again?’
NOTE: The first week will be bloody hard for you – emotionally speaking. You’ll miss everything from your old work because you can’t help keep compare your comfort back to now. You are probably questioning your decision about leaving your old job and you start being emotional about your accomplishments back there. Those were some of the greatest moments of your life.
But you have to toughen it up and start standing up for your decision. Next thing you know it’s already Friday and there you have it. The first week is all done. You have a new friend, you know your company background and you have successfully vended out fresh brewed coffee.
4. The first month.
Now that you’re nearing your 30th day, isn’t everything awesome? Nope. It is not. Admittedly, things still feel new but you’re getting the hang of it. It is the stage where we take the familiarization to a deeper level. You need to learn about everything – just like a cover to cover quiz and you know how annoying that can be right? You need to befriend the right people at this point of time because you need to build a good support system, you can’t stay and be all alone because come on no man is an island – you’d need the help of the jolly messengers to get your documents safely to your clients. You need to learn how to work the photocopying machine without looking like a dork.
I call it the hard training because eventually you will mess up (hopefully not much) but it is perfectly okay. You don’t need to sweat it if you accidentally deleted the Masterfile of names from your team leader’s database. You’ve got the newbie ammunition right up your sleeve! This is your grace period and you have to use it wisely otherwise you’ll end up a mess in the days to come. The next few months after will be a battle of you – your newness- and how you would learn to keep up with the stability of your new workplace -eventually, without the defense of being exactly new ’cause turns out there is the new kid who just started out the other day and is acing excel with his pivot table and concatenating powers (which actually took you three weeks to learn.) You’re not the type who gets easily left behind right? It’s time to take things seriously.
5. The next months to come
I have to be honest, this blog post is really inspired with what I have been feeling the past few weeks. I can only hope you feel the same way otherwise I’m wasting my blogging powers. Truth is, I just passed my first month in this new job and I can’t really say much for this stage since I can only tell from my first job – which might be a little biased since being it as my first job after college – the newbie ammunition was valid for 6months or so.
I guess you can help me out in the comments section after but I think these months are the formative stages of your new work life. Think Promil and their advertisements where babies grew up to be toddlers and then as kids. In this stage- you’ll probably get scolded for doing something wrong and the choice of blame is up to your judgment- blame it for not knowing well enough or just blame it to experience. You’ll probably get a praise for a job well done and that would really feel glorious. You will meet people who might piss the hell out of you and eventually you’ll meet your best officemates ever here too. Life will be great again and it will require you to vent out your worries, fear, anger and happy times – next thing you know it, you’re already celebrating your first year anniversary.
6. (Epilogue) 1st year at work
You recollect all the memories, awkward and non-awkward, and then you realize that it was not so bad after all.
So you see the next time you walk in to your office pantry and see the new kid quizzically looking at the coffee vending machine, you walk up to him, flash him a kindly smile (one that does not scare!) and you help him get his espresso because a year from now you’d want him to feel the same way as you do right now.