A version of this article was originally posted on the Empower Work blog.
Whether you’re starting your first job or entering a new field for the first time, you’re bound to run into some challenges. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous—and even a little clueless—when you’re just starting out.
Think about it: we weren’t born knowing how to ride a bike. It takes practice, experience, and lots of support. The same goes for navigating the workplace. There’s no shortage of things to figure out: like how to communicate with your supervisor, how to manage your workload, and where to find the best coffee, to name a few.
At Empower Work, our goal is to support people through anything that feels uncomfortable or confusing at work. These feelings can be even more acute when you’re just starting out.
Here are some of our top tips for navigating the workplace as a newbie, and what to do if you feel like you need a little extra support!
Be kind to yourself.
It’s okay to feel a little lost or confused when starting out at a job or a new field. Everyone is bound to make a mistake at some point, and when you do, try to learn from it and move on quickly. Take responsibility, but remember that we’re all human.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Your CEO had to acquire years of knowledge to get to where they are today. Likewise, your boss was once in your shoes as a new employee. It can feel intimidating being around people with years, maybe decades, of experience. But remember that everyone’s on their own journey.
Find your go-tos.
Know who or where to go to when you have questions about office supplies; how promotions work; what benefits you have access to; where to get a quick lunch; and just about everything in between. It can take time to figure this out, so start early and don’t be afraid to ask.
Reflect on your work style.
What do you need to thrive? Some people crave real-time feedback, while others prefer to discuss feedback during set meeting times. Some people prefer open office environments, while others need a quiet refuge to be most productive. The more you understand about your needs at work, the better you can advocate for them.
Keep Empower Work in your back pocket.
Sometimes experiences at work feel straight-up confusing, challenging, or uncomfortable. It can be hard to tell if it’s normal or not—because you don’t have anything to compare it to. In these cases, it can be really helpful to unpack your experience with a trained peer counselor. Check out Empower Work to learn more!