Job hopping is the new norm. In fact, an April survey from Robert Half found that 64 percent of employees prefer to change their job every few years. That’s a 22 percent increase since 2014.
The allure of job hopping is understandable. It gives employees more freedom in their career and allows them to continually take on the next exciting opportunity. But there is one downside to continually changing jobs: always being the new guy.
In an industry like medical sales, where relationships and your reputation play a big part in your success, being the new hire is difficult. But that doesn’t mean you should let the awkward phase keep you from making the right decisions for your career. You just need to know how to navigate a new workplace so you can start excelling sooner.
Here are three tips for quickly going from new employee to contributing member of the team:
1. Socialize with purpose
When you don’t know any of your co-workers, it can be overwhelming determining where to start. Do you introduce yourself to everyone or focus on a core group of people? How do you appear likable without seeming fake?
The first step is determining your comfort level of certain social situations. For example, if you’re better getting to know someone one-on-one, going to a group happy hour might not be the best first step. It’s important to put yourself out there, just not in a way that makes you act out of character.
Also, be proactive about meeting people. Depending on the company culture, new co-workers might be shy about coming to you. By making a conscious effort every day to get to know those in your new environment, you’ll begin to build relationships.
These don’t need to be big gestures. For instance, if you notice a co-worker has a picture of a city you’ve visited, find time to compare notes. Ask them why they went to the city and about their favorite part of the trip. This will show people you want to fit into the team as not only a new employee but also a human being.
2. Don’t attach to the boss
One of the biggest mistakes a new hire makes is latching onto the boss. Whether it’s because you want to impress your manager or assume they’ll have all the answers, you may feel compelled to stay close to the boss.
However, in the long-run, this can be a mistake. To your boss, you can become a nuisance. And to your co-workers, you will appear like a teacher’s pet. Neither is a great first impression.
Instead, find the go-to person for different topics. There’s always someone on the team who is the tech expert, another who’s been there the longest, and one who held your position previously. These people are the ones you should be turning to when you’re trying to get down the lay of the land.
Plus, having multiple people to talk to ensures that you’re not coming off clingy to any one person.
3. Set an answer deadline
When you’re a new employee, you have to process tons of new information. You’re given onboarding material that forms the base of what you need to learn. But there’s a delicate balance between sifting through information and getting a task done.
This is why you need to set a time limit for how long you’ll try to solve a problem yourself. If you immediately ask someone else for help, it’ll hinder how well you learn new procedures. Plus, co-workers will begin to doubt your ability to do the job. On the other hand, if you’re always trying to figure things out on your own, you’ll seem like someone who needs to be a know-it-all — and wastes valuable time.
Whenever you’re unsure of what to do, give yourself 15 minutes to find a solution. If that doesn’t work, go to someone else for help. Explain what you’ve already tried and what resources you’ve consulted. This will show everyone that you are trying to get up-to-speed but are humble enough to admit when you’re lost.
What are some other ways to get through the awkward new hire phase? Share in the comments.