What to Expect at Your New Job

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Getting comfortable in a new position is no easy feat for anyone. You may not know the people you are now working with, you will not be familiar with the reporting channels and who does what. Even the most trivial daily duties could pose a challenge to your intellect. The byproducts of all these obstacles are anxiety and stress. Lots of stress. You may be doing the right thing but your mind will make sure that even all the praise in the world doesn’t suffice to ease your “suffering”.

I had a dream

Up until a few weeks ago, I’ve been having a repetitive dream. It’s always the same theme but with different characters. The weird thing about those dreams, is that while I’m dreaming, I am able to remember the past iterations of the dream, which makes them feel longer and even more real.

This is my dream (not as game changing as Martin Luther King Jr’s): as some of you know, I work in the mental health care industry, which means that in a way, people’s physical and psychological wellness depends on me. In my dream, wait for it… I always end up killing (by accident, except that time when I stabbed someone… un/intentionally) an individual or staff under my supervision.

I feel terrorized for what could happen to me, incredulous for what I did; and a feeling of paranoia invades me. I sneak from the cops that investigate the killings and I try to do everything I can to fix the situation (even hiding the bodies) but nothing can undo what I had done.

One evening, I was driving back home from the beach in NJ. I had just had that one of those dreams the night before (for the 3rd time) and being unsuccessful at interpreting its meaning, I told the story to my girlfriend, who is not a psychologist, but gave me an interpretation so simple and evident that I almost started banging my head on the wall (not really) for not figuring it out myself. She told me “well, you might be afraid of making a big mistake at work and get found”.

That realization not only made the dreams stop, I also started feeling more relaxed at work. See, when you are serious about what you do, even a mistake at work can make you feel as if you have killed someone. At least, that’s my case but I bet there are many more like me out there.

This story leads me back to the central point of this article. What to expect when you arrive at your new workplace. Hopefully it will spare you from having nightmares.

The first weeks

I see the process of adjusting to a new job and the anxiety levels it produces as a normal curve (Gauss curve). During the first weeks you’ll get used to your basic duties and tasks (a steep learning curve). Everything is new and you basically don’t know what you are doing, unless (even if) you are transferring from a similar position. This period of confusion starts to fade after the first month and until the third -call this two months the acclimation period-. It is also the best time to make mistakes;)

After the third month

After the third month, and if you successfully got past the probation period, things become easier. You call people “man, dude, you or ma’am” less often and instead, you start to use their real names. Those basic tasks that were once a challenge are difficult no more but in the back of your head, you keep the feeling that you are still missing something.

As you reach a learning plateau, your motivation may stagnate or drop since the initial adrenaline rush is over and you start feeling stress’ withdrawal symptoms (stress can ruin you but it’s also a great motivator, if you know how to deal with it). This lack of motivation is not necessarily you getting bored or tired of the job, it’s just that your mind is getting settled in. Moreover, you are now (hopefully) comfortable in your job and better equipped to deal with your duties and daily challenges.

6th – 12th month

This is the time-frame where your productivity will peak and you will be able to reach your full potential while getting a clear picture of the road ahead. Motivation magically kicks back in. You start connecting the dots and see your work as a gestalt (an integrated whole) and not as a checklist of isolated tasks. Your mind starts integrating your experience and things that once seemed unrelated or disconnected now become correlated. This is also the time when you are in the best position to innovate. You now know the job plus, you are not that contaminated by the company’s culture, which will enable you to achieve that mix of freshness and experience that make game changing ideas work.

Bottom line

Feeling at home -at work- is a process that takes time; an year long emotional roller coaster ride. Be sure that no one is going to be expecting you to save the ship during your first months (unless you were hired to do so), hence relax and let it flow. Things will find its place with time.

Some people learn faster than others, so the given time-frames are not intended to be used as a rule but as a general guideline for what’s going to happen. And remember, the faster you learn your job, the faster you’ll make a positive impact.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Fernando_Tarnogol/558449

Categories: jobs