4 Tips for Settling Into a New Job

If you’re starting a new job after being unemployed for a long time, you need to read these tips from a therapist, writer, and mom! This is a guest post from Heiddi Zalamar, who says…

I was very apprehensive and unsure of myself when I started my new job, even with my degree and licensure. Working again was weird for me. I was in limbo and I HATED it. But, like with anything else, it was an adjustment period. Everyone goes through it – even single-parent mental health counselors!

All I could do was keep going to work everyday and establish a routine for myself. It worked. Follow these tips and be patient with yourself. You’ll do just fine.

4 Tips for Settling Into a New Job

Listen and observe.  Listen to your supervisor’s directions and observe your co-workers. Avoid picking up bad habits that will reflect poorly on you. Just because your co-worker does something, it doesn’t mean you can do it. They have been there longer than you and have already established themselves. Case in point, I’ve been at my new job for three months. I’ve stayed late some days and thought about leaving early on another day (I’m a salaried worker) as a co-worker did. But, I don’t dare do that for a couple of reasons – 1) I’m still on probation for another three months and 2) my co-worker has been there much longer than I have.  So I listen to the boss and observe my environment.

Get organized.  Initially, you’ll have some downtime while you learn on the job (depending on the job). If so, take advantage by organizing your workspace.  Bring in your favorite coffee mug, pictures of your loved ones and anything else that brings a sense of home for you. This will allow you a measure of control over your environment even if you’re not feeling like you know your job. And whenever you doubt yourself, you can look at these things for motivation and comfort.

When in doubt, ask.  The probation period isn’t only a time for showing your best working self, it is also about learning.  And you can learn by observing or asking questions. Request meetings with your supervisor or ask your co-workers for help. I often find myself questioning how to approach a situation, so I ask. And my co-workers are very supportive and helpful.

Talking about doubt…if you don’t think you’re working in the right job, read How to Find the Perfect Job Without Taking a Career Test.

Be patient with yourself.  I wanted to quit everyday the first month at this new job. And this was only after four months of unemployment (I’ve worked since I was 19 years old)! But, I hung in there. I had no choice. I had bills to pay and a child to support on my own. Slowly, I only wanted to quit once a week and now I can see myself being at this job for the next few years. Yup, I said it. A few years.

If you’re already clashing with your coworkers, read 6 Tips for Negotiating Conflict at Work.

And if you have any questions or thoughts on settling into a new job after long-term unemployment, please comment below…

Heiddi Zalamar is a mom/therapist/writer living and working in NYC. You can see her writing at http://heiddizalamar.wordpress.com/ and can email her at Hzalamar@gmail.com.

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5 thoughts on “4 Tips for Settling Into a New Job

  • Heiddi

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks so much for letting me share my tips. I am a Bilingual (Eng/Span) Child & Family therapist working with low-income families in NYC.
    I’ve been settling in very well. Well enough that I can see myself there for years. I feel very comfortable there. I like the work that I do. I just need to practice good self-care. (Oooh! Idea brewing for a new article. lol)
    Anyway, thanks for letting me share my thoughts. 🙂 Take care!

  • Heiddi

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks so much for letting me share my article. It actually came about after going through my early adjustment days at the new job. I am a bilingual child and family therapist at a small non-profit in NYC. I really enjoy my work and it is an AMAZING work environment. I feel very supported and nurtured there.
    I hope to stay there a long time. 🙂

    And you’re very welcome.


  • mjfrombuffalo

    Can’t stress enough the part about asking questions. Clarifying expectations is sooooo important, and while some bosses are good at putting things out there clearly, others are not. Checking in with “here’s my work, is this how you want it done?” early on keeps one from being gob-smacked later with “You’re just not giving us what we want.”

  • Laurie Post author

    Thanks for this article, Heiddi! It makes me want to write an article about settling into grad school after not being a student for 10 years….in fact, I think I will write that article later today! 🙂

    Can you tell us what new job you’re settling into?

    And I totally agree with your thoughts on leaving work early. I think it’s important to establish yourself in your new job and get to know your fellow colleagues first, and then learn what you can do and what you shouldn’t do. I also think that seasoned staff should be allowed certain privileges, which newbies aren’t given. We have to pay our dues before enjoying the perks of being on salary 🙂

    Thanks again,