How Does One Fit In?

This is my second week at my new job and I am struggling to find my place there. During my first week everyone was friendly so I used a ton of energy interacting with them. I was exhausted at the end of each day because of it.

Now that it’s my second week I am trying to figure out how I can fit in despite my anxiety. Being new makes me even more nervous to speak to anybody. Today I couldn’t stop thinking that nobody liked me, that I won’t be good at my job and because my desk is in the basement office, I will be forgotten. I’ve already heard from multiple people that “they forgot I was here.” I thought, “Wow, great, cool, thanks for telling me how forgettable I am.”

At my last job I kept to myself most of the time. I didn’t talk to my coworkers very much and really only made connections with my supervisor. Whenever I was at staff meetings I rarely spoke unless I was spoken to or needed information from someone.

This is what I am accustomed to so I don’t know how to navigate this new environment. I don’t want to come off as antisocial or rude but I don’t know how to be my actual amiable self.

That is one of the interesting parts about anxiety, you keep to yourself because you’re anxious but people perceive it as stuck up.

Today I only had a conversation with one person. It was a really good one though! She is only training at my office so I will probably never see her again after her training is complete. But every time I consider opening my mouth to speak, I close it and scurry like a startled bunny back to my desk and put in my headphones.

How do you adjust to new situations? How do you put anxiety to the side?

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13 Replies to “How Does One Fit In?”

  1. Dear Megan, I can empathise with what you are going through. Every time I am in a new job, one of my first struggles would be making myself speak with new people. But everyone I know doesn’t think that of me at all! So although hard, it is possible. 🙂 I don’t think with the limited time your new colleagues had with you, that is enough for them to conclude that they dislike you. Maybe baby steps first, such as smiling when you see somebody, responding positively when they talk to you, and agree to go if you are invited to lunch? Small things that show you are kind and likeable, but things you are comfortable doing. Remember that people in general also want to be liked, are generally reciprocative to kindness, and are probably feeling as anxious as you to be seen in good light too! Best of luck in your new job 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your words, KM!! Getting the courage to speak to people is the most difficult part. Thank you for the encouragement! Today everyone was ordering lunch from an Asian fusion restaurant, just to attempt to be briefly social I ordered lunch even though I packed one. I’m going to try my hardest!

      1. Great! You know what to do already and that’s half the battle won! 🙂

  2. This is challenging for me, since I get a ton of anxiety walking into any workplace setting. These are the days I dread most. My main goal is to get my job done and put energy into that, rather than make friends. Sure it’s good to have allies, which will definitely serve you well in the workplace and outside of your job, but the main goal is the job itself. Excel at your job and people will definitely notice you. That’s my approach to surviving these first few weeks at a new job. The friends will come with time. Good luck!

    1. So good to hear from you, Hilary!! That is what I’ve been doing all week, focusing on setting and accomplishing my goals. I’ve actually gotten a lot done which I’m proud of! You’re right though, work is about doing the job. Thank you!!

  3. Staying quiet at first may be a smart thing to do. You don’t want to start a job talking too much. You could be labeled a “gossip” or a “know it all”. You don’t know those people yet so be cautious. Say a friendly girl asks you to lunch. Everyone sees you leave with her. But what you don’t know is she’s the office troublemaker and she’s about to get fired. Now people associate you with her. See what I mean?

    1. Yeah that is true! I’m trying to figure everyone out which can be challenging in a new setting. Thank you for commenting!

  4. I agree with Hillary Tan’s comment. My paycheck pays for me to do my job the best way I can. I have been at my current job for over 12 years and still feel like an outsider at times. I am comfortable in my box and rarely step out. My fear of not stepping out of my box is not because of anxiety though. We all have some kind of crutch. Some people can work and move outside their comfort zone with ease. Some cannot. You are still new within your job. With time may come the ability to work outside the box a bit. When you are focused on how people perceive you, you may be creating more anxiety for yourself. It feels good to be accepted. I believe that will come with time.

    1. That makes me feel better, Karen. My box is sitting at my desk in silence so far hahaha. Thank you, I hope I will be accepted in this new job!

  5. I know the feeling, it is so hard entering a new circle of people. For me, I always just make sure I smile to everyone. That way, you look approachable, not stuck up and at the same time it will probably boost your confidence without you realising. If you keep smiling and saying “morning” or whatever greeting suits where you are, sooner or later someone will speak to you, or you’ll naturally do it yourself. I believe in you, good luck

    1. I will try smiling!! So far it’s been head down and scurry to my destination as quickly and quietly as humanly possible. Thank you for commenting, Izzy!

  6. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your skills are, the first month in any new job is spent asking yourself why on earth you decided to take the job!
    Of course people forget you are there, you haven’t been there up until very recently, and it’s too soon to have really added you to their workplace psychologically yet. That comes in time.

    I absolutely get what you say about shyness being misunderstood for being stand-offish. If I ever figure that one out I’ll come and tell you! Meanwhile, I hope it helps to know you’re not alone in that.
    Hope you settled in really fast and find your feet 😊

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