Three Tips for Surviving The Workplace

I almost titled this “How to Survive in the Corporate World” but then I remembered I work for a nonprofit*, so there went that idea.

Anyway, I thus present you with these three tips:

Jump in

I love starting new jobs because it’s so nice to have a clean slate. I’m an introvert, so it takes me a while to get the feel for things, but I enjoy the idea of reinvention. Likely, at a new job, nobody is going to know you. They don’t know how you don’t like coffee (apparently a sin in Seattle) and if you really care about Game of Thrones (spoiler: I don’t). You get to be you without the drama of your old work place.**

This however, is also a bit terrifying. Because it means you don’t really know who to trust. Listen, I’m not telling you to spill your deepest, darkest secrets to your coworkers, but it’d be nice to know which ones you could vent to and which ones to avoid, you know?

The trick is: you can’t find out unless you jump in. You’re not at your old job. You’re here. And now is the time. So go at it. Be you. Or be the you you want to be in this job.

Befriend the janitor

This is by far one of the best pieces of advice I ever got as a teacher. Here’s the thing about the janitor: they know things. They can pretty much get you into or out of any situation that you find yourself in. It’s insane. They’re pretty much magic. This, of course, doesn’t just extend to the janitors, but rather the people doing the “dirty work.”

You do not want to get on their bad side. Because a janitor? the IT people? the security guard? They can make your work life pretty awful if they wanted to. They don’t need to prioritize you if you’re a jerk to them. Sure they might get around to you at some point, but it’s not critical. Probably best to treat them like a decent human being because…they are. They’re not at your beck and call; you’re all on the same team.

Send thank you notes

I know, you’re probably reading that in your mother’s voice. But who doesn’t love a good handwritten thank you note? Besides: it makes an impression. They don’t have to be overly flowery. Here’s my quick and dirty thank you note routine (Lemony Snicket anyone?):

1. Do not begin with thank you. What else are you supposed to fill all that empty space with? Start by saying something about yourself or your situation in which they helped you with. “Starting a new job is always tough, but you have been a great resources as I’ve tried to get my bearings.”

2. Thank them. Be genuine and specific. “Thank you for making me feel welcome in the office.”

3. Salutations. “I hope your day is wonderful!”

There. See? Easy.

So those are my tips for surviving in a new workplace. Best of luck! Let us know if you have any other tips below!

*ah yes, hooray! I got a new job! It only took 25 applications, 12 rejections, and 9 interviews. Ah well. I’m happy to have finally arrived.

**there’s always drama. It’s probably why you left.


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