We all have times when we feel a little uncomfortable in our own skin. It’s hard to always feel like yourself, especially when you’re environment you aren’t used to with people you don’t know. It happens to some of us more than others, but I think it’s pretty much a universally accepted fact that trying to fit in and find your feet in a new job is always a challenge.
After being yelled at down the phone by strangers every day, I finally decided call centre work just wasn’t for me (although who on earth is it “for”?!) and applied for a few other positions, including one at a big, scary London office that I was well under-qualified for. But I thought, hey, what the hell?!
After that I thought practically nothing of it; I can’t even COUNT the amount of times I’ve sent off job applications and never heard back. It’s like they’d get lost in some sort of internet void as soon as I’d hit the ‘Send’ button. When this application was even acknowledged it was a surprise, so you can imagine my shock when I actually interviewed and then went and got the damn thing!
I was excited, happy and proud of myself but, of course, also anxious and nervous. It sounds mad, but it wasn’t the fact that I had zero experience, loads to learn or even the thought that I might not be very good that worried me about starting a new job; it was the thought of having to try and feel like I belonged all over again.
When you’ve worked somewhere for a long time, it almost becomes your home away from home, right? We often refer to our colleagues as our “work family” and, sadly, many of us spend more time at work than we do anywhere else! You find yourself settling in, you realise who you get on with (and who you don’t!) and you pick up on all the little quirks of the place.
For me, the social cues of every workplace are different, and it’s figuring those out that often make it hard to feel like I fit in. I’m incredibly socially awkward and I get hugely anxious when meeting new people, especially in an office where the social side of things usually comes with so many unspoken rules.
I’ve only ever worked in small teams and casual environments, so moving up to a fancy London office with these equally fancy people was so nerve-wracking for me. There I was, being introduced to these slender, sophisticated women and suited-and-booted men, shuffling around in my Converses and talking about festivals with my skull tattoo creeping out of my sleeve…
I looked different. I felt different.
No matter where you are, whether it’s a corporate head office or a small team out in the sticks, a new job can sometimes feel like a whole new world. It’s still early doors for me so, if I’m honest, I still don’t think I’ve found my place just yet.
All I can do is think back to one of my earlier jobs, when I’d walk around the block at least twice every single day before going inside because I was so nervous about fitting in – and then think about how much I loved them all by the time I left. It takes time, but hopefully one day I’ll look back on how I felt at this point and laugh at myself because, now, it finally feels like home.
Check out similar posts: