What to Do When You're New

How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations

 What to Do When You're New

Author: Keith Rollag
Pub Date: September 2015
Print Edition: $17.95
Print ISBN: 9780814434895
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814434901

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Excerpt

ONE

SUCCESS STARTS WITH

BEING NEW

To achieve almost anything in life you have to put yourself into new situations. To have a successful career, you often need to change jobs and join new organizations. You get promoted into new teams. Sometimes you’re transferred to unfamiliar cities and countries. Outside of work, you’re new every time you go back to school for more education or join a new health club to get in shape. You’re often a newcomer every time you take up a new hobby, go on a vacation over-seas, or check one more thing off your “bucket list.”

In fact, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish anything meaningful and important in life without at some point having to meet new people, learn new things, and take on new roles. And as a newcomer, how you think and act in those first few seconds, minutes, hours, and days matters. What you do when you’re new often determines whether you will find the success, satisfaction, and happiness that drove you to be a newcomer in the first place.

The goal of this book is to help you become a more suc-cessful -newcomer—across all kinds of new situations. We’ll explore the science of newcomer success and give you a set of strategies, techniques, and exercises to become:

• More productive and confident in your new role

• Better connected to new co-workers, classmates, group members, and neighbors

• Less anxious and awkward around strangers

• More willing to seek out those new experiences that make life interesting, rewarding, and fun

NEWCOMER SUCCESS: FIVE KEY SKILLS

I’ve been studying newcomer success for over twenty years. In the workplace, I have interviewed hundreds of new em-ployees in a variety of roles, levels, and industries. I have ob-served newcomers while they work, and have talked to their managers. I’ve also asked newcomers to keep journals about their first few weeks on the job and have conducted newcomer surveys across many organizations.

Outside of the workplace, I’ve interviewed newcomers join-ing schools, churches, neighborhoods, theater groups, health clubs, and even rock bands. I’ve interviewed college students moving into residence halls, and senior citizens moving into retirement communities. I’ve talked with people taking classes on everything from swimming, guitar, yoga, and skiing to beekeeping. Through these interviews I’ve been trying to un-derstand what successful newcomers do that allows them to have such positive, rewarding experiences. How do they get up to speed quickly? How do they integrate themselves into their new group? How do they get the information and advice they need to be productive in their new role?

I’ve discovered that the secret to newcomer success is no secret at all. It mostly comes down to our willingness and ability to do five key things:

1. Introduce ourselves to strangers.

2. Learn and remember names.

3. Ask questions.

4. Seek out and start new relationships.

5. Perform new things in front of others.

For most of us, these five skills are both the key to new-comer success and our greatest source of anxiety in new situations. For example, although we know that introductions are critical to getting connected, we are reluctant to approach and introduce ourselves to new people. We realize that remembering names creates a great “second” impression, but we discover we’re unable to recall names when we meet people again.

We know that asking questions is often the only way to get the information we need, but we hesitate to bother busy, im-portant people. We understand that all work gets done through relationships, but we are reluctant to start and build new ones. Finally, we find ourselves anxious about performing our new role in front of unfamiliar people, even though we know that newcomers are expected to start out slow and make a few mistakes.

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