Q: I've just started a new position and I am excited for my first professional job. However I am finding it difficult to relate to my much more experienced coworkers and supervisor. Any help fitting in in my first professional job? Especially now that we are virtual?
A: Dear new to the professional world,
Congratulations on the new job! First things first take a moment to celebrate your accomplishment of entering the professional world. Afterwards take a deep breath and put your anthropology hat on.
The best advice I was ever given when starting a new job anywhere is to take time and observe. Listen more than you speak and be as eagle-eyed as possible.
Use your observation skills to notice what your coworkers and supervisor like. Maybe they are big into sports or cooking. Or are watching a television show you love. I was shocked to learn my own supervisor (who has children my age) really loved Schitt's Creek.
If you are feeling a bit of stage fright or just are generally uncomfortable chatting with your supervisor or coworkers when you are on your zoom calls. Start slow and work your way up. Set a goal to ask one question or give one opinion and slowly build from there. Maybe after achieving your first goal, the next time make it your goal to ask 2 questions, or offer 2 opinions. Starting small can make the overwhelming feeling of contributing dissipate slowly.
Also as a bonus, here is an article from one of my favorite sources on tackling your long term relationship with your boss.
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