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Over the last several weeks, and in the weeks to come, many people will fill one of the most dreaded positions in life – The New Guy or Gal.
From a college freshman’s or tranfer’s perspective, being the new guy or gal on campus is exciting and scary at the same time. For many, it’s the thrill of being on their own for the first time, and yet at the same time it seems daunting. Having worked many Move-In Days over my career in higher education, for the first time parents, their hearts are filled with pride, but also breaking as their child leaves home for the first time.
From the new hire’s perspective, it is also exciting and just a bit scary as well. Although they know they can do the job, and do it well, many wonder how easy it will be to absorb the organization’s culture quickly, and make new friends in the workplace. Let’s face it, identifying and deciding where you fit into the political climate in the organization without knowing all the back stories is one of the toughest choices you will have to make.
There are, however, many positives to being the New Guy or Gal. Here are just a few:
- You walk in the door with a totally open perspective; one that isn't colored by all the back stories. You see possibilities where others see closed doors. While walking in the door and spouting all your “we shoulds” is not the best way to make a good impression, taking notes of ideas you have, and then sharing them with your supervisor or others once you have been in the position for some time – or better yet, are asked – shows creative thinking. Before sharing your wisdom, however, be sure to look at every situation from as many perspectives as possible and then determine if your idea truly has merit.
- By truly embracing this new challenge with an open mind and excitement beating in your heart, you walk through the door and begin exploring all the possibilities, including new skills, knowledge, colleagues, experiences, and friends. Who doesn't need these in life?
- If you make a mistake early on (which you will, of course), people tend to pass it off as being – you guessed it – the New Guy or Gal. You learn from your mistakes, take steps to ensure you don’t make it again, and tuck that lesson into your portfolio of Life Lessons.
- You have a front row seat to learn about yourself, how you react (or don’t) in new situations, and gain a better understanding of what is acceptable to you and what is not. While those around you also learn about you, the person who benefits the most is you. The more you know yourself, the better able you will be to make decisions, take chances, and enjoy the experiences life has to share with you.
While the list isn't all inclusive, I think you get the point. Starting a new phase in life, regardless of what it is, is always exciting and somewhat scary. It’s what you do with those feelings that determine how you use the opportunity of being the New Guy or Gal.
By the way, please feel free to add to the list and share with everyone.
Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.
Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.