In an ideal world, someone would send you an email after your first couple weeks of your new job that says, “Hey, congrats! You’re officially all settled in now. Let’s eat cake together.”
But the reality is that it’s not likely cake will be waiting for you in the kitchen, plus everyone goes through this process at a different rate—so there’s not a due date on that. However, there are a few signs that indicate you’ve finally gotten comfortable in your new surroundings. Meaning, you’re probably already a beloved member of the team!
1. Your Colleagues Start Referring to You by Your Nickname
This is a big one for me. There are a lot of different names by which you could refer to someone named Richard. And because of that, all the companies I’ve worked for have defaulted by referring to me as Richard, which is totally fine. But I’ve gone as Rich for as long as I can remember. So, when my teammates have gotten to know me well enough, they start calling me Rich, too. And that’s usually a good sign that I’ve gotten acclimated with the lay of the land, and vice versa.
2. You’ve Started Focusing More on Your Actual Work (and Less on Administrative Issues)
I bet that in every new job you’ve had, you’ve spent time filling out paperwork. And worrying about how to properly request IT help. And simply learning where and how your team stores and shares documents among each other. Those things take a bit of time to wrap your mind around, and rightfully so. But you’ll also notice that at some point, you’ll know all of those administrative details like the back of your hand. And because of that, you’re able to completely dive in to what you were hired to do. If this is the case, congratulations. Your job is no longer “new.”
3. You’ve Started Showing People What You’re Really Like
Of course, you were hired because you made it clear that you were the right person for the job. But that doesn’t mean that you were expected to put aside every aspect of what you’re like outside of the office. In fact, most teams expect you to let your personality show a bit. If you’re looking for a sign that you’ve settled in, consider your workspace. Is it still spotless, or have you started decorating with those weird action figures you’ve brought along with you to every job you’ve had? (Only me?) If it’s the latter, your colleagues know you’re more than just a person who understands marketing strategy.
4. You’ve Stopped Overdressing for Work
It’s natural to want to dress to impress early on. If you’re going the more corporate route, you’re probably upping your game to make sure you’re the fanciest person anyone in your office has ever seen. And, if you’re at a startup, you might not be quite as dressed up, but you still want to show up in something that feels more professional than jeans and a t-shirt. And for a lot of people, this extends way beyond the first day. But if you’re looking for a sign you’re settling in to a new job, take a look at your clothes. If you’ve stopped stressing about your outfits as much as you did in the beginning, it’s a pretty clear sign that you’re starting to feel more comfortable.
5. You’ve Stopped Referring to it as Your New Job
This is a natural reflex for everyone. But the clearest indicator that you’ve finally settled in? You’ve stopped calling your position new to people you run in to, and simply describe it as your job. Of course, you still might need to adjust to a few minor things, but it’s usually obvious that you’re feeling like a part of the company when you say things like, “It’s only been four months, but it feels like much longer.”
Settling in is never as easy as you’d like—no matter how welcoming your team is. The good news is that if you make an effort to get to know your new colleagues, open up about yourself, and do everything you can to hit the ground running, you’ll feel at home faster than you thought possible.
Photo of woman at work courtesy of Shutterstock.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author