Starting a new job is like traveling to a new country. There’s a rhythm, a routine, and it might seem like your new team speaks in a different dialect – or in an entirely different language – than your previous health system or residency program.
Sometimes the transition is swift, onboarding prepares you for every step you’ll need to take and making connections with new team members feels seamless. But, other times that transition can feel more like a culture shock.
If you’re finding it difficult to get accustomed to your new work setting, how can you determine if it’s just you or the opportunity not living up to your expectations and what can you do when you are not happy with your new job?
Conduct a post-hire culture reassessment
Go back to your interview stage of the job search. Remember what attracted you to the health system or to the role. Do those aspects seem to be missing now that you’ve been hired?
It’s important to consider certain elements of the job you were anticipating can take some time to come into focus – or even depend on how long you’ve been in your new position.
If you’ve only been with your organization a few months, some opportunities – like stepping into leadership roles, for instance – will take more time and experience with the health system. But if it’s only been a few months and you’re already struggling to achieve the work-life balance you were guaranteed, that’s a big difference to note.
Questions to ask yourself in a post-hire culture reassessment
There’s a learning curve and adjustment period when starting any new job. However, if feelings of discontent seem to be stemming from something more than that, you can try to narrow down what’s lacking as you’re learning what it means to become integrated into your new health system.
During your first three months of employment, ask yourself:
- Has the recruiter or hiring manager who brought you onto the team checked in to see how you’re doing in your new role? Were you honest with your feedback?
- How long was the onboarding process? Did it feel organized, intuitive and helpful? Were you given the resources you feel you need to be successful?
- Are there peers or new colleagues that have tried to assist you with the transition into a new work environment?
- Did your new employer follow through on certain provisions, like offering relocation assistance, providing community resources, etc.?
- Does it feel like questions you’d asked about culture during interviews align with what you see so far in the day to day?
Take inventory of your new team
Fitting in with a new team isn’t always easy, and there are a few reasons why it might be harder for some individuals to find a place to land among a new group of peers. If that’s the case for you, reflect first.
Have you tried initiating conversations with other providers in your department? Are nerves getting in the way? Is there something in your personal life that might be making you feel less extroverted?
If not, you may not be part of the cause, but you might be able to be part of a solution.
Find your place in a new group of peers
Surprise, surprise – even though high school days are over, adults – and providers – can still have cliques. If you’re finding yourself trying to enter what feels like a tight-knit group, it can be daunting.
You were hired for a reason. You shouldn’t have to put up a front or bend over backwards to get the approval of your peers, but you can take steps to build connections more seamlessly.
When engaging with your new team, try these tactics to help add to your likeability:
- Be the one to ask new team members questions: What do they like to do for fun? Do they have hobbies? A spouse or kids? These questions can make you both aware of the others’ interests and provide potential opportunities to connect outside of work.
- Talk about yourself, but not too much: Find organic opportunities to be personable and share who you are beyond your job. Are you a major sports fan? From a small town and working in a big city? Do you have a side-hustle or hobby? Give yourself the chance to be relatable!
- Do small favors: Psychology says requesting small favors can add to your likeability when making first impressions. When it’s a request that’s easy to fill, such as asking a peer for directions to the cafeteria, they subconsciously associate you with a sense of purpose and value, and it tells them you trust them enough to ask for their help.
- Bond over the day to day: Sometimes, small talk and daily conversations can be the best kindling for strong connections. Start striking informal conversations with new or familiar faces and see if spending organic time together starts to become more intentional.
Keep burnout at bay before you begin
If you’re switching positions or leaving training, and if you’re already noticing feelings of burnout in your new job, pay attention. From your perception of the facility, teams or job itself, to how you’re being perceived by others, burnout symptoms can have a big impact.
Signs burnout is getting in the way of your new job:
- You felt dread more than nerves or excitement about starting in your new position.
- You don’t feel inclined to start making connections with peers and colleagues.
- You’re feeling impatient or irritable – even when engaging with individuals you admire or want to impress.
- You don’t feel like a new team, facility or culture is contributing to a needed change of pace.
- You constantly think about not being at work – while you’re at work.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping a new job would knock burnout, it’s not always that simple. However, sometimes a new environment can help – whether it comes with better work-life balance or programs to get provider support.
It can be unnerving, but communicating burnout symptoms before they’re glaringly obvious to employers is always better than being passed off as lacking performance or having a bad attitude when that isn’t the case.
Reflect, and respond accordingly
Whether you’re experiencing challenges assimilating yourself into your new organization, struggling to connect with your peers or you just can’t seem to find a sense of satisfaction in your new role, ask yourself the above questions.
If it’s time for an attitude adjustment, do your best to make it. If it’s the opportunity, culture or environment that isn’t working out like you’d hoped, take matters into your own hands to find the resources, support and relationships you need to make the experience worthwhile. Remember that circumstances can change, and if they don’t, this job doesn’t have to be forever.