Have you started a new role and found it hard to vibe with your co-workers? Perhaps a new boss prompted a culture shift that you don’t align with? Or do you suffer social anxiety that hinders you from forming professional bonds?
Not everyone fits in a work, in fact, a recent study revealed 25% of workers don’t. You can’t control other people’s perceptions, though on the bright side, you can control your own. When you think you stand out like a sore thumb, it could be nerves or anxiousness, or perhaps there’s something you’re doing that you are yet to discover. Here’s how to identify your ‘sore spots’ and approach the problem of not fitting in.
Are you doing anything to alienate peers?
When you lack harmonious co-worker relationships, it’s time to ask, is it them or you? Do you tend to dominate meetings or vocalise your opinions frequently? Are you the workplace gossip? Or do you blast your music at top volume and take extended lunch breaks?
Spend time analysing your professional behaviour to see if you could be testing those boundaries. Then, ensure your conduct will be making your colleagues’ days better rather than worse.
Are you making an effort?
If you feel unnoticed or under the radar, think about how much effort you’re making to get to know your co-workers. Are you taking the time to engage in meaningful conversations or bonding over communal lunches?
Build strong colleague relationships by seizing opportunities to work together as a team to build trust and respect. When you have conversations, listen proactively to get to know them, expressing gratitude when necessary.
Are you adding value?
Part of fitting in at work is making yourself count. That is, being noticed and valued for doing a brilliant job, rather than overlooked. Show willingness to solve or overcome problems. Demonstrate initiative when it matters. Take any opportunities to train or level up your skills.
Your company loves great performers, so by adding value to the business, you’ll develop a sense of belonging by being the apple of your boss’s eye.
Do you need to fit in to enjoy your work?
Feeling like an outsider at times, although unpleasant, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you do. This is especially true if you work a lot of the time autonomously. Maybe you’re spending significant energy trying to fit in and just want to be yourself and enjoy the work.
If you’re done trying to put yourself out there, consider what it is you like about your job and savour the best elements. Perhaps you love working outdoors in the fresh air? Maybe you like the creative aspect? Or you revel in being able to blast your music (through noise-cancelling headphones, of course), and enjoying those tunes! Being best buddies with your crew is great, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of a satisfying work life.
Is your workplace aligned with your values?
When you’re a square peg, inserting yourself into your workplace’s round hole can be hard. This can be problematic if your workplace culture is at odds with your values. To establish this, understand your personal values first: what is important to you at work – honesty, trust, reward, teamwork?
Then, assess if your employer is doing the right things to embody those values. If your company demonstrates strong positive values, while you don’t, maybe it’s time to rethink what you’re doing to get on board with them too. When all else fails, and you’re experiencing dissatisfaction, perhaps it’s time to find an exit strategy.
If you are open to new opportunities, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.