Entering the corporate environment can be intimidating. It’s like starting college mid-semester. The cliques have already been formed, they are in the middle of working on a project and the dynamics of the class are already set. You’ve got to take a seat and figure it out. Welcome to your new job!

How well you navigate the corporate environment can either give you a career boost or become an anchor that you will have a difficult time getting rid of. It’s important that we are successful as we acclimate ourselves to the environment. 

Learn the environment and survey the landscape

One of the first things that you’ll need to do is learn the environment and survey the landscape. This goes beyond just settling into your new workspace and finding the breakroom, bathroom and conference area.  You’ll need to spend some time learning the different teams, the culture, and subcultures that are happening in the organization. If you are working for a national or international organization, learn your local office first and then seek to gain knowledge about other locations. 

You will need to understand the nuances before going through the next steps of picking a sponsor and mentor. You don’t want to saddle up with the person that turns out to be the office jokester or the person that no one respects. Knowing the environment has higher stakes than it did when you were in school. Making the wrong connections and associations could severely impact your trajectory. 

Find a sponsor

Find someone in the organization that can be your sponsor. This will be a person that will vouch for you as you gain credibility and introduce you to other people in the organization.  They don’t have to a senior level employee, although that never hurts. The right peer with a good reputation can be a great sponsor as you get your footing in a new company.  Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation for every opportunity!

Find a mentor

It’s also helpful if you can find a mentor in your organization. They are different from your sponsor in that they focus more on your personal and career success. This person can actually be your boss if you two have a good connection and trust each other. If you feel more comfortable with a third party mentor, ask around and make that connection. The mentorship doesn’t have to be forever. Having someone for the first 6 months is a great timetable for both parties to get a feel of the relationship and determine if it’s necessary, or wanted going forward. 

Starting a new job in a corporate setting can be overwhelming if you let it. Remember to have fun. You earned the spot you are sitting in now and your new co-workers want you to be successful in your duties. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and let all of your co-workers start with a clean slate no matter what you hear about them.  

Congrats on your new job!

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH