When To Fit In & When to Stand Out as a New Employee

Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to telemarketing. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including merchant services for lead generation resource, Resource Nation. 

It’s never easy to be the new girl in the office; can’t work the coffee machine, don’t know anyone’s name to ask, and definitely not used to waking up bright and early for a long 8 hour day of work. Still, being the new girl can have its advantages; you’ve yet to make your impression. Before doing so, consider some guidelines for blending in and standing out.

To Your Neighbor

Office friendships can be tricky. However, making friends with your cubicle neighbor can be beneficial for both of you. A Ranstad Work Watch survey found that “67% [of Americans] reported having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable and 55% feel that these relationships make their job more worthwhile and satisfying.” What is your first move?
  • Fit in: If your neighbor talks to you, engage in friendly conversation back. Avoid sticky office drama that you aren’t involved in. Don’t label yourself as the gossip girl before people get to know you. Politely brush off negative comments.
  • Stand out: Be dependable, responsive, and genuine. If your neighbor asks for help with something, be the one who volunteers. Show your coworkers they can look to you for support, and vice versa.

[Related Post: How To Keep It Classy With Difficult Coworkers]

To The CEO

When it comes to making friends in the office, there are no riskier waters to tread than those with your boss. Interacting with your CEO on a professional level is smart, befriending her is another story. As the new girl, however, it’s important to stay professional and positive.
  • Fit in: Get your work done on time. In an office where this isn’t the norm, it could make you stand out, which would be a perk. In an unstable economy, standing out by simply doing what is asked of you can be a good road to job security.
  • Stand out: If you and your boss have hit off, welcome the friendship. Being friends with the person who has the final say is always a good way to feel secure in your position. However, remember to remain professional and respect boundaries.

At The Work Party

The work party: a time to celebrate with work friends and co-mingle with executives you may not see on a regular basis. It’s also a very slippery slope, one that you don’t want to head down. While every office environment is different, and drinking etiquette varies, it’s important that you know exactly what to expect and how you should act.

[Related Post: 5 Tips For Attending Your First Office Party]

  • Fit in: If word around the office is that there will be drinking, feel free to have a drink in your hand. It’s important that you tune into the group mentality and get a feel for expectations. In some modern businesses, drinking is part of office culture. The CEO of Tello Inc says, “It’s not like it’s a wild fraternity party or something like that — we’re all adults.”
  • Stand out: Even if drinking is acceptable at the work party or in the office, this is never a good time to stand out. While your co-workers may be laughing, having a good time, you can do the same without making yourself appear to be a lush. At the end of the day, the drunk girl at the party is never a good title to have.
Being the new employee is never an easy road to walk. Creating friendships and becoming a part of the office requires you to maintain a balance. Making friends will make the work day easier, and it’s important that you strive to create those relationships. However, whether you blend in, or stand out as a new employee, always be true to who you are and give what you expect to get.

What do you think? When should you fit in and when do you stand out as a new employee?

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