Career Skills Insights: Acclimation in the Workplace

By Rex Bagwell, Business Development Lead at Salient Commercial Solutions

Like many of you, I have had the benefit of working within some wonderful organizations. I have learned from some very strong leaders and productive workers. Great insight doesn’t only come from those above us. Many of the lessons I’ve learned that have impacted me greatly have come from those whom I was supervising.

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Also like many of you, I have had the pleasure of transferring some really positive life lessons from my home to the workplace and vice versa. I recognize that there are healthy lines of distinction between the two in most environments. However, I also realize that we grow and develop over time in both our personal and our professional lives.

So as we grow and develop, we have to learn to adapt or acclimate to something new around us on a regular basis. For many of us, it may be common to have new systems, new bosses, new owners etc. One of the areas of acclimation that I would like to address involves new teammates or co-workers. 

It isn’t always easy for us to step into a new environment, process new orientation policies, or get to know new teammates. Can you remember the last time you started fresh in an area unfamiliar to you? Can you remember how awkward it was to just say hello on some days? I hope we can remember the good experiences we had. I also hope we can remember the times we have maximized the opportunity to help someone else in their career transition.

At this point in my life, I have 3 kids in their twenties. My oldest is married and took what many would call a traditional route through dating, engagement and then marriage. He brought a great young lady into our family. My middle child, my daughter, started down a different route. She is now about to head down a similar path as my oldest son and the young man she is planning to bring into our family appears to be a good young man.

As this young man and I were having “a discussion” recently, I found myself struggling to address a few of the normal topics dads address. This was our first discussion, so I went easy. The second discussion covers the topic: “Guns don’t kill people, however Dads with daughters who’ve been hurt do”. Well, after this “first discussion”, I realized part of my struggle was that I am somewhat too comfortable. Trying to spread love, encouragement and direction to a new daughter-in-law and to a perhaps soon to be son-in –law is more challenging than I thought. After all, someone else chose them, with limited input from me.

After I processed these thoughts for some time, I laughed a little as I thought how familiar some of this discomfort is to our workplace challenges. You see, part of these two additions to my family require me to go above and beyond to help them acclimate to me and our family. It really isn’t appropriate for me to expect them to show all of the initiative. When I genuinely tried to make my future son-in-law feel comfortable, I scored some serious points with my daughter – and my wife.

In the workplace, we can really help someone else’s career by taking the initiative to help them navigate through the many nuances of our departments and key connections with other established co-workers. I certainly recall being new and hoping someone would help me with the processes and relationships. Hopefully you do as well.
So look around. Is there someone you can offer some acclimation assistance? If we can identify others we can help, we may even score some serious points with other key stakeholders as well. We rarely get to choose our co-workers. They might not have chosen us, but we can make a big difference in their acclimation and perhaps their career success.

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