In my first blog post, I talked about settling in to life on placement and although I did settle in really quickly, I wouldn’t say that has been compleeetely straightforward. For the first few weeks I felt a little bit intimidated by how many clever people I was surrounded by, and because the application process was so long I almost expected to get rejected at every stage, and was really pleasantly surprised when I got an offer.
I felt like I had to appear super confident on the outside but inside I felt very differently. I spoke to another intern about feeling like this, and they told me that this is an actual thing – called Imposter Syndrome. Basically- where you feel like you are less competent than other people at work, and are going to be exposed as a “fraud”. It was so interesting to read that this is a super common feeling when starting a new job and lots of the other interns felt like this. I just needed to remember that I was hired for a reason!
At some point this week, week 7, I was walking through the glassy Microsoft doors, grabbed a coffee from our onsite coffee shop, sat down at my usual desk and started work for the day. I found that my anxious, self-doubting voice had been silenced and when I realised that, I just had this overwhelming sense that I belong here. It was such a relief to feel like that! Ever since that moment, I have allowed myself to enjoy this experience and had so much more confidence in myself. Now I feel so positive about the next 10 months!
I think there is so much to be said on the topic of settling into a placement and it will vary from person to person, but I can happily say that it took me 7 weeks to really feel settled- so don’t panic if you still feel a bit wobbly in the first couple of months.
My general advice for speeding up the settling in process would be:
- Start talking to the people on the desks around you. I didn’t introduce myself to people quickly enough and so it felt harder as the days passed. Try and move from initial introductions to a proper conversation. Your days will be much more fun if you have work friends! This definitely counts as networking, which is great for your personal development.
- Seek out a mentor. My workplace is really big on mentoring, which is where you find someone to meet with regularly to talk about your development- it’s a two-way relationship where you benefit from someone’s experience and they get to practise their managerial skills and see you develop. It feels really good to know that there is someone in the office who is looking out for you!
- Say YES to everything! One of the main things which led to my sudden boost of confident in Week 7 was being busy- completing work that was genuinely useful to my colleagues and to the wider business, and having people thank me for doing that work. So in the early weeks of your placement, say yes to every opportunity even if you aren’t sure how to do it just yet! You will soon have a reputation as someone who is helpful and diligent, and that is a great way to start your year.
I hope this is useful advice, and that my experience shows that settling in isn’t a straightforward process!
Thanks for reading,