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How to Fit in With a New Laboratory Group

Change is never easy, especially when you are trying to fit in with a new laboratory group. Here are some tips to make your transition bearable. Or even pleasant.

Be open to your new laboratory group

Be open to knowing new people. Smile and be friendly. The truth is, most of your new coworkers will want to be on good terms with you—after all, you are an asset to the group.

Even though it can be scary,and you may feel intrusive, try to start conversations, go to lunch with them, or even bring some cookies. Cookies will win over most hearts.

Don’t let a bad day get in the way

Starting over is never easy. It’s difficult whether it’s your first job or if you have 20 years worth of experience under your belt. And there will always be days when the workload, personal factors, or just the effort of fitting in will interfere with your social abilities and you will feel a little bit under the weather.

Everyone can have one of those days—don’t let them get you down. Just take a deep breath—and remember: tomorrow is a new day.

Learn to say no

This one is very important. It’s a new group, you are excited about the work and you really want to fit in. Thus, it can be very hard to say no. However, remember that it is important to know your limits—taking in too much work might make you lose focus or start making mistakes.

Starting over is hard. Don’t make it even harder. Do your very best and work very hard—but if sometimes you have to say no in order to maintain the quality of your work—do it.

Don’t forget to ask

Ask everything. Ask about everything. Names of your co-workers, the workflow of the labor … and something as simple as “Where’s the bathroom?”

Asking is very good for a lot reasons. One, knowing the name of your co-workers is a step ahead in becoming good friends with them. And it is extremely important to know how everything functions in a new workplace. Even if you have been doing the same job for the past twenty years, the truth is that everything is different in a new laboratory group. Maybe the storage organization is different; maybe the workflow in itself is different. Asking shows you are committed to learning. And most important: it gives you answers.

And the location of the bathroom is always good knowledge to have on a new workplace

Not everyone will love you and that’s okay

This is like a mantra for me. If you are like me—and have an almost pathological need for everyone to like you—it may be tricky if you feel like someone isn’t fond of you. But the truth is, science is competitive, and unfortunately you may feel it, even among your coworkers and colleagues. Not everyone will be nice and helpful. Don’t let them get you down.

Find people you can relate to and people who are ready to lend a hand and be helpful in return. And to those who are not so nice? Be cooperative, be polite, and most of all, don’t let them interfere with your work.

And the most important thing? Remember – this strange period of adaption will soon pass and you will feel completely integrated in the team.

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