After a Few Months on a Job, You go onto Auto-Pilot

Getting a new job is really exciting.  You are full of emotions and thoughts are running through your head at light speed. 

What will I really be doing?

What is the culture like from the inside?

I hope I don’t blow this opportunity.

Will I get along with my bosses and co-workers?

As the days go by in your new job, you keep your eyes wide open because you really don’t know what to expect.  You notice the smallest things like what time people come in and leave, where to go for a coffee sweetener and where the best place is to grab some lunch.  At the same time, you are trying to fit in with the office culture and complete your workload.

The first few months of any job are a learning process.  You learn what is really expected of you.  You figure out what to pay extra attention to and what corners you can cut.  By the time you hit your six-month anniversary, you have pretty much “figured” most of it out.

Now for the bad news

The second that you “figured” it all out is the same moment that your luck runs out.  You get comfortable and are pretty much, able to do your job with your eyes closed.  You know who is who in the office.  You know what time you and your co-workers come in and leave.  You are part of the corporate culture and you know who to ask to get those coffee sweeteners.  Your eyes are no longer wide open and you start missing out on opportunities because you stop looking for them.  You report to the same people every week and speak to the same few people every day.  You get your coffee from the same place every morning on the way into the office and you grab lunch at the same place every afternoon.  You are now on Auto-Pilot.

When you don’t know what to expect, you look for everything.  When you know what to expect, you put on your blinders and wait for whatever you were expecting to come into view. 

It takes on average 6 months in a new environment to learn enough to become comfortable.  Once you hit the comfort zone, you stop learning at the same pace and you miss all sorts of opportunities.  To keep learning, moving forward and noticing new opportunities, you need to change things up on a regular basis.  At least once every six months when the comfort sets in.  Temp workers have the advantage since they are constantly moving around and in the “learning” zone.  Temps move from one learning opportunity to another and therefore always keep their eyes wide open, leaving them open to new opportunities.


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Pic Credit: schizoform