3 ways to settle in at your new job

Have you ever gone in to a new job and felt lost or uncomfortable? Felt out of the loop with all of your co-workers? There is always a period of time when starting a new job, that we have feelings of being uncomfortable or alienated and it happens to us all.

Having to assimilate and familiarise within a new work place is a necessary evil for every new employee but there are ways to help an employee achieve a sense of assimilation. Karen Myers and John Oetzel did a study in 2003 that proposed a model, that discusses the processes involved in socialisation.

To elaborate, Katherine Miller went on to clearly outline these processes in her book Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes and I have chosen to discuss what I view as the most effective three that are involved when learning to assimilate in a new workplace, these include:

  • Developing familiarity with others
  • Acculturating – Learning the culture of the organisation
  • Becoming involved in the organisation

Developing familiarity with others

Russell Korte developed a study of how relationship building is a primary component of socialization processes in organisations. Korte discusses how studies on socialisation highlight “a need for newcomers to learn to interact successfully with others in the organisation”. As most of us probably know, in the working

Creating familiarity in the office is a great tool for assimilation in a new workplace

world it is more likely than not that you are going to be surrounded by other employees that you have to interact with on a daily basis, which makes social interaction crucial as we begin to familiarise with our co-workers.

If you’re a new employee and don’t develop a strong familiarity with your co-workers it can harm any chances to gain experience or reduce any help you get from your colleagues. For example, if you don’t know how to use a specific set of software or the photocopier and you need to ask for help from a co-worker that you’ve never introduced yourself to or even acknowledged, then are they going to be a lot less likely to help you figure it out compared to a situation where you had familiarised yourself and gotten to know them.

Acculturating – learning the culture of the organisation

Each organisation has a different ‘culture’ a different way of dressing, a different manner of interacting, or even a different ethic towards work completion. For example, one office may be very laid-back in terms of dress but their interactions around the office may be kept to a minimum. Now compare that to an office with a strict dress policy, think full suit everyday, but office interactions may be encouraged to allow workers to bounce ideas back and forth or even to sit and create ideas and strategies.

The culture of a work place is a big influence on an employee and it is important to learn the culture of an organisation quickly. Learning the culture of a company relates to being able to develop a familiarity with others because being seen as someone who knows the culture and fits in will change the perceptions of others looking upon the new employee as just that, the new guy (or girl). The extreme differences in office cultures means that employees have to adapt to a lot of different things and quickly. The need to adapt to cultures relies heavily on adaptability and this is key in learning the culture of an organisation. This article from America’s Job Exchange discusses the importance of flexibility in the workplace and it’s benefits.

 Become involved in the organisation

Being involved in an organisation can show co-workers and upper-management that there is a willingness to engage in the company and a desire to excel and improve. Showing involvement is not only important as a new employee that’s trying to assimilate but it continues throughout working life to develop better performance from employees. Involvement in a company helps in the assimilation process through socialisation because it means the employee is willing to go out of their way to make themselves comfortable in the organisation and learn more about the company.

For example, if you are an employee that does not look to be involved in the company or be engaged, it can send a negative message about the employee to the rest of the company and having co-workers thinking negatively about you can be detrimental and links back to familiarising with others and in turn relates to acculturating.

Let’s sum it all up

Assimilation in to a new organization takes place through a variety of different socialization processes. There are many ways for a new employee to make the most out of their time in a new job and the three ways listed above are all a part of the bigger picture, which is the socialization process.

After what I have researched and discussed in this blog I know and hopefully you can take away a little insight in to the ways that can help you settle in to your new workplace. It is all about familiarising yourself to your surroundings to make yourself comfortable in them, adapting and understanding the culture of the organisation in order to do the right things and finally, once you’re comfortable, going and being involved in your organisation and showing an interest for your place of work.

Daena Bodie.

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An Introduction to Me

My Men’s Soccer Headshot

As written above in bold you’ll see that I’m Daena Bodie. I’m a Junior here at Longwood and I am studying Communication Studies, Public Relations and Organizational Communication. I am also a member of the Longwood University Men’s Soccer team and I aspire to play professional soccer one day.

I have an extremely diverse background that begins with my childhood and where I was born. The Bahamas is where I lived until I was nine before my family decided to relocate to the United Kingdom. After that, I found myself trying to pursue my dream of playing professional soccer, which has subsequently lead me here amongst the Longwood COMMunity.

Throughout my time here at Longwood, especially within the Communications Studies major and the Men’s Soccer team, I have developed a lot of skills that vary from being able to use design software, to report and interview people, to lead, to listen, and to work well in a group.

By taking a Media Design class last Spring I pushed my limits and developed a strong eye for what is used in design and what is effective in design, which would then enable me to use the necessary software to create appealing pieces.

While at Longwood, this design class isn’t the only class in which I have picked up important skills and knowledge. I have taken a multitude of communication classes that have all helped give me a deeper understanding of the communications process.

I took an Interpersonal Communications class over the summer that gave me a deeper look at how people communicate and what kind of verbal & nonverbal signs can be portrayed and understood. Last semester I also took and Applied Organizational Communications class that involved a lot of interaction with a local organization in order to help them meet and improve select goals. That class taught me a lot about Public Relations and how to work within an organization and the surrounding audiences.

I haven’t come across too many vital roles in my personal, academic, or professional life. Through soccer I have always been a solid team player and a great fit in group situations. Having been in a variety of different teams and around a lot of different cultures I have learnt to not only communicate well with others but also with other cultures.

After graduation I have no plans as far as academics go. I have always played soccer and always loved it so my main goal after graduation would be to pursue that dream of becoming a professional soccer player.

I have never really planned for anything but pursuing that dream. So, while I value the opportunity I have to get a degree my main goal is soccer. If that fails then I would love to stay involved in sports in some way, which is why I think this Organizational Communication class is going to be extremely helpful because it will open up options and views on what my other possibilities can be when trying to stay involved in soccer organizations or other sporting organizations.

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Your best Self.

We all have our daily morning routine where we might take a shower, brush our teeth, do our hair and then we look at ourselves in the mirror. We look at ourselves for what we are, or at least what we think we are. We all look at ourselves in our own light, every person in the world has an image of themselves when they look in that mirror. We all have these improvements or changes we want to make to ourselves, whether we want to admit it or not. Dove has that great video of how we feel we come across and appear to others, showing that we rarely ever see ourselves in the way others might whether it is on social networking sites or in real life.

The idea of our self concept in real life or in social networking is an important one. With social networking becoming such a major role in our lives it is becoming a factor in our self concept. Facebook has taken over a small portion of the world with 1.11 billion active monthly users since March 2013. It is used for communication for friends, family, and romantic relationships so it clearly plays an important part in our interpersonal relationships and how we see ourselves amongst others.

So who are we?

There is a lot that comes in to play when we look at our own self-concept. Julia Wood discusses in Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters how our self-concept is based on our view of ourselves through our interactions with others and the perspectives they have of us. We take these perspectives and they form this idea of who we are and how we see ourselves. For example, as we grow up our parents and others may directly define us as a very good athlete or as a very smart person and this begins to mold how we look at ourselves.

Are we too harsh on ourselves?

We all have a self concept and it is not only developed through direct definition from others but also the people who are important in our lives. In the book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounter Julia Wood talks about how the development and foundations of our own self concept come as a result of the affect of particular others, who are people that are important in our lives. How we interact with these particular others shape us, whether they are members of our family, friends or even romantic partners. They are important figures in our lives and we value their opinions and this affects our perspectives of ourselves.

The study Relationship between Self-Concept and Depressive Tendencies among Adolescents at Matriculation Level was conducted by Ayesha Khan, Aijaz Gujjar, Fatima Jaffrey, and Naeemullah Bajwa and their results showed that there was a link between a negative self-concept and high rates of depressive tendencies in the people studied.  They claim that “Adolescents with negative self-concepts are more likely to develop depressive tendencies such as depression and a disruptive behavior that affects not only their physical and mental health but also hamper their classroom or academic achievements.”

Now the media is a large influence on negative self concepts especially in adolescents of a college level and we shouldn’t be criticizing ourselves on a scale that compares us to celebrities, who lets face it, have some off days too anyway. It’s just that the media is such a large factor in the self-concept of individuals in today’s society and that can have some very negative effects on how we see ourselves. This happens as we assess ourselves in relation to others in order to form judgements of our own talents or qualities, which Julia Wood explains as self comparison . For example, have you ever looked at a movie star and thought “Wow, they are incredible. I wish I had their body.” Im sure you have maybe not for their body but maybe for their hair, or eyes or a quality of theirs that you admire. This is social comparison in the act, we look at one another and see how we match up in comparison and this is one of the factors that can lead to depressive tendencies because it can make us feel inferior against the likes of Ryan Gosling or Mila Kunis for example.

So what does that mean? It can’t all be the fault of the media..

And it isn’t, our self-concept doesn’t allow us to think “well that’s Ryan Gosling or Mila Kunis and they’re celebrities” we still try and compare ourself to see how we match up and it still knocks our self esteem if we feel we haven’t faired very well in that comparison. Which is what brings me to the next area in which our ‘self’ can be affected and lead to depressive tendencies, this time it involves relationships over social networking.

As mentioned before, self comparison and particular others have an influence on our self concept and when it comes to romantic relationships, Facebook can involve both. This mixture of social networking, self comparison, and particular others can have a negative affect on relationships. An article from the Huffington Post discusses how jealousy can creep in to a relationship over Facebook. In a romantic relationship online interactions can be harmful, for example if the ex of your current partner likes a picture or writes on their wall our minds can jump straight to the negative and wonder what is going on. Feeling under valued from our particular other over a ‘what if’ situation and a misunderstanding is bad for both sides. This jealousy and curiosity is something that is all too easy to take place over Facebook, and that isn’t the end of it.

Social Comparison within Social Networking.

Facebook comparisons can be negative.

An article by LiveScience discusses how social networking can hurt self-esteem and damage ones self-concept. A study of college students found that “time spent on Facebook is linked to depressive symptoms.” Which they also claim doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook leads to depression but it can definitely cause some symptoms to show.

The studies that LiveScience are discussing hint at how social comparison constantly takes place online and their research showed that “For people with lots of friends, the Facebook Newsfeed turns into a parade of good news about other people’s lives” and “all of this information can make them feel worse about their own achievements or lack thereof.” This is in comparison to people with fewer Facebook friends who were found less likely to think that their friends were showing off. Making social comparisons like this can be a very detrimental thing to how we view ourselves. It makes us think if we are doing as much in our life as so and so who is travelling the world and doing this or that? It can cause very negative thoughts about our own lives and what we are doing with it.

Ok, so how do we spot, stop, and prevent any damage?

To conclude, it is important to realize that there is no real way to stop how we view ourselves; we are always susceptible to spotting some form of flaw in our self-concept. The best thing to do is to think about our Emotional Intelligence, which, as Julia Wood says “is the ability to recognize feelings, to judge which feelings are appropriate in which situations, and to communicate those feelings effectively” for example if your brother called you fat, how do you react?

You have to be able to understand that feeling of being upset and teased, then deal with those emotions in a positive way to negate the feeling of upset and sadness. Maybe this means you understand that he is jealous you got to eat that candy or maybe you know that his comment was wrong because you workout a lot and really you aren’t fat at all.

However, it isn’t possible to always to control these emotions and feelings in this way and this is another way that adolescent depression can begin to develop. The NY Times has a very informative article about adolescent depression and it offers up ideas on the causes, symptoms, ways to diagnose, and to treat teens that may have depression. So, while we may not always be able to avoid connecting negative attributes to our self-concept we may be able to minimise them and help others through something like adolescent depression.

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Let’s get Acquainted

“Everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca. In other words, when we go through life we must be careful of leaving alone and attempt to gain valuable friendships along the way.

A lot of people in todays society of the social networking over haul have ‘friends’, the real question is whether or not we actually have friendships. We have websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr but how many people on these websites do we really have a true friendship with? Some of these social media platforms try to shift the way we socialise online, Google+ for example.

Who are our ‘friends’?

BBC News had an article a few years ago about Google+ and the way ” it requires users to arrange their contacts in different categories or ‘circles’.” This is interesting because when we really weigh up the lists of Friends and Acquaintances, where does it leave us?

Friends vs. Acquaintances:

What’s the difference between a friend and an acquaintance? Well, Julia T Wood discusses in her book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters the 6 stage model of how friendships develop from Bill Rawlins, these stages include:

  • Role Limited Interaction
  • Friendly Relations
  • Moving Toward Friendship
  • Nascent Friendship
  • Stabilized Friendship
  • Waning Friendship

Now, most of our ‘friends’ on sites like Facebook only really equate to the Role-Limited Interaction stage and the category that Google+ would call ‘Acquaintances”. On page 257 of her text Julia Wood describes people in the Role-Limited Interaction stage as a person we might know through a sports team or class but she also states that this stage can also be met through an encounter in a chat room or newsgroup as well as a friend of a friend on a social networking website. An example of Role-Limited Interaction would be friend requesting the friend of one of your close friends on Facebook. You would only indulge in a brief conversation that sticks to “standard social rules and roles” (Wood 257).

So when we look at people we may know that we can categorize in the Role-Limited Interaction stage how do we fair? We probably have a lot of people that fit this mold but if we look back again, how do we compare the amount of acquaintances we have to the amount of people we have on our Facebook or Twitter, that if we had to, we could categorize as ‘friends’ in real life not only on something like Google+.

Stabilized Friendships: 

Stabilized Friendships

To really view someone as a friend we have to cycle through the stages. After Role-Limited Interactions comes Friendly Relations, where we search for common ground with another for example asking about sports or hobbies. Next, we fulfill the stage Moving towards Friendship, where we begin to move beyond social roles for example asking a classmate you sit next to, to go see a movie with you. After that we reach the Nascent Friendship stage of the model where we just start to think of another as a friend and begin to work out rules for interacting, for example making plans to interact again or on a consistent basis.

After going through these stages we finally reach the stage of Stabilized Friendship with another where we see our fully developed friendships. This is the stage where you could truly categorize someone as a friend in person and not only on social networking sites. Stabilized Friendships are the friendships that are assumed by both people to be on-going (Wood 258). These stabilized friendships don’t usually occur until the two people have established a mutual trust.For example, I have a group of friends back home in England that I maybe only talk to every 2 or 3 months but we remain friends and it is just assumed that I will see them again and talk to them again.

Having said this not all relationships can remain stabilized and some continue to cycle through the stages and reach the Waning Friendship stage where friends begin to drift apart through factors such as a change in interests, family demands, careers or moving away (Wood 259). For example I have lost a lot of friends simply by moving to America for college because our interests began to differ, the time difference and distance made it more of a hassle to interact.

 

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Critical Info…

“You need to clean this aisle better.” “You need to serve people faster.” “You goof off with your co-workers too much.” These are all things I’ve heard from a boss at work so if you’re like me and have had or do have a job you can relate to how a boss has to keep their staff on task. The problem is, these comments can be damaging to the self esteem of workers if taken the wrong way.

Have you ever been told you were lazy or selfish or even that your assignment wasn’t good enough to get the grade you wanted? Of course you have, everyone has. Criticism comes from all angles and all people. I have been criticized plenty of times in my life and it is something that is more then likely to happen every day. A criticism can be a small criticism such as “you’re a messy person” or they could be larger criticisms from a boss like “your annual report was terrible, you have no focus and your writing is poor and lacks detail.”

Criticism can bring out the best in us

Criticism must be handled constructively:

When developing good personal relationships and indulging in them there are a lot of aspects that play a big part. Giving and accepting criticism, along with self-disclosure, commitment, trust, and relational dialectics is a small factor that adds to the many needed when satisfying good personal relationships.

There is a great article I found that further discusses the example of criticism used in the workplace from a bosses perspective. The article is by U.S. News and in the article it talks about the best ways to take any criticism in a work related environment. The writer Alison Green makes a few valid points within her article, those points being:

  • Really listen.
  • Don’t brush it off.
  • Don’t be defensive.
  • If you disagree, say it. But do it in the right tone.

You’ve got to have some give and take:

Criticism is a two way street, you have to not only be able to receive criticism but you also have to be able to give out well constructed criticism too. I came across another article, this time from AskMen.com that talks about giving out constructive criticism and the ways that are best to do so. The writer Ross Bonander suggests ways he feels are best, in order to give good constructive criticism (of which I have chosen a few):

  • Get your facts straight. Your criticisms are only as credible as their source.
  • Focus on what can be done, not what has been done. Refer to areas for improvement don’t dwell on inadequacies.
  • Empathize. Consider empathy, we’ve all been there before, consider the persons feelings

So.. we should all be critical?

In a way, yes. While criticism is great in order to sustain personal relationships it is important to think about the situation when giving and receiving it. Being able to criticize effectively is a skill that shouldn’t be over-looked if you can appropriately give out constructive criticism people are more likely to thank you rather then resent you and being able to listen and hear other peoples criticisms can give us a view to improving ourselves on something we may have never even thought about.

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Social Media and the Self.

As people, we need to grow. We develop and we feel the need to achieve a sense of self-actualization. This normally comes through interactions with others. We gain a sense of who we are through how we naturally act/react or how we choose to act/react within interactions with other people BUT social media is beginning to change how people achieve self actualization, if they even do.

Self actualization is being tampered with and a lot of it is happening through social media. The idea of self actualization is for us to reach the best us. Social media allows us to be seen at our best, or at least we think it is. We tend to change our personality or our appearance for an audience. This is what social media encourages. After all, if you’re putting yourself out to the world you want to be seen as a normal person that fits in with the norms. But social media can also have a big part to play in how we treat people as discussed in this article from the NY Daily News.

Is social media changing how we treat people? In the linked article from the NY Daily news it is discussed that treatment of people over social media is starting to ruin relationships in real life. This is another example of how through trying to achieve self actualization people begin to treat others incorrectly over social media. Trying to be cool and more important then others through social media is having affects on face to face relations, so the question is..

Is that really who WE are? Is that really our own identity, do we really reach self actualization in an honest manner, or are we playing up to what the people around us would consider the best version of us via social media, then shying away in person or not reflecting an online persona?

Where do you fit in?
(click to link to original image)

In the book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters author Julia Wood defines a persons self actualization as our human need to fully develop our unique talents, capacities, and potentialities. With social media and video gaming starting to become such a big part of our lives it is becoming more and more difficult to really achieve some of these talents.

A great example of how it is becoming harder to fully achieve some of these talents is the situation of public communication. One article discusses in depth how college students are being affected by the ability to use social media as a means of communication, which is making the students less willing to participate in class when they are infront of other people. Then, as shameful as it is to admit, there is the text talk and abbreviations that begin to creep in to the students school work.

Overall, it is becoming more and more apparent that social media is beginning to affect the real life social aspect of our lives. From the children who are playing online video games, to the teenagers who are still trying to find out who they really are, all the way to college students who are becoming so sheltered and inadequately prepared for face-to-face communication that they are starting to negatively affect their own learning.

The debate is huge, is social media really causing a problem amongst all generations of our society or is it simply still helping us to broaden our horizons and interests. Do we accept how it is shaping our lives or do we change our attitudes towards it to truly reach the self actualization that Maslow highlights in his Hierarchy of Needs.

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An Introduction To Me..

Representing Longwood Men’s Soccer.

Hello all!
My name is Daena Bodie, after this summer I will be going in to my Junior year as a Communications Studies major with a concentration in Public Relations and Organizationa Communication.

I was born in the Bahamas but lived my teenage years in England. I am a member of the Longwood Men’s Soccer team and have played Soccer my whole life and once represented the Nike Elite Academy for Soccer.
My academic interests are definitely all to do with my Communications classes, every one of them has been fun and interesting. My main professional interest is definitely Soccer first and foremost but I have a huge interest in my Comm Studies concentration and the job opportunities that it can present to me.

My expertise and experiences within Communication Studies classes includes a group blog called Tech Dudes and a basic personal website that offers some brief information on myself and some recent pieces of work.
There are more experiences for me outside of the classroom, on the soccer field. I am seen as a leader within my team and I play a role as an effective communicator amongst the other players. This is because I am able to relate to most people and target what needs to be done quickly and can relay that message in order to get the job done. 

I’ve experienced a lot of Interpersonal Communication within my time at Longwood. It applies to me in the classroom and on the field. I took a Communication Theory class and there was a lot of group work, which clearly involved a lot of discussion and this meant that it was important to be able to interact effectively with others. Working on group projects or even in a one on one situation has taught me that it’s important to think about how you and the other person or people communicate your ideas in order to be as effective as possible.
Interpersonal Communication is also important to me within soccer because as a team we have to be able to work well with each other and in order to get the best out of each other we need to be able to communicate well and understand what works well for each individual person.
After taking this class I hope to broaden my knowledge on interpersonal relationships and make myself a better communicator of my thoughts and ideas to others. To help me in general interactions, professional interactions and also interactions within soccer.

 

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