Workers relate their biggest struggles in first days on the job
A new year brings new experiences and responsibilities. And for many immigrants, this may include a different career, one that will give them the resources they need to send money overseas.
However, a new job is not without its challenges. It may take several weeks or months before a worker is able to get a full understanding of what's expected of them, not to mention the time it takes to feel comfortable in his or her new environment.
With this in mind, staffing service firm Accountemps recently conducted a poll, asking workers in various professions what their biggest challenges were heading into their new position. Their answers may sound familiar, perhaps helping immigrants to understand that their uneasiness about their new job is normal.
Accountemps asked approximately 300 working adults who had a job in an office environment about what they considered to be their biggest struggle when they first started at their company. For nearly half of all respondents, the most significant challenge was learning all the new processes and procedures.
This may come as not altogether surprising for immigrants, many of whom likely had some culture shock when they first came to the U.S.
The second-biggest struggle workers had in their first days at their workplace was getting to know others. Approximately one-quarter of respondents said they found it difficult getting acquainted with their colleagues and supervisors.
Other common challenges new employees had, according to the poll, was fitting into the corporate culture and learning how to use the new technology and tools at their disposal.
Kathryn Bolt, president of Accountemps, noted that many companies understand that the first days on the job can be difficult. As such, business owners often make various programs available to newcomers.
"Many organisations offer training and orientation programs for employees to get up to speed on formal procedures," said Bolt.
One friend in the office can make all the difference
She added, however, that these training programs often don't address some of the "cultural norms" of the office. Thus, it's in newcomers' best interest to try to be observant of their colleagues' interactions one with another and what the overall climate is like in terms of personal relationships. If possible, new employees may want to reach out to someone in the office who can serve as a role model. Asking them about what's expected in the office can help them better perform their job function. They may also want to ask about their co-workers to see if they can in any way be of assistance to them. Service is often a great way in which to form friendships.
While everyone has to endure new – and, often times, uncomfortable – experiences, immigrants are particularly familiar with them. A few years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report, titled "Living in America: Challenges Facing New Immigrants and Refugees."
Including adjusting to life without one's loved ones close by, as well as the different mores of the U.S. versus where they used to live, the biggest struggle for immigrants tend to be job-related.
"While appreciative of that first job when they arrive in the country – they say they are willing to take anything in order to start earning an income – the real problem is moving into a better paying job with more responsibility after they have been in the country a while," the report says.
Human resource experts say that significant barriers for many immigrants to obtaining a new position are not being able to speak English very well or having a limited educational background.