If you ask me, getting a new job is both exciting and terrifying. Putting the obvious reasons about performing, you will undoubtedly feel terrified about blending in with your new colleagues. Depending on the size of the company, the culture is massively different. Small companies tend to quickly take the newcomers in with their lunch or dinner together. Frequent rounds of bubble tea or afternoon snacks seem to do the trick. You only need to constantly tag along to all of these gatherings, taking part in all conversations (despite not understanding much of the underlying meanings or tone) then you will be fine. It is scary to just chime in where appropriate. People will laugh or be curious about your contribution to the conversation. But it will help break the ice and you will feel more involved in the group.
So I applied this with my new job where the company is at a much bigger size with at least 10 – 20 people in each department. It does not go well so far. It has been a costly feat with buying people food and drink but you still do not get in. There are so many underlying coldness around when people just smile say thank you and be done with it. I feel so left out. I have read somewhere that work place happiness steams from having a sense of belonging. It makes me terrified that if I do not get along, I would be miserable at work. I also question my ability to assimilate to a new group which has been rather naturally for me. Have I become rusty? Have I been wrong the whole time?
With the frustration of not being able to “be in the inner circle” after 3 months, I have decided to take a look back and access the situation. While it is clear that I am struggling to blend in with the local Vietnamese, I am in a comfortable place with all my foreigners boss in the company. It dawns on me that my method works. But it only does so with foreigners or more foreign-oriented colleagues. My new colleagues are very much Vietnamese so their sense of community is different. Many of them have never been living abroad. Most have been married with kids. Their world’s views are different. Their priorities are different.
It is now apparent that a late 20-something who is single, been living a broad and at position many would consider that she is too young to be in, will not find it easy to blend in. My vocabulary of babies, diapers and Vietnamese celebrities are too limited in order to provide even a dumb comment in any of their conversation. It’s time to take it slow and learn the way around. Additionally, 3 months seem like a too short a time for me to exert pressure on myself. Everything will hopefully fall onto its place