How social should you be when starting a new position?

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How social should you be when starting a new position?

Postby James Tyler » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:51 am

I recently interviewed at a small company and it was for an RA role (B.S. level). When I interviewed with them, many of the employees mentioned that they are like a family and want someone who will fit in. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but since I’ve only worked at large companies in the past, I’m curious to know about how you should socialize at a small company.

I’m very introverted by nature. At my previous jobs (at large companies) I socialized with my coworkers and went out to lunch with them and made friends with them, but I was never interested in hanging out with them after work (like going for drinks) or hanging out with them on our days off (they hung out with each other sometimes on their days off). They frequently asked me to come along with them when they were going to a bar after work, but I always politely turned them down. I believe I made up for it because I frequently talked to my coworkers when everyone got together in the office, I went out to lunch with them and everyone liked me and I got to know almost everyone in our department.

This new company is small and, if I get hired, I want people there to like me, so how much socialization is a small company looking for? I don’t like to drink so I’d prefer not to go drinking with my coworkers, and I’d prefer to spend time by myself on my days off. I have no problem with talking with people when we’re at work and going out to lunch with them; it’s just that I don’t want to spend time with them after work or on my days off because of my introversion (and because I’m pretty exhausted after work).

What advice do you have for socializing at work when you get a new position, especially for a small company, in terms of what you should do in the starting and over time? Will my introverted nature and not spending time with my coworkers outside of work be a problem? What can I do to make up for my introversion?
James Tyler
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:48 pm

Re: How social should you be when starting a new position?

Postby P.C. » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:39 am

Do what you did before.
Be courteous, polite, professional, a good listener. Follow the written and unwritten rules. If opportunities to go to lunch feel comfortable go.
"The quieter you are, the more you will hear".

No one expects you to hang out drinking necessarily. If you go you can order coffee or soda. If they put pressure on you to drink (Blank) em!
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: How social should you be when starting a new position?

Postby D.X. » Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:01 am

Hi James,

I have been in small cross-functional teams in bigger companies and in very small companies. In general I've found even in big companies, you're still part of a smaller functional teams that represent your daily interactions. Bes ure you cultivate those relationships.

Like you I am an introvert, and as an introvert, I need to be attentive to being socially and professionally engaging, my KPI is that if others view at minimum as a introspective extrovert then I'm ok.

So how much social engagement? Use your best political judgement. Watch and learn. Being a 'family' does not often equate after hours socializing - I've found most of it is within work hours. Besure to make time for a coffee and by all means do join for lunch more often than none. The balance you can strike by watching. If there is a after-hours engagement, then again use your best judgement - I would not dismiss them all, but do 'show your face' from time to time. As for me, it's less often, so there is a joke that when I do show up, my boss will generally say "thanks for gracing us with your presence". or "look at him, he's actually tolerating us tonight" - which is fine by me. In other words, I found my comfort zone that is accepted by management and my team. You'll find yours. Just don't be completely anti-social, that will work against you in the longer-term.

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