What to do when you're new on the job

May 25, 2011: 1:57 PM ET

Whether you're a recent college grad or an industry vet, acclimating to new work surroundings is no easy feat. Here are a few survival tips.

By Stephenie Overman, contributor

FORTUNE -- It's never easy being the new guy. Whether you're heading into your first job out of school or your 15th, the first days at a new gig are rarely easy ones. New coworkers, a new office, and a brand new work culture all lend to the feeling that you are a stranger in an even stranger land. What's the best way to cope?

TD Bank employees

New on the job.

"Go to the cafeteria, the break room and ask people to tell you stories," says Todd Hudson, founder of Maverick Institute, Portland Ore., which published the handbook, "My Personal Onboarding Plan: The New Hire's Guide to On-the-Job Success."

From what these seasoned employees tell you, you'll learn who the key players are at your new office and "about extraordinary efforts, about creativity, about people protecting their customers. Your new coworkers' tales will tell you how you should act in those situations. If you hear all negative stories, it tells you one thing. If you hear positive things, that tells you something else," Hudson says.

People love to tell these stories, he adds. "They will tell you what made the biggest impression on them, what got their juices going." More

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