Let's Start With a Seemingly Mundane Question. How Can You Feel Comfortable In a New Company?

08 June 2022
By Vsevolod Klivak, Software Analyst
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You may experience a combination of feeling foreign and underserving in a new environment; you’ve left your “safe zone” and are doubting your abilities in your new role. In psychology, this is called imposter syndrome. While this reaction is not uncommon, how can you deal with these kinds of nagging thoughts? It’s a process in adaptation, really. I experienced the same process after joining the Playtech family more than a year ago. Now I would like to share some thoughts and advice that may help you adjust to your new environment.

Familiarise yourself with the environment

The first steps can be intimidating. From the start, it is vital to overcome shyness. Be sure to smile and say "hi". Be more open to new people and don't be afraid of them (they’re just people). Take an active part in conversations, both casual and work-related. For me, there were extra layers of complexity, because I was in a foreign country and on top of that I am an introvert. Despite all that, it is easier than it seems, no matter the "starting point".

Know your team

A crucial part of any job is to be a team player. To be part of the team, you need to know your duties; moreover, to be a good team player, you need to know with whom you are going to work. During the first weeks, understand not only your role and responsibilities, but aspirations as well.

There are plenty of different personalities in the world. Some of them are easier to understand or even be friends with. The goal, however, is not to meet a soulmate, but to create a long-term work relationship. Notwithstanding, having a nice team is true luck. Sorry for my bragging, but I am a part of one 😉 My team has weekly team calls and monthly one-on-one meetings. These kinds of meetings boost the "in-team" feel.

Worth mentioning are the small and big team events, including whole office events like summer days and Christmas/end of the year party. I highly recommended getting out there and having some fun; look at these events as opportunities to get to know people. Also do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you need.

IMS unit team event in 2022

Know your domain

Gambling is a complex and quite mature domain, already difficult for outsiders to grasp, which makes it challenging to get into from the get-go. Someone once asked a seasoned colleague about their domain knowledge. The answer was: " I don't know it perfectly even now, but at least I am not afraid of it".

I consumed many sources and had a lot of conversations before I stopped panicking every time some arcane terminology was named. To combat this panic, watch YouTube or read blogs to gather needed knowledge and familiarise yourself with the topic. Remember that with time comes the understanding and confidence in what you are doing.

When you start your task, a few components may seem wrong. Remember that if something doesn't work now, it doesn't mean that it will be that way forever. Try moving to the next task or simply go to a different room. This change of scenery may lead you to see the problem in a different way. Once when I got stuck in this position, I went to atrium, our office’s open space room. After a while, I managed to come up with the solution from a different angle.

Make your routine

For making something comfortable (or at least tolerable), it’s helpful to make a routine to understand the flow of projects and tasks. I remember the old military phrase: "Informed means prepared". Because of this I strongly advise getting to know surroundings and culture in a fast, but meaningful way. When I understood how different teams approach their grooming and what they do during the sprint, I begin to feel significantly more comfortable and confident in my estimations and decisions.

Try to structure your day. For instance, I use different "vitality approaches" to understand which projects I need to work on first and what can wait a bit. After I have implemented some techniques, everything starts to work like a watch, and I can manage to do more in less time.

Of course, you are free to create your own day’s structure, but allow me to briefly explain my own approach to the day (for inspiration). There are different projects with different priorities that I must analyse. Personally, my most productive and creative part of the day is morning, so I put tasks that require thinking and imagination there. In the second half of the day, I either revise what was done in the first half, or accomplish “less exciting” work, like giving accesses, or filling tables. Sometimes requests may arise during the day. In case of an emergency, I take care of that immediately, although if something is higher priority, I will table that emergency request for later that day.

Estimate your progress

At first, don't be amazed that your colleagues know so many details. It’s been said to "compare yourself today only to yourself yesterday". People are different, so what can be easy to grasp for someone, may take a bit more time for you.

Don't wait for someone to tell you that you are a true part of the team now. This feeling comes naturally after your successful tasks. If you would like to be more scientific, make a list of your successes, no matter how small. This tracks your progress to give you confidence in your knowledge and professionalism.

Before Playtech, I was in different fields across places, where I spent most of my professional career. Playtech was my first experience in a big company, which naturally made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. Additionally, it was mid-2020, which added another layer of complexity. Of course, as time passed, I became more competent in my tasks and confident in my knowledge.

Remember that despite knowing your environment, team, domain, routine and progress, difficult situations may (ok, probably) still arise. The thing is, your skills and experience won't let you feel so uncomfortable with them. I hope that you have learned a handy lesson today and good luck with your future endeavours!