Journey into Bynder: 5 ways to cope with a new life abroad
It’s both exhilarating and worrisome to join a fresh Product Design team, to say the least. This is an opportunity where you could potentially recreate yourself all the while learning new things, and bringing a fresh perspective to new challenges. On the other hand, you are venturing into unknown territory with new expectations, maybe even asking yourself — “Am I good enough? Are my ideas good enough? Or, where do I even sit?
Let me rewind a bit. I recently moved to Rotterdam to join Bynder as a product designer in the design team all the way from Italy. Not only did I switch jobs, but I also switched sectors, countries, and cultures. Having been originally from India as a software engineer, this wasn’t my first rodeo when it came to changing careers or nations. Nevertheless, it’s always a challenge doing so, especially in a country where you essentially have no prior connections and start afresh as a professional.
Hi. I’m Neerh — as in Near, and I joined Bynder recently.
Feels like I’ve said this sentence a billion times these past weeks while trying to remember the other person’s name, team, and what they do. It’s been fun and challenging to process; a lot of new information coming in, understanding the value of the design team to the organization, learning new tools to figure out the right workflow, and ensuring consistency across our teams.
Feels overwhelming, right? Especially the first couple of weeks trying to be careful so as to not make any mistakes or be in the limelight for the wrong reasons. Well, I have been lucky enough to get myself familiar with the company and my colleagues due to Bynder’s amazing onboarding process fairly easily.
I am writing to share my experiences with anyone who is in a similar position since there’s a lot of conversation about joining new teams, but not nearly as much about migrating to a new location for a new job.
I have compiled a list of “To-Do’s” in order to make this transition easier :
1. Meet your peeps
It is natural to feel lost in the first couple of weeks when it comes to work and in all honesty, no one expects you to swoop in and save the company on the first day. But… do you know what people do expect? To understand what it will be like working with you. Make sure it’s fun, interesting, and comfortable for your colleagues. Your first task at any organization should be to build rapport. I mean, you’re essentially going to be working together for 1/3rd of your week’s time, so make an effort to know what your colleagues are like, what they are working on, and how they would like communication and collaboration to be between one another. Trust me, not only does this give you a better understanding of the product or service your company offers but it also makes the process of digesting information much more gradual and fun.
2. Understanding context
Ask questions. I repeat, ask questions. Now repeat after me: “I will reach out and ask questions”.
You know the fear of not making mistakes and feeling out of place when you’re new and you have no idea what your colleagues are discussing. The only way to get over that is to ask questions. Bynder has a culture of people being curious and, again, asking questions. We help each other out and I have learned that the more you ask, the more you know. Duh! Right? It is genuinely that simple but we as humans get in our own way feeling inadequate or not confident enough to ask questions which limits growth. I suggest asking your colleagues about the new city you are in and about its culture. Not everything has to be work! Again you build rapport this way and feel much more comfortable about the new context you are in.
3. Setting Milestones
Sit down with your manager and set clear expectations. Understand what is possible and take it step by step. Together with your manager try understanding the team’s challenges and tackling smaller tasks at the beginning to build up confidence. Eventually, you can take on more responsibility and flex your design muscles. Set goals that are achievable not only work-wise but go beyond and understand how the tasks you have at work can also help you grow professionally and personally. Take on challenges that will help you grow as a designer. Just be mindful of not taking on a heavy load straight away but try to find the right balance between challenging and fun. They hired you for a reason right? So make the most out of it.
4.Relax and give yourself time
Even Batman sleeps during the day. Relax and be kind to yourself and treat yourself as someone you are responsible for. Even if you don’t switch countries, changing employment requires a lot of energy. You’re probably going to a new office, a new commute, a new team, a new industry, a new process… Not only are you trying to make sense of your job but also your life in a new city. Bynder is amazing at helping you out with their “Buddy program” where you essentially have a person (a buddy) assigned to you in order to get you started and answer any doubts you might have. You are not bothering anyone by asking for help. Being open/talking about difficulties helps set expectations right.
The good news is that I’ve come a long way (quite literally) from where I was a few months ago. I’m gradually learning to relax, become more at ease at work, and settle in to this new, lovely location I get to call home. It helps when you have amazing colleagues like mine 🙂
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