Some beginnings are wonderful. The start of a new relationship. The feeling of a move to a new home or apartment. The arrival of a new baby or pet. All awesome experiences. But these are not the type of new beginnings I’m talking about today.
Today it’s all about starting a new job. Not many of us relish this new beginning, myself included.
It’s hard being the one who doesn’t know anything, even trivial things like co-worker names and office routines. Never mind the big stuff pertaining to your job and proving yourself. As the new employee you have no history, no sense of the big picture or unstated power structure on that first day as you try not to get lost on the way back to your office from the bathroom.
That lack of knowledge singles you out, and make it only natural to feel awkward and uncertain. It can be hard to be the one asking questions all the time. Somehow it feels as if this is a sort of failing, even though being new, you can’t possibly know the answers. To learn you must ask questions, so try not to think of questioning as a show of what you don’t know but rather you’re willingness to learn.
The good news is that asking questions is fully expected from new employees. When I was working in the office I always had sympathy for the new person. It’s sort of like speaking in public, so many people are just happy it’s not them up there (being introduced) that they’re willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. For those who don’t, you almost always end up finding out they are known to the office and are just demonstrating their supreme lack of personality for you to see.
Think of it this way, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
As to my last “first day on the job”, it was March 1991 (do the math yourselves), probably before some of you were born. Certainly a long time since I was the new one, the one asking all the questions. I don’t remember the experience being all that comfortable, but I was young and wanted the job so I plunged ahead. Once I was settled, I didn’t move again for nearly ten years, and then it was to my home based writing business.
As I imagine my first day on this new job I’m looking at things differently. I’m valuing my own past work experience, skills and talents. I’m a hard worker and a person who wants to do the BEST job possible. I learn fast. I want this job and the opportunity. All these things will be there for me as I make my way through the potentially awkward training period.
At week’s end, I can honestly say it’s been the best starting a new job experience I’ve ever had. Technology makes the work and training accessible, the people are great, my supervisor is very much like me, the work is intriguing and it looks like there’s lots of it. It’s like my own personal slice of the pie. I like pie.
Either this company is different, or maybe it’s me. Perhaps a bit of both?