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May 8, 2006

News & Opinion: For New Hires: Sink or Swim Week 1

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 3:26 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Each week of Sink or Swim has a different theme. The theme for the first week is Case The Joint.
Its week one and it may feel like you are observing alien life on planet Zargon. Welcome aboard! As a new employee your mission is to get oriented as quickly as possible to your new environment. This includes seeking out and making sure you have the basic tools to do your job. While this may sound obvious, if you dont take the initiative you might find yourself wasting time waiting for things to magically appear.
In addition you will need to focus your attention on the following:
  • Establish your routine: In the name of time management you will want to make sure that you have predictability in getting to and from work.

  • Gather information regarding your job and company: You got the job now its time to find out what you got yourself into.

  • Familiarize yourself with your co-workers and team processes: Take the initiative to say hello and career stunting blunders by asking questions and observing co-worker interactions.

  • Observe the culture of your organization: Its not just in a Petri dish; every organization has a unique culture and to thrive you will need to decipher your surroundings.

Fresh Baked Cookies
Youd be amazed how often people feel unappreciated on their first day on the job. How hard is it for your new boss to make sure you have the right equipment set up or even just pop their head into your cubicle to say hello? Wouldnt it be nice if everyone in your new company/manager was organized and you were welcomed with fresh baked cookies and a card? If youve had this experience, you are one of the lucky few. For the rest of us, this isnt likely the case, so you need to take the initiative to gather what you need to start working and begin to meet and greet your co-workers. Open your eyes and soak it all in. Its time to poke around do some exploring, observing, and information gathering.
If youre a manager of the newly hired, go the extra inch and schedule lunch with your new employee on their first day on the job. We recently heard a not so funny story of a mid-level manger that started a new position at a Fortune 50 company. She flew in from out of state to meet her new team. Her new boss who was also in the same location, made no attempt to meet with her new direct report or provide introductions to the team. Talk about warm and fuzzy first days.
Do you have a great, funny, or scary story about your first week on the job?
[If you missed the introduction to Sink or Swim, check it out here]

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.