So you want to be a superhero

27 02 2009

How to face your new job part II

Allrighty then, your first X weeks at your new surroundings –be them work, country, family, etc- have come and gone. You have somehow managed to walk thru the valley of anguish and now you proudly display your war marks –hey, they were hard to get in the first place-.

Now that you know there are others that can either help you cope with mammoth quantities of new information and eventual frustration; or that there are even some generous individuals who will take your hand in theirs and walk you by the obstacles while at the same time you learn how to do it, you can almost smell comfort in the air. Having lost the primal fear, due to your childhood’s weekends full with super hero cartoons you begin to think of your coworkers as poor souls in desperate need: naïve beings that have done things ignorant of better ways. Rolling up your sleeves you let your mighty body fall point blank into the chaos….

You fool! Stop before you get yourself into trouble and make your still weak office ties crumble because of your heroism. Grab a seat and listen. Show of hands: how many of you have first pitied and then hated someone who while be new to a job has being heard saying things like “this is not how we did things at XX, let me show you better…”? Get my point?

Chances are you are currently on an established business, hence your need to change its wrong ways around, how then, if most of the choices made by its employees were wrong or badly executed, has it managed to survive all this years? If it is an established business most of its choices must have been the correct ones and even though superficially they must seem the wrong ones, with time and hands on experience you will learn to see the context that drove the organization to do things the way it did.

Its not easy to  be a superhero by Esparta

It's not easy to be a superhero by Esparta

Sure, there most be some that are wide of the mark, others where there is a chance of improvement and even some with which the company might be better off. But won’t it be better if you first let your ego at the front door and with humility dive into the context of your new company? You have a choice here: either brawl and step over everyone’s toes and eventually produce little improvement if any, loosing any chance of empathy, rapport and bonding on the way; or, you could just step into your coworkers shoes, deeply understand the context behind the decisions that were done which might have an impact on your responsibilities and then understand what part of your previous experience and skills might help everyone better things around and what things are what the context provided them to be.

It is a matter of balance: first give others the chances of showing you where they come from, where they are and where they heading; and then, step in and pitch how your previous experience and skills could help everyone arrive to the intended destination with less effort and better earnings.

I’ve learned this the hard way on a previous job, and it took me almost 3 years to rebuild my bonds and get an opportunity to help.