I have been incredibly lucky over the course of my career to work with amazing people and made many friends on my journey. I have also, on occasion, rubbed people up the wrong way and witnessed others do the same, especially as a newcomer.  I thought I would share an anecdote to help put you on the right path at your new place of work.

It was an icy winters day when Ken walked into our lives as the new Study Skills advisor and for Ken it was only going to get colder. Not because he was a bad bloke in-fact he was a helpful, friendly and generous man who was super-eager to get to know us, his new colleagues.

Ken being the ‘on to it’ bloke he was had ascertained that our staff kitchen and lounge was the place to be on Monday to ingratiate himself to our tight-knit but friendly group of colleagues…… and he brought cake. Can’t go wrong with cake!

To us the kitchen and staff lounge was a little piece of paradise, an escape, freedom from chaos, it was a 6th floor view of the ocean and where we all gathered to laugh and catch up on a Monday to have a giggle and discuss our weekly survival strategies.

Any way as it turns out cake is pointless if it’s preceded by heating your sardines up in the microwave. Our paradise smelled bad. It smelled in a make you nauseous way and Ken had made our Garden of Eden unusable for the next 3 days. Despite this lack of judgement, we eventually came to love Ken but 8 years on he still eats alone in his office.

A few other first week tips that could be handy:

  • Sally’s cup, the one with the big flowers… is not communal, never use it and especially never leave it in your office for days on end if you value life
  • The fridge is not for food science experiments
  • Tina is the customer service manager not the dishwasher
  • Bill, the caretaker will sit on you if you are in his chair
  • Calling her, and introducing her as Jenny when her name is Wendy may cause quiet sniggers and awkwardness
  • Find out who the man is that waltzed into your office and sat on your desk introducing himself as John before referring to him as that ‘weird guy’, he could be the CEO ……. he was the CEO

The point is, bonding with your new colleagues and being accepted as part of the team has a lot to do with ‘other awareness’.  As a newcomer it can make for a much smoother ride if you find out the unspoken rules, show courtesy, ask questions listen and don’t presume.

This article was written by Harvest Career Specialist, Tanya Derrett-Houghton. Tanya has over 13 years experience in helping people understand and define their next steps. Through Harvest, Tanya delivers a range of careers and transition solutions aimed at helping people plan for the future or transition through significant professional change.

Considering a career change? Call Harvest HQ on 1300 363 128 to discuss how our Career Coaching services can set you on your way.


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