Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New Starters - The Unofficial Guide

I've been a new starter a few times and over this period I've picked up a few observations.

No matter what company you work for the 'official' documentation and procedure never quite matches what you actually experience.

So for all you new starters, or HR reps, here's a slightly different look at a guide for new starters-


No matter where you go or what you do your first month is quiet. For a lot of the time you'll be twiddling your thumbs desperately trying to earn your wages.

This isn't your fault. It's simply that difficult period where you try to get up to speed. All you want to do is be self reliant and fill your day, what you actually do is pester people with questions that seem trivial at best.

You have two options-

1. Deal with the guilt and catch up on your emails.
2. Dive in, go it alone when perhaps you shouldn't, and make the odd mistake.

Either approach works, and by the end of the first month you'll know enough to fill your day. You'll find yourself wishing for that first quiet month again.


You read the job description, you loved it. You had the interview, bit different to the job description, but still good. You start work and you quickly become aware that maybe things aren't quite what you expected.

This maybe a surprise, but shouldn't be. It's all part of the fun of starting at a new place. Knuckle down, wash those dishes and make good tea, and one day you'll get that desk.


Should you login? You're sure every else does, but you don't know how stringent IT check weblogs. Like most people when you start at a new place you assume they monitor your every move. Quickly it becomes apparent that they don't.

Rule of thumb is keep it to lunch times, and don't take the piss.


You've established a complex web of online relationships with people you never speak to. You consider yourself a guru, and part of your work is to touch base with this myriad of connections to make sure you're up to speed.

However, in your new job this is not allowed. You start clucking within 20 minutes. As soon as you can create that tenuous link to social networks for your work role the sooner you'll have free reign. Just be careful what you post and like.


You like tea, your colleagues like tea, the only trouble is there are so many of them. This is a bite the bullet situation. Dive in early doors and do a massive round. It'll pay dividends.

You'll set yourself out as someone who likes tea and should be included in offers. Also the memory of the massive round will keep you in credit for your first couple of days.

Don't keep this up. Quickly develope a small 'tea union' of people who sit in your vicinity. Everyone else? Fuck 'em.


Men shit at work. If you hear of a women doing so, it's the first sign of the apocalypse.

So we know we're dealing exclusive with the chaps and despite many documents describing the various work shitters, there are broadly three-

1. Loud and Proud. He doesn't care who knows and will happily describe the experience to anyone. These chaps have it easiest in the long run because they are the quickest to be ignored.

2. The safety dropper. He doesn't mind going, but likes to do it under conditions that suit. He'll go at lunch times or at other times when footfall is at it's lowest.

3. The haven seeker. He will only brown out in safe comfortable conditions. This goes to the extent where he will seek out toilets off site if necessary.


Your start time is 9.00, your finish time is 17.30. However you'll quickly note that most people actually get to work at 8.30 and leave at 17.45.

You now have a choice to make, make a stand and arrive at the designated times, or step in line. One will result in secret whispers behind your back.


You get to your desk and there's an overly friendly chap. He's giving you advice, telling you the lay of the land, and generally being a bit to clingy.

You've made friends with the 'old' new guy.

There isn't one in every office, but essential it's a chap that hasn't quit fitted in, can't get an out, and now needs a power base. Be polite, but avoid if you can. He'll quickly start every conversation with 'they're a nice bunch, but'.


There are two types of ex memebers of staff who are still talked about. The chap that leaves under a cloud and is only spoken about with 'fuck' (or a common derivative) preceding or following his name.

The second is the hero who left because he had to. Everyone still sucks his metaphorical cock, and the chances are you are his lowly replacement. Forge your own path and try not to get retroactively angry.


Office are funny places to work. All have the own nuances with what is and isn't allowed to fly. You might have joined from an all male environment where casual sexism is acceptable. This may not be the case in the new place, so bide your time before starting jokes about washing up, ironing, or rag week.

Feel like writing something like this for the blog? You can do so here.


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