We’ve all been the new employee at some point in our lives. Because it’s a new environment and you’re meeting all these new people, there’re bound to be a few surprises, some changes and even ups and downs and that’s to be expected. I appreciate employers who make the effort to help new recruits settle in.
It’s always nice to be introduced to other staff just so people don’t turn up to your desk a few days later and ask who you are and what you’re doing there because formal introductions were done at the outset and your new colleagues at least know your first name.
I also like staff who take the time to make the new employees feel welcome, whether that’s through showing someone where the bathroom is or helping them figure out how the complicated photocopier works.
Because I appreciate all the help I have received over the years as the newest person on the job, I make it a point to help others whenever I can and so I have helped a couple of people with their assignments and even offered to buy others lunch on a few occasions because we‘re all familiar with that first month struggle. It’s hard enough to find transport before you get your hands on your first paycheck and if I am able to help, I’m happy to do it.
The downside is that some people misinterpret or take advantage of such gestures. One intern must have thought I was the lunch lady or something because every lunchtime, she would pop into our office and wouldn’t leave until I’d bought her lunch. I was okay with it the first few times but soon realized I had to say something or my lunch money would be gone in a couple of days.
I didn’t have the courage to ask the lady in question to buy her own food so I offered to split my lunch instead, hoping she would figure something out soon. She didn’t and in the end, I had no choice but to suspend my office delivery takeout and opted to go out instead.
To be honest, I was worried she would follow me wherever I was headed but thankfully, she didn’t. I would never have done that and I have in fact gone hungry in the past until such a time I could afford my own lunch because it’s just the polite thing to do! Then there are people who want to switch things around just days into the job! I remember one guy who proposed we change our seating plan and we ganged up on him.
I’m sorry but if you’re the new employee, you don’t get to choose the best seat in the office or who should give up their window seat for you. Only a few people get the executive treatment but for most of us, you have to work your way up and it may take a few months or even years before you get the prime seat or the fancy desk.
My approach is to always get to know people first, make more friends and avoid stepping on any toes until I know my way around the new place or at least until someone else is hired and I’m no longer the newest employee.