Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nine Recommendations for New Workers

Laszlo Block, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, posted comments on what employees should do when they start a new position.  He certainly has more credibility than I do, and that's okay, but my youngest started an intern position and I had to think about what advice to give him.

There are some basic rules when you work for someone in an office environment.

1. Be on time (or even a little early). I'll tell you from over thirty years of experience that a boss doesn't care if you stay until ten o'clock at night - but he cares if you show up five minutes after he/she tells you to be there.

2. Personal hygiene is important. Take a bath or a shower. Wash your hair. Brush your teeth. Please do not smell offensive to your coworkers.

3. Dress well, like a young professional. Some employees might be wearing t-shirts and sloppy jeans, but that doesn't need to be your attire. A three-piece suit and tie are no longer the norm (thank goodness) but a nice shirt and nice pants always look good. (Yeah, I don't have any personal advice for women - sorry.)

4. Be courteous. Leave the attitude at home, or just toss it out of your personality entirely. It isn't attractive. In meetings, be quiet and attentive and speak when asked to do so.

5. Nap at home. Do not take a nap at your desk - that includes lunch times. If you are that tired, you are not getting enough sleep - and you need to fix that while you are not at work. No boss likes to see an employee napping, especially a new hire.

6. Surf at home. Your work computer is for work. If you do not have enough to do, ask for more. Reading personal emails and doing Facebook updates can wait until you are on your own time.

7. Speaking of Facebook, be loyal to the company that is paying you. You might disagree with what they do or how they do it. You might be a genius and know better ways to accomplish something, but don't bash your employer on public media. It's disloyal - and it's rude. No bashing co-workers either.  Just don't post specifics about work at all.

8. Take notes. I know that sounds trite, but keep a daily log of what you're doing. Record key events and key people. Write technical notes for yourself - how to logon to that testing environment, or what those command lines were that gave you access to the team notebook.

9. Don't try to change the Corporate culture. If you stay with the company for years, then you might take a stab at doing things the better, faster way that only you perceive, but wait to do that.

(Captured from Top Small Companies)

Whether you are working for the summer or starting your first full-time position, remember that it takes a while to learn the basics of your workplace. Everyone was new once and they had the same problems you face now. Most coworkers will be happy to help you get past the rough spots. Don't give up. It's always hard at first, for everyone.

In the movie Harvey, the main character says "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be' - she always called me Elwood - 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

Employers are looking for energetic, courteous people who want to work hard. Be that person. In a few years, you can help some new employee. He or she will be just as baffled then as you are now.