“Good first impressions are a lot less work than overcoming bad first impressions.”
Going in to your first week of a new job you need to have a plan. It makes you look more experienced and helps boost your confidence. Also you will build a good first impression. In addition establishing rapport early helps keep you from losing motivation.
Originally recorded as one episode the material was more than we could cover in a single episode so we broke the topic into two episodes. The first one focuses on seven things to do in your first week at a new job. The second gives seven things to avoid during your first week. The points in each part relate to one another with first a discussion of what to do then warnings of how it can go wrong.
16:14 Befriend the executive assistant, secretary, etc.
Try to befriend everyone you can at your new employer. Build good working relationships with the non-technical staff. Secretaries and administrative assistants have a view-from-above that you are only going to get from C-level executuves. However you can actually walk up and have a conversation with the administrative assistant. This is not offered in a patronizing senst but rather one that is mutually benefitial. You may be their go to person in IT and they can show you where supplies are kept and how to make the coffee.
20:13 Figure out your actual job expectations.
Find out from your boss what is expected of you. This will be different from what was presented in the interview. Learn what your co-workers expect as well. This will be different from you boss’s expectations. These include everything from the ambient noise in the work environment to expectations around breaks and lunches, etc.
23:03 Dress for success
“I would say at least be business casual.”
Even if you are told you can dress casually come in your first week in at least business casual. At some companies you may be told that it is acceptable to dress casual but the developers that do so are not taken seriously or are looked down upon. The programmers that are taken seriously all dress in khakis and a polo. If you go in and everyone is dressed casual and you are in business casual you create the impression that you are ready to start a new job. Also dressing nicely creates the appropriate mental expectations for starting a new position.
26:07 Find the gremlins in the codebase.
“If there are no gremlins, either there is absolutely no code, or you need to look harder.”
Quirks in the way people implement things tend to be an excellent way to understand the deeper thought processes going on within an application. The places where a company is not implementing best practices may indicate a lack of knowledge of the risk involved or they chose to ignore it for very specific reasons. Digging into the reasons can often give you insight into the coding process at the company.
33:15 Start feeling out the political undercurrents.
“This is sort of like bugs in the social code.”
Odds are good if you got a position either someone there wanted it, had someone in mind for it, or didn’t think it needed to be filled. There is also going to be someone who is greatly helped by the fact that you are now there. Find out who these people are so that you don’t commit a politicall faux pas. Try to go out to lunch with other people fairly regularly early on. Everything is easier if you mesh with the team.
38:12 Fix a problem.
“When you don’t do anything for a week you’ve still been drawing a paycheck.”
Fix something in the codebase in the first week. This will force you to get a working environment up and running. It will also set the tone that you get things done rather than leaching time from others.
40:21 Set up a routine.
Figure out what you are going to do first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening every day to make your day more effective and be ready to roll the next morning.
Raspberry Pi Photo Booth
Use a Raspberry Pi 3 to make a touchscreen photo booth that instantly uploads to Google Photos. Use the Raspberry Pi Quick Start Guide with the latest version of Raspbian Jessie. It has a great step by step that even Raspberry Pi newbies can follow.
- Raspberry Pi 3
- Housing with a stand
- Raspbian Jessie
- Touchselfie Scripts
- Google Photos
Tricks of the Trade
The first week is an exercise in begining with the end in mind. When you start a new job think about what would make you quit your job. Not to have a hair trigger on leaving but to set your boundries. What are you willing to put up with and not leave? Set personal boundries early and communicate personal expectations so you are not in a situation where you have to tell someone to stop or say no.