Seven Don’ts Your First Week

Soulbound by Bethany Adams available on Amazon

“You want to set realistic expectations for your future work.”

The second half of starting a new development job talks about what not to do during your first week of a new job. You want to come in and make a good first impression. These are seven things that will hinder building a good first impression.

The episode begins with BJ giving a rundown of his first week on the job. Day one was mostly setup and some rubber ducking to help solve a problem. Day two BJ got into the code and spent most of the day going through what had already been written and understanding the coding standards. Day three BJ made his first commit. Finally on day four he had enough information to create a tentative daily schedule.

One thing that came up during his first week was not taking credit for work that isn’t yours or not completely yours. First you do not want to set unrealistic expectations for future work. Next is trust and teamwork. Taking credit for another person’s work is basically lying. Take credit where it is due and give credit where it is due.

Episode Breakdown

14:00 Don’t Engage in Gossip

“When the fox hears the rabbit scream he comes a-runnin’, but not to help” ~ Thomas Harris

During your first week of a job people that imagine themselves as social engineers will try to get you on their side. Consider that if they are willint to throw long-time coworkers under the bus for someone they just met, it’s unlikely they are going to be good for you either.

18:06 Don’t Leave Early or Arrive Late

You might be able to slack off in terms of hours once you age getting good, effective results. In the first week you are judged by how much time you put in. Leaving early or arriving late also gives opportunity for gossip about you and it won’t be positive. Unless you are eating with management watch the length of your lunch breaks.

21:46 Don’t Express Loud Opinions About Coding Minutiae

“You never know when you may be interacting with your next mentor”

It is all too easy to come across as not getting along with the team and it does not help especially over small things that make no difference. It is easy to misspeak infront of someone that may be your next mentor. A better way to get buy-in is to have someone review something you build early. Act, don’t tell.

25:19 Don’t Critique the Code

The person that wrote the code may still be working there, sometimes that person is your manager. Often the code was written that way for a reason and the business has changed. Early critiques come across as arrogant. It is better to ask questions about code structure with the goal of understanding.

30:20 Don’t Engage in Political Powerplays

“Think Columbo, not Sherlock”

If you think an organization needs major changes and you weren’t specifically brought in to make it happen why did you join? You don’t know the lay of the land or have enough background to predict anything. This also means not asking about underlying structural problems based on gossip. You can find out more about what you need to know by not pretending you already know.

33:05 Don’t Try to Take On a Big Problem

The first bug you fix should be limited in scope. You want to make sure your workflow works and that your base system is set up properly. Your motivation and skill won’t be judged based on the difficulty of your first problem but on how quickly you can deliver. Big problems can also lead you into political interactions where you have no leverage.

36:34 Don’t Be Messy

Showing early signs of disorganization does not inspire confidence. There is no reason for your desk to be a mess during your first week unless it is from some externally imposed constraint. Take time to settle in.

IoTease: Product

Smart LED Glasses

CHEMION a Korean company produces these creative sunglasses that have LED strips in the front and a bluetooth connection to your phone. Not only are you able to display messages with fun gif like flashing features but you can create your own via a downloaded app (iOS and Android). The glasses look similar to the bulky sunglasses I used to have for fit around my normal glasses before I got contacts. The display is transparent so you can still see while wearing them. This is a great little IoT product for ball games, parties, or concerts. For $70 it would make a fun gift.

Hardware

  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio In/Out
  • Batteries (2 AAA)

Software

  • Andriod KitKat/iOS7
  • Lightning Controls App

Tricks of the Trade

Find out what the actual coding standards are where you work. Most organizations will not have formal documentation on this and most formal documentations do not match the code. You need to quickly be able to write code that matches the other code that is already there. This is also a place you can quickly provide value if the codebase is bad, but tread carefully. You can write down code standards for your own use. Keep it for later to help out new hires.

Editor’s Notes:

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