Upon my return to “Cubeland,” I am amazed at how quickly I fell back into the routine. It’s amazing how, no matter where I work, the phone is always on the left, I put my stapler in the exact same spot, and I got right back into buying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the candy jar that has been on the corner of my desk at every job for the past 20+ years.
Sure there are challenges. When you enter a new job, there is always a ton of stuff to learn. You need to learn the company’s business strategy, culture and how it “speaks.” You need to get to know your new colleagues, who may be incredibly welcoming and who may see you as a threat. It can make your head swim!
But you also need to learn the simple, stupid, but important things. Where are the bathrooms? Which of the 20,000 passwords and user names do I use to log on to my laptop? Where are the damn pencils??
But even with all the differences and new information to process, it stunned me how much is really the same. While the people are different, you always have the crusty long-time employee, who is willing to help but will also share their views of everything the company does – right and wrong – mostly wrong. You always meet the employee that is just SO EXCITED about EVERYTHING! Then there is the super quiet employee who will help if asked but is also happy to do his or her job without any social interaction and go home at 5pm. And in my experience, all of these personalities are key to the team functioning the way it needs to. (And I think I’ve been every one of these folks at one time or another in my career.)
It takes a good four to six months to get semi-comfortable in a new job…a year to really feel like, “Yup, I got this.” I remind myself of this every time I feel like an idiot because I have no idea how to find the copier paper. But I do always find it, because I am just OCD enough to not be able to leave the machine empty of paper. I don’t want to be THAT guy.
Reflecting on it all after the first two weeks, I feel pretty ok about where I’m at so far. It’s a long way to comfort, but I’m one week closer. And I know where the copier paper is now, and I have Peanut Butter Cups in the jar on my desk. It’s a great way to make friends and make sure that people visit me. After all, old habits do die hard.