How to Survive Being the New Person at Work – Businessweek
I can’t remember what I did last Tuesday. I went to work, probably interviewed some people, then wrote an article or something. The reason I can’t remember is that last Tuesday was a lot like the previous Tuesday and also the one before that. Not to mention all the Mondays and Wednesdays and Thursdays that muddle things up even more. Once you develop a routine, whether it’s a diet or a traffic commute or a job, it seems as if you’ll keep doing it forever. That’s probably why teenagers are always so angry—you’d slam doors and listen to loud music, too, if you thought high school was going to last forever.
But actually, our routines change much more frequently than we realize, especially those related to work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average baby boomer held 11 jobs between ages 18 and 46. Younger generations move around even more; today an 18-year-old will have had more than five jobs by age 24. Each new career switch introduces you to a new desk, a new set of responsibilities, and a whole host of new people you have to get along with. Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like high school. Maybe it really does last forever.
The first thing you have to do at your new job—and this applies to everyone, from the new boss to the summer intern—is learn people’s names. A former editor of mine once told me a story about meeting Bill Clinton back when he was governor of Arkansas and then running into him years later, after he’d become the president. I had no idea it was possible to “run into” a president, but I’m going to a backyard BBQ next weekend so maybe I’ll see George W. Bush. Clinton is so adept at networking that he not only recalled my editor’s name but also the name of his wife, how they first met, and what they both did for a living. I, on the other hand, worked for six months with someone I knew only as “the tiny woman with freckles.”
“You have to keep a list,” says manners expert Thomas P. Farley. “You’ll be meeting 50 or 60 people on your first day at work, and you can’t be expected to remember everyone. When you’re back at your desk, jot a few notes down.” You won’t need the list for very long, a few weeks at most, says Farley. But it will help you remember which of the three Davids is from California and whether the woman in marketing goes by Katherine or Kate.
Strange Random Office Quote:
Posted on July 29, 2012, in Article and tagged Bloomberg Businessweek, Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, George W. Bush, High school, Homer Simpson, President, Thursday, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States, Wednesday. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.