Starting a new job is tricky. There’s all kinds of nuances that you need to navigate and office politics you should probably come to understand. Before you decide you’re one of the sheeple, it’s always good to spend some time feeling out your new co-workers. It’s important you do this before you spout off about your borderline racist family and your budding drinking problem.
Here’s an example of the wrong direction to take:
My co-workers and I were doing some assembly line work in the conference room a week ago. I got onto the topic of circumcision cause… what the fuck else would you talk to your coworkers about. Truthfully, it came about because my 7-year-old little brother is getting circumcised and my profoundly disturbed mother told him to tell the surgeon:
“Just a little off the top, please.”
And I figured it’d be a good laugh to share with the group. The very, very conservative group.
Somehow the conversation grew legs and ingested steroids and morphed into a question of morality and medical necessity. To which it ended with me screaming at my coworker that they were extremely uneducated and that she ought to get back to me with some proper sources that align with her biased view. I have this deep inability to keep a cool head and argue effectively. Which is why I’ve adopted this totally healthy mechanism of shutting down until the moment has passed. My boyfriend loves it.
Do you want to make sure you’re liked by your coworkers? Do you want to last longer than a week? Here are some suggestions of things that you should probably not to do in an office while you’re still new.
1. Tell your coworkers what you’re really doing with your time. We all know you sit there with your hands on your keyboard, a super contemplative look on your face. But you and I both know you’re not doin’ shit. After the three-month period you’ve bonded enough with your coworkers, right? Wrong. Let me tell you why you’re wrong, Sandra. You’ve probably shared a few laughs over your dork boss. You may have even extended the bonding to outside work hours, but I promise you, you’re still the new kid in town and they’re still judging every single thing you do. So no, don’t tell them that you just spent two and a half hours completing an online jigsaw puzzle or that you’re cracking into the writing industry by doing mediocre reviews of soft core porn.
2. Discuss any divisive/uncomfortable topics. There are always going to be topics that should probably be off-limits. You can use the bar rule as a guideline. No politics, no religion. However, in an office, it usually extends past that. Topics can include but aren’t limited to: any of your coworkers sex lives, your overly liberal agenda, climate change, any of your shitty vices (this includes any self-deprecation), your alternative lifestyle, the Syrian refugee crisis, mental health, euthanasia, abortion or menstruation. Actually, just stay far away from anything to do with genitals. Yours or theirs. This will put a wedge between you and the rest of your coworkers because you have that inability to keep a cool head, like we discussed earlier. It will also alert them to the fact that you’re the weird person whose strong opinions can’t stay inside your head. And, as we all know, nothing will push you out of a job faster than your pissed of, angry coworkers.
3. Misunderstand personal space. Imagine a 4 foot bubble around every person in your office. People don’t like to be touched, especially by the new, overly familiar employee. This includes staying away from: the highly invasive waist style, lets-start-a-sisterhood hug, picking lint and stray threads off of limbs and overly ambitious high fives. (To name a few.)
4. Shit talk other coworkers. You don’t know where the allegiances lay just yet, and you certainly haven’t built any yet. Don’t get hasty. Take some time understanding the relationships that exist in your new prison and this will help you to keep that enormous foot out of your even bigger mouth.
5. Picking up on and adopting other employees bad habits. They’ve been here for 10 years, over worked and under paid. Sandra got an embossed pen as a thank you for her 15th year working here. They’ve earned the right to slack off when they know they can. You however, have not even remotely paid your dues. This means not calling in sick the first Monday you start. Even if you’re spewing out of both ends, no one, and I mean NO ONE will believe you.
The more time you put in, the more you’ll come to be a part of the little incestuous family that you are around everyday. And then when you are no longer the most junior employee, you can look on and sneer when they hire the new kid.