Nothing stimulates conversation in the office like the impending début of a new co-worker. Well, okay; maybe the juicy bits about what led to the dismissal of their predecessor takes precedent. Still, the buzz about the office will create some energy.
People will wonder first of all who it is – guy or woman. Then it’ll be what they’ll bring to the team. Are they fresh out of university, a year or two away from retirement or somewhere in the middle? What kind of personality will the new person have and will they fit in or not? Are they going to add to the chemistry or shake things up. Whoever walks in the door on Monday morning will not just be new and different, they’ll represent the direction Management expects to move in. After all, if the person arriving is young and inexperienced, they might be wanting new blood, new ideas and fresh thinking. Conversely, bring in a staunch conservative thinker and the message is to stay the course.
A new co-worker in the workplace is interesting to most people but none more so than the employee who is destined to share their office or sit next to in the adjoining cubicle. I mean come on, the new employee will be looking around and taking their cues from the existing staff around them right?
Now unless you’ve been off on a 4 week vacation and you arrive to a, “Welcome aboard newbie!” banner in your work area, you can pretty much figure most employers are going to give you a heads up when the person is assigned to be your new mate. You might even get invited in for one of those informal chats. The chat? Come on, you know; the talk where you’re flattered a bit and then told that because of your experience and personality, you’re to take the newbie under your wing and spend some time with them making sure they fit in and get the low down on ways and practices.
So there you are Monday morning with a little more starch in your shirt, your desk a tad more organized than usual and you’ve made sure you brushed AND flossed with more attention before leaving home. You’re flattered perhaps that you’ve been selected to be the welcoming committee and Tour Guide. So why is it you feel nervous, a little more pressure, maybe even intimidated? You’re the one with the seniority here and you’re the one with the ideas; the go-to gal or guy.
Yep, you’ve got this unusual and unnatural tension rising from somewhere and it’s got nothing to do with the extra bran you consumed. Nope, this pressure is stemming from the unknown about to walk in and assert themselves into your space. Maybe they’ll know more than you about trends, technology or have better connections. Could be they have been brought in to shake things up, and who knows what implications that could hold for you.
Wait a minute; hold on here. Is this guesswork doing you any good? Nope, letting your imagination run wild with possibilities and projecting your fears onto some newcomer is hardly fair. They are likely stressed (in a good way it’s hoped) and intimidated by the thought of meeting all new people. In fact, they might be worried they’ll forget people’s names .7 seconds after hearing them and then look foolish going around saying, “And you are…? Sorry….” for the next week to everyone they think they should know.
You’ve got responsibility here; it’s your job to be the face of the organization, set the tone, introduce this newbie to the gang and get them settled in. The last thing you should be doing at this point – without even having met them yet – is planning on sabotaging their first days so they don’t get off to a good start. To do so might just backfire on you anyhow, and soon you could be made to feel pretty bad by your own co-workers who don’t share your suspicious nature.
Think back to when you started. What did you want and need to know? Okay so where do you put your belongings like overcoats, boots, a purse or wallet? Is there a key for your desk and if so, who has duplicates that work it? Where’s the washrooms and can you use company equipment for your personal use – such as wi-fi, downloading content from the web onto your computer or just checking out a YouTube video? Best to ask and not presume.
You’re going to be shaking their hand any moment; likely when you’re called down to the bosses office and introduced to your shadow. Shades of your teenage years come back to you as you recall the responsibility of having to show some distant cousin around and essentially made their guardian. Ha! That wasn’t such a great time now was it? This has to be better – doesn’t it?
There they are, seated across from the boss and they look approachable. They rise, shake your hand and flash a warm smile; you distrust them instinctively. No! Bad you! No! Give them a chance. Years from now you might be relying on this co-worker for help keeping your job! Why they could hold seasons tickets, be related to the CEO or have plans to treat you to lunch. Well they could!
New co-worker? Welcome them with sincerity and get to know them. It’ll work out.