Saturday, 6 April 2013

Did you move someone's cheese? How to cope on your first day in a new job.

We've all heard of the book "Who Moved My Cheese?"  I haven't read it so can't comment except to say I understand it is about coping with change.  Now, I am all for self-help books and have used a few myself (still do, in fact) to get another perspective on things that are bothering me.  We all need a little help from time to time.  The important thing is to select the bits that are of use to you.  When you're in a store you don't buy everything in sight, you choose what you need at that particular time. And that's the way to go for all of this self-help stuff.

Dealing with change can be difficult or it can be a challenge, depending what the change actually is.  I always found starting a new job both challenging and stressful.  But I did learn that in any office the two most important locations are the coffee machine and the photocopier.  At some point in the day you are going to want one of them - okay so you don't drink coffee but the coffee machine will be located in the kitchen or at least somewhere with easy access to water.  That's where you are bound to meet up with someone and have a little chat.  First steps in making friends.  The photocopier is no less effective because even in these digital, everything online days, it is always necessary to make a few copies of some document or other.  Once you've located the copier you can ask for help if you have to do anything exotic with the documents (don't get ahead of me on this!)  or you can ask where the paper is kept so you can replenish the paper tray.  This last manoeuvre will probably get you the office Peace Prize and will help you top the popularity poll because so few people bother to do it.

And to remain popular stay away from other people's cheese, even if it's a month old and greenish round the edges.  In other words, don't try to reform the bad habits of the others on your first day at work.  I have seen people do this and be forever branded as "know-it-all" types even though they were actually quite humble people who just hadn't got the knack of interacting with others.When you've proved your worth after a month or so you can bellyache about colleagues who take the last cup of coffee and don't make a fresh pot.  And you can hint that maybe that bit of mouldy cheese at the back of the fridge could be thrown away.

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