Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Therapy: The Letter I Would Like to Hand My Coworker

This is a different kind of Thursday Therapy post, but trust me writing it was most therapeutic.

Dear New Coworker,

Welcome to our company. You’ve been here less than ten days now, and it is amazing just how much you know already. I am truly amazed at your ability to pinpoint errors and flaws in everything we do. It is truly impressive. I am sure the company will be so much better for having you here.

I’d just like to offer a few pointers to you to help you navigate around here. Although I can see just how truly marvelous you are, some people around here are a little touchier than I so I think the following points may help you:
  • Some of the people here like to think that due to our high ratings within our industry that we already do a few things well.
  • Some of the people here understand some of the history of the company better than you do, and they would probably appreciate if you would listen to them explain things rather than interrupt to tell them how wrong they are.
  • Some of the people here get touchy when you refuse to believe explanations that are provided for why certain performance measures are calculated in certain ways. The reason they get touchy is because some of those measures are calculated in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Some of the people here are starting to wonder if you have overstated your experience in our particular industry when you repeatedly act ignorant of certain well known industry wide standards and terminology.
  • Some of the people here don’t have an appreciation for just how much you can do to make this a better company if only they would sit back and let you do everything.
  • Some of the people sitting near you have complained of hearing you tell the same stories of your life to everyone who sits with you to train you. Perhaps they weren’t intending to recite your personal history at a public forum soon so they aren’t interested in hearing it so often as to have it memorized.
I know it is hard to believe that a fine company like this would employ so many people who are so overly sensitive to so much. I’m sure that will make it more difficult for you in the coming days. To help you out, may I give you a few suggestions that may help those people appreciate you more? I would like to offer that:
  • If you listen attentively to people when they speak, they will likely give you a turn to speak at some point.
  • If you would take the time to learn how things are currently done before suggesting complete overhauls, sensitive people might be more willing to listen to your suggestions.
  • Instead of criticizing current methods, perhaps taking an inquisitive approach might work better in soothing sensitive souls. Ask someone to explain why things are done the way they are. It will make them feel better, and who knows? You might pick up a useful morsel of information occasionally.
  • Remember you aren’t the only one who has worked for more than one company during your career. Others here may well have an idea of what are company specific terms and what are industry standard terms. Try not to be too critical of them when they expect you to understand certain industry standard terms. You might even help stroke their egos by thanking them when they educate you on a term with which you were unfamiliar.
  • Just because you filled a certain role in a previous position does not mean that is the authority you will have in this one. Perhaps you should take your job description literally for the first, oh I don’t know, couple of weeks or so before trying to take on other responsibilities outside of your or your department’s purview.
  • As fascinating as your life story is, and it is truly fascinating, perhaps in sensitivity to others around you maybe you could go to the break room or some other location outside the department to share your life story in the future, particularly since it takes so long to tell. Better yet, maybe write a memoir and hand it out to those with whom you’d like to share.
No need to thank me for these tips. I’m always happy to help.
Not So New Coworker

1 comment:

Sailor said...

Oh man, haven't we *all* had one- or many- of those?? Good luck with it, hope he/she learns