How to Deal With Being The "New Kid in The Office"

The new girl "learns the ropes"

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" . . . . nothing is as scary and unsettling as being the new employee . . ."


(a quote by some wealthy man who started his own company and never had to be "the new kid," at any job. Ever).


This is the day that you have dreamed of since you read the ad in The Wall Street Journal. "Wanted: Young men with ambition. Self-starter. Works with little supervision. College grad, at least a B.A. degree. Salary negotiable. Insurance, medical, dental paid. Apply in-person at Clarksby, Dolby, and Donaldson, LLC., Monday through Friday. No phone calls, please.


Of the 152 applicants who interviewed for this entry-level job, "you" won. Now you can afford to live like you have dreamed of living since you left your parents' basement, took a shabby one-room apartment and made ends meet by working two jobs--one at "Chicken Castle," and "Big Leonard's South Side Grocery Mart and Deli."

It's tough work, but you have spent the better part of a year going to interviews, sending your resume' to every business in New York City and still, no one's is hiring because of the shaky economy. So you learn to deal with your situation.

Being new on the job is nerve-racking

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But in all of your excitement

about getting a great job that starts at $65,000.00 a year, and your buying new suits, shoes, and getting a new hairstyle, you have forgotten "the" most important fact of all:

You, my adrenalin-driven friend, will soon be "the New Kid" in the office

and that title comes with a personal-warning from yours truly who has been "the new kid," many times over my working years, and with each time I was the new employee at whatever job I was hired for, it never got any easier.

So I am here to guide, direct, and advise you about this seemingly-playful and innocent title, and what it really entails.

Being "the new kid" really means:

  • Hurtful pranks
  • Getting laughed-at, not with
  • Made to do the dirty jobs that the "vets" will not do
  • Being pushed-around because you are the "rookie"
  • Left-out of all the office parties

and these are just the "tip of the iceberg." I would be safe in saying that from your first day when your new boss says, "Hi, Thad. I'm Dan, your boss. Welcome to "the jungle," and laughs. But he isn't kidding by describing the workplace as "the jungle." You will understand in a little while.

How some "new kids" on the job cope with being new

Always "looking" like they are working.
Always "looking" like they are working. | Source
Pretending to call important clients to impress the other employees.
Pretending to call important clients to impress the other employees. | Source
"New kid" and veteran employee discuss a new office project
"New kid" and veteran employee discuss a new office project | Source
Sometimes the boss will want the :new kid: to go places with him as he talks to him about his future with the company
Sometimes the boss will want the :new kid: to go places with him as he talks to him about his future with the company | Source

What you can expect

from being "the new kid in the office.":

  1. You starting to work at this firm was known before you got the call that you were hired. You see. In offices, there are invisible networks of people who keep-up with the goings-on in the office. In your case, the Human Resource manager is a close-friend to "Benji," an office assistant who once worked in the office you are going, and so "Benji," told your coworkers all about you. So do not expect a lot of gasps or sighs of lust as you walk to your desk.
  2. Stared-at by the single females who are wanting a date for a party two weeks from the day you start work.
  3. Stared-at by single males who are checking you out to see if you pose a threat to their position with the single girls in the office.
  4. Sometimes being pointed-at by the errand runners and temp's and you can even hear their whisper, "Who's the new kid?" But you pretend you do not hear them and continue to get settled.
  5. Your computer and desk will not be as promised, "the best money can buy." Your computer is an older IBM using Microfilm and spread-sheets. Your desk is held together with carpenter's nails and wood glue. In the middle desk drawer you find what the former employee left behind: a pack of cigarettes, a German brand, some wads of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of the drawer, a few pencils, a shoelace and a small bag of peanuts.
  6. "The cold shoulder," given to you by jealous, insecure employees who think you are there to take their jobs.
  7. You are in deep trouble, but you hide it well. You cannot afford to quit this job. Remember the smell of left-over fried chicken that you didn't sell.

New woman learns the phone system

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"New kids in the office" are survivors

A newbie chats with the boss about insurance
A newbie chats with the boss about insurance | Source
This "new kid in the office" loves her job
This "new kid in the office" loves her job | Source
This "new kid" (middle) has made a hit in her workplace
This "new kid" (middle) has made a hit in her workplace | Source

Here is how YOU can cope with being "The New Kid in The Office"

  • Do not talk too much about yourself. No office employee likes a "motor mouth."
  • Ask questions, when convenient, about your coworkers. Always make them feel more important than you.
  • Never be seen sitting on another employee's desk yakking about how you got the job. If the boss sees you, he will overlook it once, but if it keeps up you will be called to his office for a "talk."
  • Do things for others in the office, but do not overload yourself with favors--you too have a job to get done.
  • Have a pleasant disposition. A frown, a grumpy Clint Eastwood look is not popular anymore.
  • Do not give-away too much information about yourself. Just the non-vital information that serves no purpose.
  • Let someone else do the volunteering. If you volunteer for everything, you will cause resentment among your coworkers.
  • Never act as if you know more than anyone in the office--even though you do. A "know-it-all," is never accepted that quickly in the workplace.
  • Never put yourself down for any reason. Coworkers are like sharks who can smell blood, your coworkers can sense false-modesty.

Watch Out For These "Traps" in The Office

  1. Coworkers who "act" like a buddy to you. Then get you to talking about what you feel about the company, the management and others who work with, so do this: Always say nice things about your boss, company, and the coworkers. Tip: Whatever you say just might come home to you one day.
  2. When you are told to go to the supply room or department and get . . ."The Sky Hooks," "Paper Stretchers," or "Fog Blower," go to wherever you are told. This is a practical joke. Play along. Come back in about fifteen minutes and the entire office will horse laugh you and you laugh with them. The mastermind-joker will say, "Hey, boob! There isn't any 'Sky Hooks'!" You just look stupid and laugh again. Then reply, "I can't believe that I fell for that." "Good one, 'Lemm.'"
  3. Sometimes when you feel your coworkers are getting too serious, do a clumsy act on-purpose such as falling on the floor as if you stumbled. Then say, "I see why I was never asked to try-out for the Track Team." And then laugh at yourself.
  4. Buy lunch for the group who asks you to eat with them. Remember your finances. You cannot afford lunch for over 200 employees, but you can three.
  5. When an employee, female or male, asks you too many questions such as, "How do you feel about 'Nellie Jane?'" Reply with, "Oh, I've never met her but I hear that she is a nice-looking girl." Do not be surprised if the inquisitive girl is 'Nellie Jane.'

" . . . . In a month or two, you can take the name-tag that says, "New Kid in The Office," off of your chest. . . ."

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Comments 6 comments

lilmissmontana profile image

lilmissmontana 2 years ago from Montana

Very interesting hub. I think this is a genuine fear for a lot of people, and as you laid out, it should be. I love the things to watch out for, because I have heard of them and it seems rather daunting. I will keep this hub in mind after I graduate from college this coming fall and begin looking for my career.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

Been there, done that. I've never worked in an office, but your tips apply to jobs anywhere. The only one I don't follow is the one about playing along with going for stuff that doesn't exist. I know it's a joke, but I turn it around on them. You send me for stuff that isn't real, I'm taking a few hours to do nothing while they work they're butts off.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, lilmissmontana,

You are already on the "wisdom expressway," by reading this hub. Print it out and tuck it away somewhere and refer to it to see if the people at your job are testing or joking with you.

It has happened to me a lot.

Thanks, sweetie, for the comment.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, sheilamyers,

What I meant was this happened to me at a garment plant in my hometown in 1974.

A department boss sent me after some "Sky Hooks," to help unload a trailer truck at the loading dock. The man he said to see was in on it too and when I got back, I was laughed at, but I found out that all newbies were treated this way--but in all sincerity, sometimes an innocent prank can hurt people and make them leave a job, church, or even a family.

So I watch what I say when joking these days.

Thank you for your nice remark.

Kenneth


epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

It's been a while since I had been the new kid, but I do remember the feeling. I'm hoping I never have to go through that again!


Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Hi, epbooks,

I had "that" feeling so many times--and like you, tried so hard to fit-in, cope, and deal with the various politics of an office and a factory. They are both the same. Thanks for understanding and reading this comment and leaving such an insightful remark.

Kenneth

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