When someone I know, whom I'll call Sam, recounted the details of his first week at a new job, he was in the frame of mind to quit. Initially, everything at the company checked out with what Sam was looking for, including a supervisor who said the favorite part of her job was "mentoring" new staff.
So, what happened that so drastically shifted Sam's attitude about his new employer after just one week?
This description of Sam's first three days at his new job should give you a hint:
When Sam arrived on his first day at work, he received an email from his boss stating that she was tied up at meetings all day and would see him at day's end.
No one greeted him most of the day and Sam noticed that everyone looked stressed and intently focused on work. He made a call to the human resources director to ask a few questions relative to a new hire and was told that she was busy and would get back to him in an hour; but she never did.
He reviewed files and tried to make sense as best he could of a new account management system. At the end of the day, he had a brief encounter with his boss who outlined a few expectations and left. Sam hardly knew what to ask her with so little information.
The second and third days were more of the same, at which point I happened to speak to him. The complete lack of a welcome and no orientation left Sam in doubt about how well he could accomplish his new responsibilities.
I encouraged him to find a couple of people in similar positions who would explain the work culture as well as their relationship to the "boss who liked to mentor". Sam learned that his colleagues were all confused by the new account management system and struggled to keep their heads above water.
They added that they had little contact with the supervisor and approached her only in emergencies. While this was not what he wanted to hear, he now knew what to expect from his new boss.
By the end of the week, Sam was feeling less frantic about his job. His connections with several colleagues were key to his decision to stay for at least six months. But this story could have ended in a much different way.
If Sam had quit after a week, his employer would have lost out on a capable new hire in whom it had already invested resources through the hiring process. This negative outcome could have easily been avoided with a shared organizational goal to connect with new hires, provide them with a basic orientation to help them be as successful as possible.
As for Sam, rather than quitting, he decided on a proactive approach to his new job, and found inspiration in a quote by Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see."
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UPCOMING EVENTS WHERE I'LL BE PRESENTING WORKSHOPS OR KEYNOTES:
•Maine Health Women's Wellness Day
: "Simple Steps to Love Your Work"
Saturday, May 13, Sheraton, So. Portland, ME
•Goodall Hospital Women's Health Expo: "Beyond the Midlife Crisis: Understanding Life and Work in the Second Half of Life
Saturday, May 20, Sanford, ME
•A Women's Retreat in Provence
, September 23-30, 2006
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