Learning The Ropes


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Businesspeople conversing at the water cooler

For those who know me, many would say I trust too easily, and I’d agree. It has its benefits and faults but at the end of the day I trust until proven otherwise. However after being in the “working” world for a couple of years it’s come to my attention that PR developed a well deserved reputation for being a “dog-eat-dog” world . Inspired by Kristen’s post about departing and starting anew, I remembered what it was like to start my 2nd job and learn the ropes of a new corporate culture. Here are a few things I believe helped me:

Listen. This will be hard for us extroverts who want to tell all and jump right in to the mix but stop and sit back. While you’re getting coffee in the morning, remember what people share and make note of what they *don’t* share. Pay attention to well respected co-workers that are within your experience level and age range. See how they carry themselves and interact with everyone from the office manager, CEO, and intern. Maintain your individuality but make sure you are presenting yourself well to new co-workers.

Ask questions. This has two components to it. A) Ask questions to gain a better understanding of the corporate environment that you’re working in. This will help you when trying to understand simple office protocol. B) Ask questions whenever you have a doubt about a project you are working on. Remember: “He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever” (Chinese Proverb).

Voice an educated opinion & your passions. There is nothing wrong with voicing your opinion or suggestion at the work place. We often work in teams because each person contributes something different to the task at hand. All I say is make sure you honestly think before you suggest your well thought out idea. That should eliminate what I call, “word vomit.” I also suggest discussing things you’re passionate about. I’ve been given new accounts because the managers knew I would work on it diligently because I genuinely loved the topic.

And to bring us back to the top: trust sparingly. This goes for people within your company or even people you meet networking. Fortunately for me, I have TJ 🙂 (#coworkerlove), but it took time. Finding a confidant is hard. You never know who will have  ulterior motives (It may sound crazy but we’ve all been there). Don’t assume that because everyone dislikes the manager and talks about it, that you can too. I’ve heard horrible stories from friends being set up in that situation. If you believe you’ve found someone you can trust, share small things that if revealed you would have no problem discussing them.

These are just some of the many things I’ve learned along the way. What would you add? What are rules you live by when you start a new job?

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