Being the new guy is never easy, whether you’re at school, university or at a new job. For about three months now, I have been a web developer at CodeFlügel. The statistic say that you’re likely to spend no more than two years in the same job, and starting somewhere new is always a challenge. Thus, I would like to share my recent experiences with you. Spoiler alert: it was the right decision.
During my studies at the Graz University of Technology, I was made aware of this company by a colleague. Right from the start, I was surprised at the informal and comfortable atmosphere – from the first contact to my first talk with the CEOs. Since it was my very first step into the job-world, of course, I was thinking a lot about possible rules, necessary attitudes and the impression I made. But the casual way in which everyone welcomed me, quickly eased this pressure.
My first Day
Let’s jump right in and start with my first day in the new job, which is always a challenge. Everything is new and unknown and you also don’t know yet how everything is done here. Sure, most people have some experience of being new at work from various internships, but a “real” new colleague is still treated a bit differently from a student who will be gone again before long.
My onboarding process started with a small tour through the office, where my colleague Kathrina showed me around and explained a lot about how everything worked. From certain company policies to the new mentoring system, which I will talk about a little later, I got a good general introduction into the most important processes and practices.
Your first day as the new guy can have a lot of impact on your future in the company. Basically, you can compare the first meeting with your new colleagues to going on a first date. You don’t know what to expect or what might happen and you’re a bit unsure how to act. After all, it’s important not to make a fool of yourself, since a good first impression goes a long way. And since your new colleagues also often know little to nothing about who they’re meeting, it’s all the harder to let them know enough about yourself in a relatively short time and make them like you. All of that is really important, since you’re going to spend a lot of time with them, especially when you’re working in an open-concept office. And obviously, a good atmosphere between colleagues contributes a lot to everyone’s well-being and performance.
Since I already know some of the people from University, my situation was made a little easier. For this and many other reasons, this part of my onboarding went off without a hitch. I don’t mean to say, however, that a completely unknown applicant would have a harder time. Quite the contrary, because the mentoring is sure to play a big part in anyone’s integration at CodeFlügel.
As I said before, I want to tell you a little bit about the mentoring system at our company. I was the first lucky employee to test the system (or I guess that the system was tested on). The colleague who had told me about the company in the first place also volunteered to be my mentor and to make my start in the new job as smooth as possible. But what exactly does mentoring mean and what does a mentor do?
Well, at CodeFlügel, a mentor has the task of giving new guys (in this case me) an introduction to the usual processes and workflows. Further, the mentor is supposed to be the first port of call for any questions, be it about work-related problems or general questions, such as “Where’s the meeting room?” Another important task for the mentor is to spend one hour per week with the new colleague just talking about the company and exchanging experiences. The conditions for this meeting can be chosen pretty freely – whether it’s going for drinks after work, getting something to eat during lunch break or doing something else entirely is up to each individual team.
Here, I would like to thank Mathias who definitely made being the new guy a lot easier for me. Personally, I support the mentoring system 100%, since it really made a difference for me. I am an absolute fan and can only recommend it. Of course, the weekly mentoring hour was also regularly used and enjoyed 😉
In addition to the mentoring, always being able to get help from your other colleagues and team members, is also very important, of course. Nowadays, being stressed on the job seems to be par for the course. You’re always busy and there’s always a new project to work on. Therefore, it was all the greater for me when I saw that everybody will always make time for any questions or issues another team member might have. It promotes the general team spirit and for me as the new guy it was important to know that I will always find help if needed.
Flexible Work Hours
Another thing I would like to talk about are the work hours. It seems everyone advertises their flexible work hours these days. How much of it is true, you might, like it or not, only find out once you’ve actually been hired. For me, the work hours were an important point, since I’m still a student at University, which also takes up a lot of my time.
I’m impressed, how well the flexible hours work at CodeFlügel. You’re pretty much free to plan your time however you need to, provided you do your work diligently and on time. Of course, at the beginning, I did clear my planned schedule with my mentor each week. But now that I’m working on projects independently, I can flexibly plan my work hours and it does not have to be the same from week to week (which is great for when I’ve got a busy week at University for example). Again, the only restriction is that I do my work on time and let everyone know when I am going to be available.
By now, the new job has become routine. I no longer feel like “the new guy” in the team and the mentoring phase is over. That doesn’t mean, however, that regular group activities have stopped as well. I know my tasks and what’s expected of me. I’ve gotten to know everyone’s individual quirks. Since we’re still a relatively small company, everything is very informal and it works like a big family where you’re in regular contact with pretty much everyone. Of course, there are always groups of people you hang out with more than others. Sometimes that’s simply determined by things like the technologies you work with or projects you work on together.
Also the weekly meeting schedule has become routine. I personally think that every employee should want to be kept informed about news from different parts of the company, since they will affect you one way or another most of the time. Even though it can feel like information overload when you just started. 🙂
On the whole, I am very happy with my current job situation. I’ve become a part of the team and I’ve more than adapted to the new workspace. As I already mentioned, the integration phase worked really well and I’m glad to have become a part of the CodeFlügel family.
Lastly, there’s only one thing left to say. It’s also part of every team member’s job to regularly write a blog post. And since it’s my turn now, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share my experiences and maybe help future applicants with their decision or their start at the company.