Thriving in a New Work Environment

By: Cory Tanner
thrive

My Background

If you asked me a month and a half ago when I was living and working near Philadelphia as a Director of digital communications, “Cory what are the chances that you will be in Boston working for a new company?”. I would have said you were crazy and I couldn’t see myself leaving the Philly area unless a company blew me away with their culture and work environment. How would I watch my Sixers, Eagles, and Phillies games if I left the Philly area?

Then in a week and a half frenzy I was moving up to Boston after it had just snowed another two feet in Boston. A day after that I had moved in to my new apartment and it was my first day at DockYard as a Junior UX Developer!

Fast forward a week and I had met 16 new DockYard co-workers (who, yes, are crazy smart) and was introduced to a new coding/project management environment. I was then challeneged to learn how to structure my SCSS with the [BEM] (https://github.com/dockyard/styleguides/blob/master/uxd/class-naming-conventions.md) class naming conventions and rules for Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS ([SMACSS] (https://github.com/dockyard/styleguides/blob/master/uxd/beginning-a-project.md)), all of this was a tidal wave of new information and personally a different way of thinking.

It’s Not All About You

I would love to say that the sole reason that I’ve been able to handle all the new information is that I am purely that awesome. But in reality I could not have gotten through any of this without the work environment DockYard has implemented.

[Estelle] (http://reefpoints.dockyard.com/2015/01/16/joining-dockyard.html) and [Marin] (http://reefpoints.dockyard.com/office/2013/07/09/first-month-at-dockyard.html) explain how “Wicked Good” the DockYard team is and do so better than I can, but from my experience after a month of working here it is clear that everyone wants to help each other (new guy included). If you need help and you’re not approaching other team members with questions, you might find yourself out of place.

This type of atmosphere is exactly what you need for soaking in all the information you receive at a new job. You will always have questions and uncertainties in a new environment like:

  • Am I meeting their expectations
  • Am I messing this up
  • Will I look stupid if I ask this question
  • What will they think if…

It is inevitable to have these questions when you are in a new work place and you should have them, don’t be afraid to solve those concerns by asking productive questions! The new company you just joined would rather be asked a stupid question then see you running in circles not willing to interact with the team.

I have asked many questions in my first month here and not once has someone:

  • Said no
  • Told me there was no point to my question
  • Looked down on me for not knowing something

That is a testament to DockYard but also should be how any team should be run, especially web development teams.

Success Is Ultimately Decided By You

Now it’s not all up to the team you are joining to make you successful, you have to be willing to do the following:

  • Put time into reading about things you did not understand
  • Research tools/techniques that you see yourself using in the future
  • Be open minded with new development techniques and a new project management process

If you are successful with goals/projects your boss gives you, then you are meeting your employers standards. In the web development line of work in order to thrive in an environment you should be going above what is expected of you.

When coworkers look at your work they should be impressed and surprised with:

  • The product you are presenting
  • How quick and thorough you are when learning new things
  • Contributions you make to current projects

When you are getting those type of reactions to the list above you are thriving in the new work environment.

“Thriving in a new work environment comes from working harder and more efficiently than expected”

Be willing to be one of the first people at the office and leave later than most, you want to soak in as much information as you can. When you are given new things to learn tackle them immediately.

During all the chaos of starting a new job stay organized and keep notes of things you are learning, you will probably not remember that Git command after one or two uses.

If you find yourself in a new work environment and feel overwhelmed just remember to ask as many questions as you can and work hard to understand the solutions your team provides you.