On-Boarding = Lost In The Wild

Sounds familiar?

2019-08-202 Min Read — In Office, Productivity, Onboarding


You walk in the doors of your new company on your first day of work. You’re excited but also nervous, not sure of what to expect.

People glance at you curiously, but then move on, and you have no idea where to go first. You decide to look for the people who hired you. Walking around, you eventually find them and they smile and welcome you to the team.

One of them stops what he’s doing and says, “You probably want to know where your desk is. I’ll show you.” Thinking he’s being helpful, he takes you to your station, a nice clean empty desk with a computer.

You sit down at your new workplace. It feels as though you are being reunited with an old friend that have moved away back in the mid-nineties, because that’s the era from which your work computer was manufactured. That’s ok, you actually found Windows ’95 to be well ahead of its time, and who couldn’t use an extra twenty minutes in the morning to collect their thoughts while their computer attempts to start?

Then he says, “I’ll send over the person who is responsible for your first day.”

You remind sitting and you are not sure what are you supposed to do to make a good impression. Try to turn the monster on? Take out your phone? Start to draw something on a paper to seem intellectual?

A bit later, your manager comes over while on the phone working on another project. He shakes your hand and smiles while talking to the person on the phone at the same time. Finally, he hangs up, and talks to you about your skillset and prior experience. Then he says, the long-feared sentence:

“We probably need to get you set up with HR first, so let’s do that today, and then tomorrow we can talk about your first tasks.”

Afterwards your manager is gone. It felt a bit like meeting Batman.

Everybody around you seems busy and laser focused on their work. You go to the HR department and start the endless cue of configuration processes. Email, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Calendar, Asana, Trello, Stiki, Airtable, Zappier and few more tools that you will need to use from now on. The worse, however, is always the office printer.

During the first day you do not manage to do absolutely anything that would make you feel good or useful. You feel a bit lost. And isolated. Mostly because nobody told you what is the wifi password.

After coming back from the HR department somebody offers to give you a tour through the office. You are being guided by an employee who has been there for less than 2 weeks and gives you some probable, but not secure, answers to all your questions. Everybody tells you their names and some awkward small-talk is happening all around you. As an introvert you feel under pressure and grasping for air, and you immediately forget all the names anyway.

Lost in a foreign building, feeling hungry and uncomfortable, you seek desperately for anything to help you understand what’s going on.

The printer still doesn’t work. You also discover that at you office building, an employee ID badge is required to access the restrooms. Here’s the catch, though: On average, it takes about six weeks for new employees to get their ID badge. You will need to ask a colleague every time you need to go to the restroom. Sounds like fun?

You finally go home and force yourself to hope for a better tomorrow. Maybe the office printer will be more merciful when you come back?