It’s so funny to me to observe how a team or department reacts on a new hire’s first day.
You have the people who:
- Dive right in and make the person feel at home
- Need to “feel out” the person a little more before drawing a conclusion, or
- Outright dislike the newbie upon first glance
If I were being completely honest with myself, I’d have to say I fall into the “number two” category. That’s just my nature. I have to observe you for a while and then draw my own conclusion.
However, it always baffles me when people in the “number three” category try to justify why they’re being so spiteful in those first few seconds of contact.
They say things like, “He/she just rubs me the wrong way,” or “I didn’t get a good vibe from him/her.”
No matter what excuse any of them gives, here’s what they’re really saying: “I feel threatened by the presence of this new person in my workplace.”
I’m not talking about the threat one may feel if someone is more physically attractive, which is usually seen in women. That’s a deep-rooted self esteem issue that my 400 words won’t be able to fix.
The underlying issue I’m referring to is the threat of not knowing where to fit in now that this new person is here.
“Are they better than me?” “Does the boss like them better?” “Do coworkers think he/she is more competent than I am?”
If you have to second-guess your skills when a new employee arrives, it’s time to brush them up. There would be no need to feel any angst by a new presence if you knew you were still highly qualified for your position.
Don’t result to backstabbing and sabotage. Turn that anxiety into motivation to better yourself. Go back to school, get a certification, or do online research about the latest innovations in your field.
Keep yourself relevant and valuable to your organization, no matter how high or low you feel your position is. It will heighten your job security and prevent you from wrongfully projecting your insecurities onto your coworkers.
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources