Change of job

podo

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Apr 16, 2004
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Just a quick note to you all that you won't see my "web developer" signature anymore, since I have decided to abandon my small private web development venture in favour of an associate application developer position in the I.T. R&D department at the South African Studbook and Livestock Improvement Society, effective 1 September 2004. My duties will include database optimization and the development of a new web interface for their data warehousing system. I have decided to take the position because it offers me a stable income and job security.

Unfortunately, while it carries many perks, the position does come with fixed office hours, which means I will have less time to respond to forum topics, however, I will continue to donate as much time as I can spare to answering queries and to advocacy for a change in the South African telecommunications environment.

Now I have a query for all of you. Since this will be the first time that I actually have a day job (I have been working for myself for almost 5 years, but have never been formally employed), what advice can you offer for making the transition in to the new office easier on myself and my new coworkers? Any tips are welcome, but I would be specifically interested in knowing the kind of behaveour in corworkers that I should be weary of, who not to trust, things I shouldn't do in my first year as a lowly employee, and anything else you feel I might find useful as I start my climb up the corporate ladder.
 

mbs

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Right PODO - here's a 10-point guide. Basically a mish-mash of stuff in no particular order, with all of them equally relevant in my opinion, and all of which have served me well over the years. Good luck in your new environment...

1. Get to know and understand the corporate power hierarchy - i.e. don't push any buttons until you understand who's who in the zoo.

2. Most ICT people are prima donnas (it's the nature of the game) - so don't proffer any advice or help to anyone, unless you're specifically asked. At the same time, though, remain obviously cooperative.

3. Understand the overall corporate objectives, and reconcile what you do to those objectives (i.e. operational alignment to strategy) - this way, you'll have ammunition in the event of any attempts to undermine you.

4. Treat others as you would be treated.

5. Don't make it obvious that you want to climb the corporate ladder - you'll become a target.

6. Make it clear that you'd like specific performance objectives and that you wish to understand the prcoess of performance appraisal thoroughly, to ensure that you meet both personal and corporate objectives.

7. Document everything.

8. Try and separate your work and family life as much as possible.

9. Don't fall into the trap of becoming part of cliques or anti-establishment groupings.

10. Above all, remain true to yourself, but make sure that any principle compromise is based on a thorough evaluation of all aspects, with the over-riding consideration being issues of mutual benefit to both you and your employer.

Trust this assists...
 

Perdition

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Dec 17, 2003
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This is exactly why I LEFT the corporate world to work for myself (no offense mbs [;)]) I do however sometimes miss the "stability" of an office environment i.e. the people and a regular income. I just don't work well in a "corporate hierarchy". Good luck with your new position Podo, I hope they know they've got a quality employee (and give you a huge bonus!) [:)]
 

mbs

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Hehe - none taken. Yup, these are indeed the reasons why many leave the corporate world. Those with an entrepreneurial bent would be well-advised to steer clear of it, also those who wish to be masters of their own destiny in a real sense...
 

podo

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Well, to be quite honest, this will be a big change for me, as I have always quite liked the idea of working for myself. However, the job does come with some really nice perks, amongst other things, my new employer will be putting up money for me to get some formal education for a change. I'll be skipping all the "learn <whatever> in 21 days" courses, but I will get a chance to enroll part time for a BSc Comp. Sci., specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Working for myself, I would just not have the kind of time to do this.

Of course, after a few years, if I find I don't like it there, I could just leave, with a degree in artificial intelligence. [:D]
 

VQuest

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Podo, good luck mate. It's really great being able to hold your hand out at the end of the month for that (hopefully) nice salary cheque. But I'm pretty much like you Perdition, I can't do the corporate thing again.

I would rather battle and work for myself, on my own terms than get taken advantage of - working my butt off for someone who doesn't appreciate your efforts.

But podo, you'll have better luck [:)]


----------------
United we stand!
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rpm

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Hi Podo

There might be a better option than a BSc (an MSc) if your employer is willing to foot the bill. It is rather pricy but a much better course for a working professional. I am not certain that somebody will be accepted without any tertiary education, but maybe worth the try… Mail me if you would like details…

RPM
rpm@myadsl.co.za
 

podo

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Apr 16, 2004
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288
rpm,

An interesting idea. Sadly, I don't currently hold any tertiary degrees, so going directly to a Masters might pose some problems, however, I am aware that the department of education has recently instituted some provisions for the recognition of prior learning, which might allow me to atleast be exempted from taking some of the more mundane courses that would be included in a BSc.
 

kaspaas

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Best of luck Podo!

A tough one usually is to do your job in such a way that previous people who worked on the job are not "blackened" but you still get the honour for sorting out the probs they created.

The "historical" relationships (friendly usually) between current and previous staff is a minefield for a newcomer. An irritated word when struggling has the habit of taking its course to the ex-employee and back to the MD who happens to be the drinking buddy of so-and-so :-(







South Africa needs World Class Broadband at World Competitive Prices.
 

ajax

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Oct 29, 2003
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Put a big glass jar of sweets on your desk. Offer a sweet to anybody that comes into your office and let everybody take as they wish. That way you will get to know everyone quite fast and come across as a friendly dude.
Its also a good exercise in self discipline, same as keeping your browser away from myadsl except over lunch time!
 

Perdition

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Hehe ajax, problem with that is when you finally stop providing sweets people will get upset!

kaspaas, it seems as if you're talking from personal experience [;)] but I agree with you entirely.

Podo, I think the underlying theme here is try not to get wrapped up in office politics. Unfortunately this can be very difficult at times as some people take offense even if you say "I respect your view but I can't get involved". It is rare to find a company that doesn't have politics so be prepared.

Having said this it is always exciting to start a new position, just be yourself and you'll settle in quickly [:)]
 

podo

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Apr 16, 2004
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288
kaspaas,

Thanks for the advice. Luckily I am being appointed in a new position created specifically for me, and thus, not replacing anybody on whom I can blame the bad performance of the current system. I will however, have to deal with the programmers which helped create the old system, who still work there, so I've taken fair warning.

ajax,

I'm pretty sure that my employer has included a "you may not practice social engineering on your dumb coworkers" clause in my contract, knowing full well what I am capable of after talking to clients for whom I have conducted security audits, but that being said, I can't see how offering my coworkers candy could be considered harmful social engineering, unless I derive illicit gain from it.

Perdition,

Luckily for me, I will be starting in a lowly associate developer position, so I won't start out with much influence, not in the corporate political sence anyway. I am hoping that my initial lack of influence will keep me clear of the power brokering types long enough to settle in and start my own campaign of discreet, yet effective social engineering. Candy this week, beer next week, free international calls for Christmass. [:D]
 

mbs

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Nov 19, 2003
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Hey PODO - just a quick note as wondering how you're doing in your new environment - you have a whole on-line community behind you, don't forget...
 
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