Instead, I found myself in a windowless cubicle - bane of office workers everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I adore my cube; I just miss daylight. I decorated it with the bamboo I eagerly purchased from Lowe's in 2007, and I got a new pot and fishtank stones for it from Home Depot. because I found it impossible not to ruin my back with the furniture available at work, I bought my own swivel chair so I wouldn't have to bug anyone (and when I get my compact Staples desk for my home office that I plan to assemble one bit at a time, I will replace my work chair with a new one so I can use the one I use now at home). Just this week, I got myself my "new friend" - a bright, cheery lamp from Gordman's. Yeah, I love my cube. I keep it tidy because it's the only place at work I am comfortable being for extended periods of time, since I work full time, 40 hours each week. I go to bed at 10 p.m. (except tonight, posting this), I wake between 6:30 and 7 a.m., and I start work at 8:30 a.m. (the joys of Flex Time, for which I took advantage of a mere half hour).
So, I have the job; I was even hired during my second-to-last semester of graduate school. I have great bosses and I work in an excellent environment. It's all forever growing on me, reality setting back in each day I enter through the front door and go to my desk. As the lone Professional Writer, though, it does get lonely. I'm not certain that others know just what it is that I do or how to work with me in the most effective manner.
A few survival tips, though they might be applicable for new hires generally:
- Do not try to be the Next Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. You're not, really not. Even if others appreciate you on a level with sliced bread, you're still not. It does not matter how much your boss or coworkers love you. There is no shortcut, special privilege, anything, just because you can do what you do best. Behave as if you are entitled to respect, and you will see just how far that gets you. Yeah, respect as a human being is expected, but you can only prove you are as intelligent a worker as you claim.
- On that note, proactively and strategically behave as if you are the Next Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. The way in which you present yourself within the workplace is a matter of self-worth and it will determine the ways in which you are promoted, received, and perceived within your work-sphere. So, behave with the utmost integrity and intelligence at all times. You are a one-writer army, and good soliders do not let down their guard, no matter how friendly the foe. I'm not saying your coworkers or your boss/supervisors are enemies, I just mean you must maintain your professional demeanor, because, remember - they work where you work.
- Use email/documentation to your advantage. The more you can intelligently communicate via email, the better off you will be. Save electronic pay stubs in a safe place. Periodically update your supervisor with your (modified/censored) impressions of your time at work. You might not have to do these things, but my supervisor needs them due to time constraints. In some ways, I function as my supervisor's eyes/ears, in some ways I promote my supe's ideal writing goals, in other ways it's simply courteous for me to "touch base" with my supe (and so I do via an update email approximately 1/week). The key to this tip is to do so advantageously, strategically, intelligently.
- Email only as much as you need, no more or less. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
- Email is forever. Never, ever, ever, ever forget that. Anyone in your Company can and will, at some time, read your messages. Always be polite.
- Emails are artifacts, and may be used as evidence. This is useful for complaints and as proof, officially or within business concerns. Also, electronic pay stubs are great to file in a regular email folder - just Forward the email with your attached pay stub to your private email for an outside record. I also Delete my forward, and then I Empty my Deleted Folder each time I send anything to myself. You never know, though I'm not actually 100% how effective doing this is. (If anybody knows, please Comment! Otherwise, I'll find it for myself eventually.)
- Finally, remember to ATTACH and CC as you should. Never forget to double check these parts of your email, or you will, one day like me, send 5 bad emails when you should have only sent 1 because you kept forgetting to Attach or CC something. I'll tell that little tale in another blog, soon.
- Do not compete. If you happen to be one of those who thinks some others are "idiotic," they really aren't, and if you think you are allowed to think so, your attitude will get you bit in the rear at some point, sooner or later. So you think you're a better Technical Writer than the workers that have done the writing for the Company until now? Think again. They're not certified Professional Writers. But they have been professionally writing what was made into your new job. Learn from them instead, no matter how much you might believe you won't. You will.
- So a coworker hates your guts, huh? Doesn't matter. Act as if you are their compadre. Allow yourself to believe you are their compadre. Win and progress as a member of their team. Prove yourself a valuable ally. Do these things, and your differences will fade faster than they developed. Again, always behave with integrity.