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Unspoken Rules

Joining a new company is exciting but, at the same time, it could be a bit scary. Starting a new job is not only about the new tasks, responsibilities, tools or colleagues. A new workplace is an unexplored paradise (or hell) full of unwritten rules and protocols to be discovered and followed by the new employees. From discovering what the right time for a coffee break is, or understanding the working-from-home policy to getting to know how much open feedback the colleagues and the management are able to take, discovering all those new things might be a painful journey.

An Unspoken rule is a rule that is not officially written down but, somehow is imposed in the company. To be honest, I have seen many work situations fail due to the lack of knowledge or lack of understanding of those rules. I am sure that all of us have faced a situation at the office in which we wished we would have known about an unspoken rule. The future of every new employee and his/her acceptance as part of the team will depend on how this person behaves and follows the company rules, particularly those unspoken ones. 

Avoiding the Unspoken Rules shock

Many companies have created clear induction procedures to make the new employee's landing to the new place an enjoyable journey. Creating clear procedures and rules can help your company avoiding surprises while simplifying the life of many managers and supervisors. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to officially teach the unspoken rules to the newcomers. Those can be mainly discovered by staying around and learning from others. Sometimes, we learn by doing mistakes, too. 

I have found useful getting to know the company already during the recruitment process. Using your network to ask about the company and its culture before joining the company is also a good way to go. I know, sometimes, we get the first impression only from the hiring manager or the HR representative but, some companies are already involving the rest of the team at the recruitment stage. When you get to know the team or at least some members in advance, you are able to see how they behave together, what kind of clothes do they wear and even how they talk to the recruiting manager. This might help a bit.

Written rules vs. unspoken rules

Incongruities between professed rules and actual practices are very common in the workplace. This means, that despite having clear policies or protocols to follow, people at the company have created their own way to proceed and that has been well accepted and implemented. There are also cases in which the official rules only apply to certain people and not to all equally. This can be a bit frustrating for newcomers.

So, how to learn the unspoken rules? Summing up, the best recommendation when you join a new company is to take the time to observe your surroundings and to watch how other people at the company behave. Prudence is essential. It is important that you take the time to get to know your colleagues and your managers before doing anything dramatic.

This post first appeared on My Sandy Planet, please read the originial post: here

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Unspoken Rules


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