I have seen a lot of people that come to work on their first day. I also remember my first day. There are a lot of things that happen on your first day. A lot of things you learn about the people you are going to work with, but they learn a lot more about you than you do from them. You are the new guy walking into a new job. You are kind of busy trying to figure everything out. This group of people you are trying to fit into already has the job figured out so they are all focused on you and how they think you are going to fit in. The impression you make on your first day will stick with you most of your career, at least until all these guys that you are starting with retire.
I have almost never been late for work, maybe once every 10 years, and that is only by one or two minutes. If you are working in an office, you just stroll in a few minutes late and then stick around and catch up during your lunch break. When you are late for work in the fire station that means someone has to stay late to wait for you which means you just messed up their day. Maybe they were supposed to get the kids to school as soon as they got home so their wife could get to work, or maybe that guy waiting for you is now going to miss something important.
I never really could understand someone coming in late and saying they were stuck in traffic. Didn’t they think there might be more traffic because of the bad weather? Plan for bad traffic, plan for an accident, or even for a little car trouble. If you don’t want to go to work early, get in the area and find something to do so you are never late.
Every person has their issue. One guy might be a little extreme when it comes to cleaning the rigs. Another guy might be paranoid of germs when you are in the kitchen, and someone else might talk too much. It is your job to figure these people out, and adapt to their weird tendencies. The guys working there aren’t going to change for you so make your life easy and get along with their weird issues.
New guys clean the bathroom. That means you so get used to it until the next new guy is hired.
If you came from another department, these guys don’t want to hear about it. They don’t care right now if you think your other department did something better or if the cook there was really top notch. They really don’t care to hear your exaggerated stories about how many fires you put out all by yourself. It’s time to listen to all the stories these guys want to tell you and keep your mouth shut.
Once you have been there for a while, things will change. There will be more new people and you will move up the chain. But today and for a while, you are the new guy. Let those old guys figure out how to get out of work. You need to find something to do, find someone to help, and find a way to fit in.
By John Morse
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