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Butterfly stroke

published: 2010-05-26

Still on the topic of first days. Like many people, I have gone through quite a few first days in various office environments. On some first days I found myself wondering where to find myself a desk (“should we put you by the coffee-machine?”). Nobody seemed prepared or interested that I was coming. Entering those office environments felt like diving into a pool. As I don’t particularly like swimming, I’d end up doing useless little underwater twirls and standing on my hands, splashing around a bit. Eventually, I’d try and copy the other swimmers who seemed to know exactly what they were doing. Butterfly stroke? All right then, let me try.
Other office environments had my desk all set up for me on day one. I’d have a login name to the computer, a personal colour (pink!) for my files. Pencils, pens, stapler, highlighter, that kind of stuff. My boss would personally introduce me to each and every colleague. The result being I felt welcome and needed.
I have come to notice this difference in approach at schools too.
The question rises, which is better? My immediate response would be: the warm welcome. But think about this a little bit. There is something to be said for the first approach too. In the first situation you learn by necessity to find your own way. Potentially, this could lead to greater self-worth after having gone through the initial lesson of ‘don;t think you’re special.’
But given the choice I think everyone would much rather feel needed, than to find themselves swimming. Perhaps even drowning without anyone noticing.

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