Tanty time

Tanty time

When starting a new position in any industry it’s important to make an impression that will last in the minds of your shiny new, yet to be enlightened as to your magnificence colleagues. Although this definitely applies to the work itself (even if you’re trying to get fired immediately for reasons we won’t ask about), it’s not a completely ludicrous idea to take this into consideration in other areas as well.

A good pal of mine likes to throw a decent tantrum early on over screw ups so her colleagues quickly learn that she is to be feared. And then she never has to do it again. Because they know. They know. This might sound somewhat childish but training your raw colleagues to learn that you can’t be walked over will save you time and rage in the long run. It also means they’ll try harder to make you happy because they fear you. Which makes for excellent productivity. And just a little bit of tyranny.

There is a slight chance you might be thinking that just sounds self-serving, more I than team-ish. I’m not. I’m regretting not doing this myself. So far, my workmates are only aware that I’m more likely to show an interest in the lolly jar than I am in their welfare. They have no idea of the seething pit of sugar neediness I am suppressing when the lolly jar doesn’t appear at the appointed time of 3pm. I should have thrown a tantrum the first time the lolly jar didn’t materialise exactly when it was supposed to. Much to my extreme sadness, some days it doesn’t show at all because the holder of the lolly jar is busy or has just forgotten, and because I didn’t throw a tanty from the start, I can hardly start doing it four months down the track.

It’s not just behaviour this logic relates to. Turn up looking très smart with fabulous shoes on your first day and you can always mix it up or down fashion wise in the future when you turn goth, but first impressions count. If you try and work this in reverse, it’ll fail. All that will be remembered is what you wore on day one. How you botched it with your jandals and hammer pants. You might not work with elephants but trust me, your workmates never forget.

Don’t ever let your workmates think they know you – don’t let them get comfortable. Demand respect. Get it with fear and excellent shoes.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).