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Care and Feeding of the FNG

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We have all been the FNG (f*ing new guy or f*ing new girl) at one time or another.  It can be a stressful experience or a relatively pleasant one.  Much depends on you and your co-workers.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could walk into a new position and they were actually ready for you, excited to meet you, and anxious to help you out and welcome you to the team.  They might even train you or assign you to someone to serve as your mentor – someone you can go to with all of those FNG type questions.  Have I told you about Unicorns?

I recently went through a completely frustrating FNG experience.  On day 1 I was pointed to a desk.  My PC was there, but it was stripped down to the bare essentials.  Pretty much an out-of-the-box PC. It was completely stripped and rebuilt.   I had to install a bunch of software and various tools that I would need to do my job.  They gave me a list of links.  It took me  a day to get everything installed.  Now I’m ready to be productive right?  Not so fast.

Now comes the application.  I’ve never seen it before and have no clue how it works.  It’s a web application, but beyond that…no clue.  Not that it matters, I have no log on credentials anyway.  The paper chase begins.  I begin looking for anything, printed or online, to tell me how this thing is supposed to work.  Training departments are usually a great source for this kind of information so I stop by for a visit.  I’m told training materials are available on the company’s shared drive and to feel free to help myself to whatever I need.  Cool!  But wait –  I soon discover, as the FNG, I have no access to the shared drive.  The frustration begins building.

Day 3, Productivity so far – zero.  OK, it looks like I finally have all the access I need.  I can now successfully log on to the application and I can get to the training materials on the shared drive.  I find some helpful information that I want to print out and pin to my cube wall for future reference.  I’m not connected to a printer.  To make matters worse – the “IT guy” is in Atlanta.  I finally get connected to a printer only to discover it’s not the right printer.  Another 1/2 day wasted!  Crank up the frustration a bit more! 

On to the application.  I basically figure out how it works, but as the FNG I have tons of questions.  I ask for some assistance but no one is very anxious to help.  I ‘m definitely feeling the cold shoulder.  When all else fails, talk to the boss.  Again I feel like I’m intruding on someone’s busy day.  But hey, I’m a relatively smart guy.  I’ll figure it out.  I’m feeling completely useless and my frustration has about hit its peak.

The cold shoulder continues.  One of my “team members” comes in the next morning, says good morning to the team member sitting next to me but totally ignores me.  That’s it – I’m done.  It’s obvious I’m now on my own. Needless to say,  the engagement is over.  It lasted a total of 3 of the longest weeks of my life.  I’m drifting between relief, depression, and being down right p*”d off.

It doesn’t have to be this way!  The next time you bring on a FNG think about your experience.  How did you feel?  What would have helped you?  What would have made it easier?  Assign, or be a mentor to the FNG.  Help them get assimilated.  At least take them to lunch.  Lastly, follow-up with them often and see how they’re doing.  Remember when you were the FNG!



  1. Markus says:

    Why do companies do that? I have experienced coming into a big company as the same time as 50(!) other people and everything was prepared: Access to the buildings, domain accounts, training plans … you name it.

    The next job I started was the complete oposite. I was sat on a chair in front of a machine and told “Test this”. Well I had a half day introduction how not to break the test machine (not the software) and that was it. No being shown around, no introduction to the other ten or so people sitting around me … .
    I’m now in Italy and this seems to be normal conduct here. Very strange.

  2. ric hill says:

    Sounds horrible. How did it end. Are you still there_

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