We’ve all asked the question at some point, right? Or maybe you were the FNG, and it was being asked about you. For those not in the know, FNG is the acronym for “F%&*$#g New Guy”. Obviously the last word could be “Girl” as well, and in today’s world of non-binary gender association, maybe this acronym will eventually morph into FNP where P stands for “Person”. In any case, let’s take a closer look at what it means to be the FNG and keep the classic version intact for this discussion.
I haven’t been the FNG too many times. I mean if you don’t count part time odd jobs in high school or college, I’ve only had 3 jobs that I would consider to be my career path. After college, I eventually managed the bar/restaurant that I had worked at through college. When it was time to move back to the Twin Cities, I took a management position with Famous Dave’s. I was certainly the FNG in that role with that organization. My stint there was less than a year when I took the Bar Manager position with The Local (Cara Irish Pubs). This was another case where I was the FNG. However, my tenure with the company would go for over 17 years where I saw my fair share of FNGs come through. When I left Cara last year and eventually launched my own firm, I guess I was the FNG again. Although, one could argue that role doesn’t really exist when you’re self-employed.
I did, however, very recently get to experience the FNG perspective again. For the better part of the past 20 years, I have coached Peewee (12/13 year old) hockey with one association. I didn’t stray from that association once and only coached a different age group on one occasion. For this season, that all changed. I committed to coaching at the association for the community in which I live. And in addition, I’m coaching the age group of Squirts (10/11 year old) with whom I’m have had no prior experience. So… why am I telling you all of this?
It can be difficult making the transition to something new. That something new could really be anything like a new software program, a different vehicle, morning routine… or a new job. It can sometimes be a little intimidating to be the FNG. Now that I place people with organizations that are new to the candidate, I am creating FNGs on a regular basis. I think it’s important to touch on some key points that will ease the transition and lead to a long-term successful realignment:
- Methods to the Madness. I love this saying and probably overuse it, but it’s true. When you first arrive and begin to learn new ways of doing things, resist the urge to comment or disparage the procedures. Until you have a full grasp on the “what and the how”, you are not ready to challenge the “why”. That is not to say that you can’t ask why, and of course you should, just ensure that you are doing so in the vein of better understand vs. changing the system.
- False Assumptions. How many times have you heard your trainer/co-worker generalize and/or remark negatively about a manager or another team member? Don’t fall for it, it may or may not be true and is not fair to that person. Interact with that person directly and decide for yourself after a series of opportunities.
- Listen, Take Notes & Ask Questions. Often people training you must do so while still accomplishing the objectives of their jobs. Sometimes they are not even compensated additionally but do so out of loyalty to the company or their own personal code. Give them the respect they deserve by listening and taking notes as needed. Asking for clarification shows you are paying attention and digesting the information. Their time is also valuable, and they will appreciate the efficiency.
- Embrace the Culture. Make it a point to learn, know and apply the Vision/Mission/Values statements if they are provided. And in all honesty, I would hope that you would’ve gone over these during your interview process. Over time, you may find yourself out of alignment with these statements. However, it is important to genuinely give effort in embracing and attaining them from the start. Most everyone is employed for financial necessity; however, most people leave an organization due to culture issues. Relationships are a 2-way street, you need to at least do your part.
- Smile More. Yep, I put it there. And I know that is going to upset some people given the negative light in which this critique/direction is often delivered. However, there are numerous studies that indicate the positive effects smiling will bring about for you and others around you. Our industry is still an experiential one for the most, but it is moving more and more towards automation and removing the human element. However, there is still an innate need for human to human interaction which at this point automation cannot fulfill.
Transitioning to a new job and/or organization can be daunting, but it is also a time to learn more and grow yourself both personally and professionally. Becoming a part of a new group and culture will be an essential part of that transition. And eventually, you will become integral in the formation of that culture.
Joshua Petzel – Managing Director