As part of being a new hire, I was asked to share what I have learned in my
first few months at IBM. I decided it would be a good topic for a blog post,
and although it does not entirely fit the Emerging Techonology theme of my blog,
I think it will be relevant for others going into this field, or any other
professional field in general. The two biggest lessons I want to explore in this
As I started my new job, I had to establish new relationships with my coworkers
and managers. With little contact other than the interview process, I had to
get up to speed with the goals of my team, and figure out how I could personally
contribute to reaching our goals.
One of the hardest things for me was to objectively asses my strengths and
weaknesses as they apply to my role on the team. The biggest thing I
struggled with was opening up and being able to tell my manager that I have
no knowledge about this concept
whatsoever. It was frightening because I felt
like I should know this topic already, and I felt like people would judge me
as inadequate if I told them the truth. Everybody on my team knew how to do this,
and I didn’t
. It turns out that the biggest progress
I made in my first few months was due to the fact that I was able to open up
to my manager and tell him that he would have to start from scratch with me. As
embarrassing as it was to be open about my weaknesses, it set the stage to be
able to fully focus on what I needed to learn. Once we figured out
what I needed to work on, each step in the right direction was rewarding, and
the progress came fast, because we found the right problem to solve
How Do You Learn?
Aside from being honest with my manager, the biggest progress I made in my
personal growth was being conscious about how I learn best. Small things
such as figuring out what type of music helps me be more productive, add up.
For example, are you more productive listening to music with lyrics or without?
(I’m a no lyrics guy…boring I know!)
Also, for the programmers out there, just being conscious about the ratio of youtube videos, to blog posts,
to documentation that you read
is important. One thing that has helped me with programming
is making sure that I spend a bit of time with different resources before
diving very deeply into one. I used to watch 9-10 videos on the same
subject before checking out blog posts on the subject, but now I found that
I do better when I watch a couple videos, then read a couple blogs, and repeat.
Now this may not be the best way for you
to learn, but it works for me. For those of you that have standing desks: does
standing for a bit, then sitting for a bit, and repeating help you focus?
For me it definitely does.
I think all of these little things add up, and
will make a huge difference if you are conscious about them.
Anyways, I know this stuff is a bit dry, so I will
leave you with this quote from my favorite tennis player, which I think fits
pretty well with my idea of learning. “I have learnt to be
even more patient.”
- Roger Federer