Just before the tech boom, I was interested in working for a particular company in San Diego. Fortunately, at the time, they were in a hiring frenzy. I shamelessly pursued employment there, submitting resumes every couple weeks, tapping my friends who worked there, even hiring a placement consultant to help me reach my goal.

I got the job.

Eventually, it was a dream job. It offered autonomy, responsibility AND resources, training possibilities, learning opportunities, and the perfect blend – for me – between tasks and people.

But the first 4 months were horrible.

I’d gone from a friendly, small business environment where people greeted each other daily and kept customers happy, to the engineering division of a rising wireless technology company whose employees were the most task-focused people I’d ever met.

Due to youth and inexperience, I interpreted this environment change on a personal level.

Working With Aliens

One evening, after hanging up on an especially frustrating phone call with another department, I burst into tears. My office mate – a nose-to-the-keyboard software engineer – inquired what was wrong.

“I don’t belong here!” I wailed. “People don’t say hello in the hallways, they send email messages but won’t talk to me, I don’t know the right questions to ask tech support, and my boss is so…distracted that he doesn’t even know what I’m working on!”

“Of course you feel that way,” she said. “We are like aliens to you!”

And she was right. They were. I didn’t understand what made them tick, or what they valued, or how they made judgments. I didn’t realize that their “unfriendliness” was in response to stress, or that my propensity to dwell on details was causing my boss’ eyes to glaze over when we interacted.

I figured all that out over the next few months, after I stopped focusing on me, me, me. But it took a bit of time and effort, in addition to my actual job responsibilities.

It would have been nice to have had a tool to accelerate that process.

A Tool, You Say?

Today, there is such a tool: The People Profiler.

And here’s what it does for you:

  • Make immediate connections with your fellow employees by understanding their particular needs, how to put them at ease, how to effectively guide a discussion with them, how to best present ideas to them, how to respond to any concerns they have, and how to gain their commitment.
  • Understand your co-workers’ strengths. These aren’t always obvious to us on a day-to-day basis, but knowing who to go to for particular skills saves time when you’re the new guy.
  • Know your boss’ main behavior goal. Is she focused on dominance & driving new solutions? Or is she more about steadiness, keeping things status quo? This is especially important if your behavior goals are different than hers.
  • Identify your new team’s specific stress behaviors. Some of us become analytical when stressed, others are hesitant and inflexible. Don’t take it personally (like I did), that’s just what happens when they are under stress.
  • Avoid annoying others. If you’re working closely with someone who judges others based on their ability to get things done efficiently and accurately, being disorganized or messy is going to rub them the wrong way.

While spending¬† several months struggling at my new job brought some valuable lessons, I don’t recommend that approach. Accelerating via The People Profiler, is a much better idea.

Even if you’re working with aliens.