On my first day at Reverb, I was terrified.
I had been at my previous company for six years and was very comfortably established. I knew who to go to for help, I had my lunch crew, and everyone knew about my Hello Kitty obsession.
But it took me a while to get there. It was a month before I started talking to people, six months before I began eating lunch with others, and a year before I revealed my love for the bow-wearing cat. Now, at Reverb, I had to start all over. This was when my coworker said to me: “You aren’t who you were six years ago.”
He was right. I didn’t have to wait so long to feel at home at my new job. I could do something about it. But what?
I started brainstorming ideas. What made my previous job so memorable? What made me happy and want to go to work every day? It was the sense of home – the amazing people and my Hello Kitty decorated desk. But how could I reproduce that in my new place?
Getting to know you
My first step was getting to know my coworkers. But how? Reverb is full of coffee addicts so I started by inviting people along on coffee runs. That gives you just enough time to talk to someone but not so much time that it becomes awkward. But that wasn’t enough because not everyone drank coffee.
That was when it occurred to me that the best way to most people’s hearts is through their stomachs. We have a pantry of yummy snacks, so it had to be homemade. I decided to bake some [ridiculously delicious - Ed.] chocolate chip cookie encrusted Oreos and bring them in.
The responses were great. My co-workers started to know who I was and I was able to have interactions with even more people.
Lunching with the ladies
One of the hardest things for women in a tech company is that there are so few of us. Since college, I’ve always been one of the only girls in the room and thought maybe other people felt the same way. I suggested we have a “Ladies of Reverb” lunch. Everyone loved it and we all bonded over some delicious Mediterranean food.
Decorating my desk
My next goal was to make my new place more homey. It occurred to me that when people look at my Sanrio-swag, it encourages them to start a conversation and get to know me. I thought, What if everyone at work decorated their desks too? It would give us all a chance to get to know each other and I would have an excuse to Hello Kitty-fy my work area.
[Keep your eye out for an upcoming post revealing how everyone, thanks to Chiao, Reverberated their work spaces. - Ed.]
On one of the coffee runs, we were discussing how the Peet’s card (a pre-paid card that everyone can use) goes missing all the time. “I bet if we put it in a Hello Kitty holder,” I said, “nobody would lose it.”
People laughed and said, “Sure, go ahead.” That night, using some old conference card holders, my Hello Kitty scrapbook kit, and my old Hello Kitty phone case, I made two Hello Kitty coffee cardholders. The next day, everyone was shocked. I couldn’t figure out if this was a shock of approval or dismay. Regardless, we now have two beautiful Hello Kitty cardholders and the cards rarely go missing.
Five months ago,the CTO at my previous job said: “You’re disruptive. You see a problem, you figure out ways to solve it. Keep taking risks, keep trying different things. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says no? Who cares?“
This new-found confidence is the difference between me six years ago and me now. Luckily for me, I keep working with people who are open to all my crazy suggestions and willing to try different things, which encourages me to keep being disruptive and try different things as well. Out of every hundred ideas I have, at least one will be useful. I’m sure of it.