Starting a new job is hard enough

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So I was walking down the hall the other week and noticed that one of the offices was occupied by a guy I’d never seen before. I didn’t recognize the name on the placard outside his door, either. Baffled, I asked my colleague Josh, “Who the heck is that?”

Turns out the new dude had been here a few months already, and before that had worked for months out of our Washington bureau. I had no idea.

This has long been a pet office peeve of mine. New hires are sometimes announced with great fanfare, with gushing e-mail blasts to the staff about their prior accomplishments and, in the recent past, with what we here call “pours” (I know, so 1950s), which were Champagne toasts.

Other new hires aren’t announced at all. Or they’re lumped together in a group e-mail announcing a bunch of hires, sometimes up to a year after their start date.

It’s the same thing for promotions. The current editor of TIME has bumped up many of my colleagues, and for a time was sending congratulatory notices about their new posts and why they deserved them. Then the notices kind of stopped. I learned only recently of a bunch of writer-level promotions from scouring the masthead.

Why the discrepancy, you might ask. I’m not really sure. Under past management, these announcements seemed fraught with politics. Some new hires were to be boasted of–for instance, those who were stolen away from our competition. Other hires were kept under the radar–for instance, those that took place after some lay-offs.

Take me. I was brought back from Tokyo after months of pleading, a move management here only grudgingly approved. It was common knowledge among us foreign correspondents that management strongly discouraged us from making the jump to New York. Never mind a pour; the office manager showed me my office, and then I was completely on my own. No one checked on me; no one introduced me around; I wasn’t even shown the way to the loo. One colleague confronted me in the elevator bank months after my arrival with this query: “Who are you?”

Boo freaking hoo, right? I’m a big girl; I ought to be able to find the dang powder room on my own. But starting a new job is hard enough. Left entirely to my own resources, I lost time learning the deeply complicated mechanics, culture and workings of the place. I didn’t know when or where the meetings took place, and it was a couple weeks before I found an editor who would give me assignments. And to me, that’s not efficient management. You want a new hire to hit the ground running. Why wouldn’t you help make sure she can?

I’m not bringing all this up to whinge. Well, maybe a little, because it does bug the snot out of me. But what I really want is to canvas you all for your experience and opinions. How do your workplaces announce and introduce new hires? What works, what doesn’t? What’s the most effective way to make a worker feel welcomed?

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