Walking up to the revolving glass door of 100 Lower Thames Street on my first Monday morning at 4MAT was one of those moments where you feel particularly and overwhelmingly self-conscious. Especially when you know that beyond that door is an office full of people that you’re about to meet. And it’s an open-plan office, so that essentially means meeting everyone in one go…but does my hair look ok? Are my trousers tucked into my socks? Am I even wearing the right thing? All these questions and more, in varying degrees of ridiculousness, flooded into my mind.
But then it was too late to concern myself with thoughts such as these as Emma appeared by my side to lead me into the office and show me to my desk. Deep breath, smile nicely, no not that nicely, you don’t want to scare them. Faces turned towards me, total strangers at that moment and busy getting on with their Monday morning catch ups. And then I was off, on the whirlwind that has been the last few weeks.
My first day was a blur of new faces, names, things to remember. Monday mornings were the company scrum or meeting followed by my individual team scrum. But no other team had an individual scrum, did they? Or did they? Oh I don’t remember. I’m sure someone will kick me out if I wander into the wrong meeting. Then it was a walk through of the company set-up and the kitchen, of course a vital lesson to remember. Fruit is yours for the taking but not other people’s food, obviously; likewise, you can have beer on Fridays (after four mind you) and water all day, every day; but whatever you do, DON’T use someone else’s mug. Best to just stick with the plain white ones for now.
So mug drama safely avoided, it was time for the various inductions into people, IT systems, HR, marketing, content and the many other aspects of 4MAT that I haven’t even got round to finding out about yet. Most of the jargon used over the first two weeks went straight over my head while I just sat there, smiled and nodded when asked for my opinion. If in doubt, smile and nod.
I feel like they must have been bemused by my silent acceptance of everything I was told. But the smiling and nodding was all part of a plan to give me the time to process new information. I spent nearly every night of my first week falling exhausted into bed, my brain overloaded with information, desperately trying to match faces with names and job roles with faces.
But then the second week started and the names started coming more easily, the words began to make sense and I started writing stuff. Just the odd blog post here and a page or two there but it was enough to give me the confidence to speak a little, engage a little with what I was being told and even offer an opinion in a meeting. I still haven’t worked up the courage to join in the table football games but I imagine that will happen around week four. Also seeing as I’m really quite terrible at table football, I think it could even be worth waiting a little bit longer than that.