A group of professionals share a moment of team solidarity

What Happens When a Self-Proclaimed Hillbilly Joins a Tech Team

I’m not what you’d call technical by any stretch of the word. I’ve never been a programmer. I’m not obsessed with computers. I can’t stand social media, and I’ve never waited in a line to get the latest gadget.

Up until recently, my work has always been about getting my hands dirty with mechanical devices, and it has involved a lot of personal interactions. I’ve been a business owner for a long time as well. I’m someone who’s passionate about managing people and getting the most out of the team and the biggest return on investment in staff.

So, like I said, I’m not technical. This year, however, I entered the techie world in a big way when I joined the BitLoft leadership team. I was completely unsure what to expect of my new company.

On day one of walking into my new job, I had some very daunting expectations.

Let me tell you, all my expectations got turned upside down.

Expectation #1: I thought I wouldn’t be able to relate to my co-workers.

Nerds Only SignI thought it’d be like walking into an episode of Silicon Valley. If you haven’t seen Silicon Valley, basically, it’s a comedy show about a startup tech company. I thought the office would be full of cubicles and a bunch of hyper-caffeinated people who kept their heads down and didn’t talk to each other. I expected them to have few social interactions, and if they ever did raise their heads, I figured that the only thing they’d be interested in talking about would be high-tech things that would bore me to tears. I resigned myself to having to adapt and mold into being like everyone else, working independently.

The reality was the exact opposite. The people at BitLoft are super-social and even cool. They don’t just live and breathe computers and data 24/7. I can relate to them, and even more shockingly, they can relate to me.

I expected to be a remote project manager who was generally excluded on a personal level. Instead, I was welcomed and included.

Expectation #2: I assumed the culture would simply be “work hard, go home, repeat.”

I didn’t expect the video games, the music, and the social media. I didn’t expect to see someone with a Twitch.tv stream running on their desk while they type up information. I didn’t expect the beer or the laughter.

It’s different from what I expected but also different from anything I’d ever experienced before. I’d have thought that with so many distractions, productivity would go down, but this group of people is outstandingly productive. I know I can go to anyone, tap them on the shoulder with a project, and expect a great product even under high-pressure deadlines.

Expectation #3: I figured everyone would display superior intelligence and that I wouldn’t understand a thing.

Expectations versus RealityI had a feeling that I’d walk into a room full of smarty-pants techies and that I wouldn’t understand what the heck they were talking about. I figured it would take me months or longer to get comfortable with the lingo.

I was right…about the first part. They’re all smarty pants.

Tech involves a lot of terms and acronyms, no two ways about it. I didn’t understand what people were talking about at first, and it seemed like a large mountain to climb.

The mountain wasn’t that bad, though. I got up to speed in a matter of weeks on the projects and important points, largely thanks to the people around me.

Expectation #4: I thought I’d have to struggle alone to learn the things I needed to know.

I expected I’d just be the outsider getting thrown into the mix without a hand to help me along, but everyone was willing and ready to teach me what I needed to know.

At first, my expectation of “I gotta figure it out alone” DID cause me to struggle, but that was just due to my own pride. I found it hard to ask questions of the people working for me because I didn’t want them to think less of me. So to prepare for some of those early meetings, I tried to study up so that I could walk in knowing and spouting off the techie details, like “cryptocurrency mining systems.” I spent hours on research, and it wasn’t a good use of my time. But then gradually the people around me showed me that I could rely on them to fill me in and get me up to speed.

In the beginning, I asked questions only when I got desperate, and I asked them only for the sake of getting the project done.

These days, I ask my questions first to make better business progress and do research after because I want to grow as a person and a businessman.

Reality #1: This turned out to be a great opportunity for personal growth.

Normally, I hate being wrong. Most people do, so that’s pretty natural. But you know what? I’m sure glad all these expectations I had turned out to be unfounded.

Welcome Aboard

Josh Headlee is an Executive Vice President at BitLoft. His goal is to show others how BitLoft can exceed all their expectations. Contact Us!

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