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