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I recently took a position with a fairly large company. So far, I've worked with small companies (just a few employees) and startups so I've gotten used to a certain style of working.

I'm a bit nervous about what to expect and what to prepare for: what should I keep in mind as I transition into a larger corporate workplace?

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2 Answers 2

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  1. Learn the Organization

    How does the company make money?
    Who are the key customers?
    What is the organizations values?

  2. Learn the Politics

    Who are the movers and shakers?
    Who gets things done in the organization and more importantly how do they get it done?

  3. Get comfortable with the processes

    How are bugs and change requests tracked?
    What is the build and deployment process?
    What is the QA process and how are changes rejected?

  4. Learn the application

    What is the architecture?
    How is the application unit tested?
    Who are the various teams that work with the application?
    What does the application do (not just the components you work on)?

  5. Look for opportunities to improve, but go slow and work with the politics.

    This is where I have seen a lot of noobs fail. They come in and trash the existing processes, code base and tools. They fail to understand how the machine moves before offering up suggestions. They fail to work with the people that can actually influence changes. The become disillusioned and angry, which typically leads to dismissal or them quitting.

I have been right where you are before. The advice, through seeking answers to the questions, I give worked wonders for me. I was able to go from the outsider to one of the influencers in a short amount of time.

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thanks for the advice, I'm definitely not looking to go in there and be influential right away, more just to become a useful employee and soak up more knowledge so I think I'm in the right mindest on #5, I've "gone it alone" as a main developer for a startup and honestly it can be rather humbling (although I feel I delivered something of value to them) so I think I'm at least past the "know it all stage" :) –  programmx10 Jul 2 '11 at 2:02
    
This is a great comment. Definitely some great pointers there! –  user29981 Jul 2 '11 at 2:19
    
Ha, I'm just in the process of #5, became disillusioned and angry, and now I'm quitting and moving to a much smaller company. –  Luciano Jan 30 '12 at 13:28
    
Great answer... to the "processes" point I'd add, 'where do requests come from? How do they get approved (I.e. corporate resources allocated to work on those changes and not others)' - and where do those changes go when they are complete? Whose days are better because of the change, and which people care about, or hear about that? –  Rex M Mar 25 '13 at 3:35

Fit in with the culture: wear a shirt (or whatever the standard is), go to lunch with everyone. Turn up when everyone else turns up. Use the same tools they use (initially). There will be lots of non-nerds there, speak English to them :) Volunteer stuff only when asked. Use deodorant. Reply politely to all emails. Try to stay awake in boring, pointless meetings. Get to know your boss. Your job is to make him/her look good. Ask for a coffee session and quick review after you've been there for a few weeks. Periodically (maybe once a week) email your boss with a SHORT list on what you've been working on and list any possible issues. Dont be afraid to ask questions. Clarify what you're working on and show your approach and get feedback early. Be nice to everyone, from CEO to interns. Being nice will get you far.

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+1 for lunch/deodorant/staying awake/no volunteering. Be friendly to everyone, but don't become 'besties' with anyone for a long time. Don't trust the 1st judgement you hear about anyone else. The type of employee to complain about someone else to the 'new guy' is probably not a great team player anyway. –  Graham Jan 30 '12 at 20:22
    
Good advice too Graham :) –  LachlanB Jan 30 '12 at 21:38
    
Being nice is decent advice, but a lot here (" tolerate pointless meetings, get to know your boss") are sure fire ways to be the mediocre employee no one cares about enough to notice. Do you want to fly under the radar or flourish? Learn how to make meetings highly effective tools in your belt. Learn to leverage your boss as an asset for your agenda. Develop a vision and sell it. Pay attention to political power and align yourself with the players. Win over your peers, show them you'll fight for their interests. Establish power below and glad-handing above. –  Rex M Mar 25 '13 at 3:43

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