Friday, July 24, 2009

So you are new to Plankton

For a start let me be the first, and possibly the only, person to welcome you to this wonderful company.

In your first few weeks here you will learn a great deal about Plankton's products, business model and its future direction. Plankton believes an informed staff is a happy one, and it relies on the standard corporate communication methods of hearsay, rumour and assumption. As part of your induction training you will be shown an Organisation Chart detailing the various Managers, General Managers and Senior staff that you will report to. Note that this chart is drawn in pencil. Do not commit it to memory, as it is likely to change soon.

Regardless of your role, there are certain responsibilities that will be expected of you as a Plankton employee. These include, but are not limited to, accidentally using the “Reply to All” button on a company wide email, deleting entire tables from our development database and complaining to the DollarShop that we have run out of coke.

Do not be afraid to speak up in meetings. Every idea has value, and your co-workers will not ridicule you for your opinions as they will be too busy offering their own to listen to yours.

One word of warning, though. Many people have been at Plankton so long that they have forgotten what the real world is like. When speaking to someone who has worked here for 10 years or more, try not to mention other companies, or technology that is newer than 8 years old. This can excite and disorient some of the older employees to the point where they need to sit in a room with a dial phone and an abacus until they calm down.

So again let me say welcome to Plankton. We like to think we are one big family. We never clean our rooms, we spend too long in the bathrooms in the morning, and we argue over which TV show we want to watch. No one has got to the point of stealing someone’s boyfriend, but it won’t be long.

So you are leaving Plankton

It’s a sad day. Presumably. For someone. It’s your last day.

You may be given the opportunity to give a goodbye speech to the staff. Many see this as an opportunity to get things off one’s chest. If you feel you must do this, avoid blanket negative statements about the entire company. Remember some of us still have to work here. Instead, address individuals and provide positive feedback specifically for them such as:

  • Terry. I don’t care what Ryan says, I think your anecdotes aren’t at all tedious, and your personal hygiene is at least bearable.
  • Amanda. When I fantasise about having an office affair, you are usually the one I think about.
  • Ryan, I agree with you about Terry. If you want to get away from “Boring-Story-Stinky-Pants”, there may be a position open at my new company. I’ll send you an email when the dust settles.
  • Hannah. When I fantasise about having an office affair, you are usually the one I think about.

Don’t forget to mention at least two of the following:

  • This is easily the best place I have ever worked, and I’m not just saying that.
  • It’s the people that make this company special, and I’m not just saying that.
  • I think we have one of strongest products on the market, and I’m not just saying that.

Instead of a speech, you may send an email. If you do, be aware that most people who receive such an email simply use a word search to see if they are mentioned, and then delete the email if they are not. To make sure people actually read your email, copy they entire staff contact list in to the bottom of it.

When you leave you may be given a gift. Accept it with all due grace however remember that 78% of Plankton employees come back within 3 years, and you will be asked to return that gift “as new” if you do.

We will miss you. Until you come back.