We’ve All Been the Newbie
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, so they say. When I first started walking the well-beaten path of the freelance copywriter world, I found myself wearing the Newbie hat for the first time in some years. It’s a hat I’ve worn before, and so have you. No matter the walk of life, we’ve all been the new kid. The weird kid. The outsider. It got me thinking about certain types of people I’ve encounter as a newbie.
1. The Bastardised Soldier
Maybe it’s my own military background that helped come up with this title, but even if you’ve never served, I’m willing to bet you’ve met The Bastardised Soldier in at least one of your workplaces.
The Bastardised Soldier feels they’ve clawed their way up in this dirty old world – their experience has made them wise, and tough to boot. They’ve bled their own blood, tasted their own sweat and in a very secret, secluded spot, cried their own tears. The Bastardised Soldier made it despite all those bastards who went before them, and in the process has become a bit of a…bastard. Bastardised Soldiers are so institutionalised they wear their bastardry as a badge of honour.
And these bastards’ll be buggered if they’re going to let some soft little newbie avoid going through all the crap they had to go through. The Bastardised Soldier has a ‘Suffer in your jocks, newbie’ mentality.
2. The Greedy Chef
Have you ever met a Greedy Chef? I’m not talking about boring stereotypes like the Chef who eats all the food, or that joke about not being able to trust a skinny Chef. I mean figuratively – Greedy Chefs are littered throughout society. The Greedy Chef is the person who has reaped, or is reaping the benefits of all the helpful information other people have given them along the way.
Unlike the tight-lipped Bastardised Soldier, the Greedy Chef wants to be seen as magnanimous; they’ll even give you a recipe. Only they’ll leave out just enough of the crucial ingredients to make sure your recipe pales in comparison at best, and at worst, is a complete and utter flop. The Greedy Chef is easily threatened. They want you to come to the table; on the proviso that whatever you cook does not look, smell, or taste better than whatever they’re serving up.
3. The Micro-Manager
Fair play, you don’t need to be a newbie to encounter The Micro-manager. But it can be even more frustrating trying to learn the ropes when you’re working with a micro-manager. The Micro-manager is sometimes a newbie of sorts themselves. A worker bee who isn’t a natural leader, and hasn’t learnt ‘managing’ is not synonymous with constantly checking and watching over the newbie’s shoulder.
Micro-managers seem to come at all levels of experience though. They have convoluted processes in need of streamlining; the fact that no one gets their process makes them think they’re they only ones who are well-organised. This is pure delusion.
The micro-manager thinks they’re irreplaceable. They might even resist taking flex-time, annual leave, long service leave, and – annoyingly – sick leave. They’ll sniffle and snuffle, cough, sneeze and croak their way through their flu-filled day because in their mind, no one can do the job as well as they do.
Last, but not least. These guys are like diamonds:
4. The Mentor
True mentors are hard to find. Thinking back, the couple of people who fit that bill didn’t show up in my life until after I had left the paid workforce and entered the strange continent of Motherhood. Mentors know the nuances of when to give, when to listen, when to push or tell you to pull it back, when to be hands-on, when to stand back. The Mentor wants to set the newbie up so they can grow and make their own path to success. The Mentor doesn’t pretend they’re all-knowing. They don’t demand payback, but relate to you in such a way that you want to return the favour if and when the situation comes around.
Mentors know enough to reflect on their own experience, map out what they’ve learnt from their journey. They might see some potential in the newbie worth nurturing, but know ultimately it’s up to you, the newbie, to embrace your journey and rise to the challenge.
I don’t believe in giving credit to people who have done their darndest not to help, but if you can learn how to deal with number 1 through 3, it will make you stronger down the line. Especially if you’re lucky enough to meet a mentor too. You’ll leave the Bastardised Soldier behind in the trenches; find richer ingredients than anything the Greedy Chef has scribbled down; learn to manage the Micro-Manager – and you’ll be stronger for it. Perhaps it will even give you what you need to be someone else’s Mentor one day.
I could have made this list longer! What titles would you add??
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