Matt was a new college grad, eager to launch his career. While in his search for “the right job,” he took several temp assignments. In two very different, week-long roles he learned everything he needed to know about the type of organizational culture he wanted to work in. Both assignments were at top tier companies in Boston and involved being front and center for all the action–sitting at the receptionist’s desk! All day long, he did “grunt work” while people would come in for appointments or pass his desk on their way to meetings, the elevators, and the restrooms!
In one company, he was greeted on day one by an employee with, “Glad you are here; let me tell you a bit about the company. Here’s what we expect from you, and here’s how you can reach me if you have questions.” At the end of each day, that employee stopped by and said, “How did it go?” Other employees (at all levels) stopped and asked his name and a few even said, “You must be a new college grad. Where did you go to school? What are you looking for?” In other words, the “daily life” type of conversation I often write and speak about that leads to building rapport and everyday connections. In this first organization, he was made to feel comfortable, embraced as part of the organization and he felt valuable.
At the second company–yup, you guessed it. Matt was greeted with a manual and a list of names and extension phone numbers. He got a few minutes of instructions on how they wanted him to greet guests and answer the phone, and then Matt sat there–for 5 days. No one who worked there talked to him, smiled at him, or even acknowledged him–they just “rushed by.” In this second organization, he said, “All week, I was invisible.”
Now, someone reading this may be thinking: “Come on, it was a just a temp job– for a new grad, at a busy place.” But we have all had these Aha! Moments, when something looked like a great job, in which we would make a valuable contribution, but in reality we felt invisible. Matt learned early on that defining “good fit” is more than saying you work for a prestigious or globally ranked company.