Impressions of a newbie at HGB

By Rohan Xavier, Mar 28 2020
Being the newbie at work is tough – you have to get used to new work, new colleagues, a new boss(es) and new office culture.

I come from a football background, and in football, your initiation into a new group is well known. Sing a song. Generally at a meal in front of the entire team. Always acapella. No written lyrics. No phones. No help. Normally at least until the end of the first chorus.

It’s a rite of passage. A well-worn path. If you ask for audience participation it’s generally met with crickets, if you can get unsolicited audience participation you go down as one of the greats.

Most people have a go-to, one song up their sleeve that they can belt out at short notice if necessary. Mine is INXS: “Never Tear Us Apart”.

Sometimes I wish I could have sung that song in my first few weeks at HGB to fit in.

Instead, I’ve been given one hour to write a blog about caring for an office plant and my overall impressions of being the HGB newbie.

What’s your why?

Kylie and Jacqui are inspired by international marketing consultant and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, who encourages people and businesses to Start With Why.

I am a big fan of knowing your Why, but have to admit I was more ET The Hip Hop Preacher than Simon Sinek (If you’ve followed my profile on the HGB website you’ll know I’m an NFL fan, so here is ET blazing the Miami Dolphins on their “Why”.

Working here helps me achieve one of my “Whys” each day. People. And I’m happy to say that the family at HGB has been great so far.

Learning a new culture

I knew it was important to pay attention, observe how people operate and try and find some common ground. Thankfully I found a fellow cold shower enthusiast in Donna early doors so I was off to a good start.

But there were a number of other things to get used to: kitchen duty (I could work that out), daily stand up meetings at 10.03am (I can handle that), Ann “suggesting” that I should always take my laptop into meetings to type notes as I go (I’m a pen and paper guy, but I can make that work). Entering jobs into Harvest (huh?). Trello Boards (what?). And no double spaces after full stops (got it, Michelle).

Personality goes a long way

I don’t take myself too seriously, and at the end of my second week Monique told me I had to come up with an idea for an image to accompany my blog on the Sevens. Cue a hasty call to a friend to get a decent head prop in to mask my identity, but by then I’d set the tone for what my office persona was actually like.

Then there was the time I turned up at the office dressed (almost) exactly as the “other guy” in the office Adhish! Truth be told he is kind of my office style icon, and they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Side note – I did win “who wore it best” on the HGB Instagram poll.

I think my personality has come through in these early days, as I had to take a week off to go back to the Solomon Islands and a couple of people commented that there was a notable absence of office banter (thanks Kat).

The office itself is cool

The door is always open at HGB*. And just like it says on that door, we welcome open minds, passionate people, hot coffee and reasonably healthy snacks.

Hanna will have one of her office playlists cranking and setting the tone. Maybe you’ll join us in an impromptu office rendition of Keep on Movin’ by Five. Got a tech question? Drop Archana a line. You might only catch Sarah on a Tuesday though.

*Except when it’s not, which is pretty much before 9am and after 5pm, and on the weekends. Oh, and sometimes we close earlier on Fridays, especially when the air is warm and the vino cold.

Food and Fattie Friday

Then there is the food. Oh, the food.

Whether it’s the numerous Countdown runs for chocolate, watermelons and all things that Rachel craves, or the team lunches from Madam Woo (Kylie’s favourite) and Winner Winner (Jacqui’s suggestion), or Ann’s cakes at stand up when she accidentally overwrites office templates.

Normally, I’d be all over these. But I’ve taken to fasting. Fasting for 23 hours. Which makes it just that little bit more challenging. But everyone has been really good about it.

Thankfully, “Fattie Friday” seems to have been shelved for 2020, but if your husband brings KFC into the office Venessa I might crack (actually Vee, I’m still waiting for that fish curry you promised me).

Monique… is cool

She made me write this. Which should say a lot about the fun culture we have going on here at HGB – no one takes themselves too seriously and the team always welcomes newcomers with open arms.

If you’re looking for a career change, or as Otago Uni puts it ‘your place in the world’, make sure you check out HGB’s career page – we’re always on the lookout for cool new people to join our ever-growing team.


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