I really liked the career-tools podcast "New Job Day One - Do It Yourself" because most of those steps are obvious: find your team, security etc.

Whats a good way to get to know the job, the systems, processes, the details.. without upsetting the established order of how things are done here?

My employer is paying many thousands of €'s to train me to become a Sonic ESB Administrator. They already have some ESB systems implemented here.

In order establish my duties i'd like to interview/talk to my collegaues about their work. I would like to know what they do, why they do, what systems are implemente, what is connected to what, who is doing what where and when.. After meeting everyone one day1, and threw these questions at my direct colleague he told me in short words to not waste his time, other colleagues had the "are you @$^! crazy"-looks on their faces. Most of them have been working here >=8 years. Maybe some ppl might feel threatened by my enthusiasm?
As sub-contractor I want to figure out my role/position in this 100% technical 100% male dominated environment.

jhack's picture

You're a sub-contractor, not an employee, and for better or worse, full time employees may treat you less well. Often contractors are expected to know ("why bring in a contractor who doesn't know their stuff?!") and teaching them is considered a waste of time because they'll just leave soon for the next contracting job. Sorry if it sounds harsh; I've seen that set of beliefs in action. You need to be aware of how others see you.

That said...

Second, you should be focusing on how you can help them, not how they can help you. You will learn along the way if you ask them how you can make their jobs easier (they'll likely point to the least efficient or most manual processes, which is fine place to start if you want to understand the whole thing.)

There is a podcast for managers on this; if you're not a manager, you might need to modify the approach, although the ideas are good ones nonetheless:

John Hack

Davis Staedtler's picture


"Servant Leadership" is a profound and inspiring book to read on this subject. Think of yourself as a steward to the people and the resources that keep the business thriving. Stewardship will aim your heart in the right direction, and help your delivery of discovery questions.