When our dog, Lumos, was young, we took him to puppy training. It started with Good Dog 101 and he loved it so much we went onto 201 and then Basic Agility!
One of the things the trainer said in that very first class was this: your new dog has a Puppy License. When older dogs are around him, they will put up with his antics—jumping and nipping and playing. But as he gets older, he loses his Puppy License, and you’ll notice the other dogs will quickly put him in his place if he gets a bit too rambunctious or playful.
I always think of this when we’re on a walk and meet a puppy along the way. Lumos will let the puppy, well, be a puppy. But at a certain age, he’ll only put up with it for so long before a short but definitive bark will settle the other dog down. “That’s enough! Time to act your age,” he seems to be saying.
When you start a new job, position, or project, you have your own Puppy License. Only we call it a Ramp Up Period.
During this period you are allowed to introduce yourself and ask lots of basic questions. You’re expected to, in fact. And your job is to gather a lot of information about your new world because before you know it, the time for ramping up is gone and you lose your Puppy License. You’re expected to have analyzed the information and come up with solutions, not ask more basic questions.
Here’s how to get the most out of your Puppy License:
- When introducing yourself, let people know who you are, how long you’ve been there, and what your role is. You are definitely not at the top of everyone’s mind. Don’t feel bad if they forget exactly why you called a meeting!
- Let them know you’re gathering information and may ask a few very basic questions. This way they won’t worry you don’t really understand what you’re doing.
- Ask them if there is anyone else you should be talking to, or any information that you need but haven’t asked for. People want their new colleagues to succeed. They also remember what it was like to be “the new guy.” And they enjoy sharing their knowledge.
Every once in a while you’ll run into someone who couldn’t be bothered with someone new. In this case, I save them for last. I gather as much information as possible so when I talk to this person, my questions aren’t so basic.
The next trick is moving from Puppy to Adult without spending too much time in Adolescence! But that’s a topic for another day.