How long does it take you to get comfortable at a new job. How long to figure out who is who, find someone people to have lunch with, and feel like you’re fitting in? Consultants do better at this that employees simply because they go into new situations a lot more often, but also because they aren’t there for the long term and they are (in theory!) coming in as an expert to handle a particular problem or two, so they get access to the people that care about those problems.
For those of us that keep a full time job, it can be months to feel like you’ve gotten acclimated. Maybe less if you’re really outgoing, maybe more if you’re really introverted, or land with the team that is all introverts. It can be a long time, and being human, it’s not a fun time. It’s good to get to the point where we can stop trying to figure out who has an agenda, who does the work, who will speak truth to power,and more. Then we’re part of the culture and life gets a lot simpler.
The timeline changes dramatically if you know someone. Then you’ve got a mentor and a connector. I’m amazed at the difference this makes,and it doesn’t have to be a high level person for it to happen. Obviously the more trusted and valued they are by the organization the more it helps, but even knowing ‘just’ a DBA or developer reduces that time span from month or weeks to weeks or days.
We don’t always get the option to take a job where we know someone. The bigger your network though the more likely you get the option, and the reward is more than just the next job. Something to think on when you’re deciding whether or not to build your network.