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  • Getting Up To Speed: How To Succeed At A New Job

    - Max Krembs
  • Learn the Language

    When beginning a new job, being able to effectively communicate and understand your peers is vital for your success, and each organization has its own jargon and language that you'll need to learn. Some of it might be unfamiliar industry standard terms that you can look up online, but other pieces of language might be purely internal terms that you just have to figure out from getting involved.

    I recently joined Cryptic Studios as a project manager in the core engineering team. We work with custom technology supporting our live games that have been running for several years, while also supporting projects in development. The language that I've been learning comes from many different sources: general software engineering concepts, the names of architectural features in our engine, and our actual player-facing features. As our company works with a number different intellectual properties, there's also language to learn coming from those fandoms and worlds, represented in our games in various ways. To make things even more fun, all of the above can be discussed using abbreviations or short hand, too!

    That's a lot of things to process, and I tried lots of things in my first few months to quickly bring my communication up to speed, each with a varying degree of success. Below are a few of the techniques that worked best for me, which I'd recommend to anyone who wants to come up to speed as quickly as possible.

    Write Everything Down

    I know that not everyone is good about taking notes, but I usually carry a notebook around to take notes in meetings and hallway conversations, and I find those notes invaluable. For the first month or so on the job, I wrote down literally every term I heard in every conversation, with a definition if I could get it easily. My notebook became a sort of glossary for me where I could look up terms as I wrote and read emails or sat in meetings discussing projects. I also usually spent 30-45 minutes at the end of each day searching the Internet and our internal wiki to fill in any blanks in my notes and improve my understanding of things I'd already documented. This extra effort and time allowed me to quickly start contributing to conversations and follow along in broader meetings.

    As a side note- I also used my notebook to help learn names of my new co-workers. In every meeting I wrote down names and roles of people who were there, helping speed up the process of recognizing who those people were when reading and sending email. This was particularly important for my role, since our core engineering department works with every other team in the studio, and there were a lot of names, faces, and jobs to get straight!


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