Watch for Corporate Landmines

Once I started a job that had a current employee still operating in the position I was hired for when I arrived. As a matter of fact, he had no idea I was coming. He was doing the job in the interim, wanted the job and had no idea that management had hired me for the job until—

The day I called the office prior to my office start date and introduced myself. I needed to know some information regarding transitioning after my training was complete. What a shock it must have been to that employee that he was being replaced. He was a jerk, so I understood why his personality may not have been a fit. But after spending time in his shoes, I wondered which came first…the chicken or the egg? Were “jerkish” tendencies thrust upon him because of the work atmosphere that he was exposed to? Potential landmine.landmine logo

After I found how poorly he was treated (months later, mind you) it “screwed in” a few lights bulbs for me. There are land mines to watch for that will teach you about the organization that you are becoming a part of. They have you on probation for the #first90, but you should have THEM on probation as well. So before you jump ship, leave your current position with your reputation in tact (in case you need to go back) and when you arrive at your new position. Be watchful. Here were the two more evident landmines that almost took me OUT within the #first90

Landmine #1: In the case of my situation above, I learned that this corporation was extremely horrific at communicating the things that are important and crucial to success. Management did a poor job at every level in every department of discussing paths, expectations, plans and things that affected their team directly or indirectly. As a result, turnover was always high, morale was always low and employees used the organization for as long as they could stomach it as a stepping stone to bigger and better.

The fix: Changing the culture starts with you. Even within the first month..It was evident that the entire culture at this organization was poisoned with the inability to confront issues head on. So, instead of falling in line with the status quo–be a meeter and a documentor. Meet people face to face and get clarity directly from the one giving instructions. Do not settle (if possible) for your boss telling this person, to tell this person, to tell the girl next to you to tell you..ANYTHING. If nothing else, go back to the originator and confirm that you got the message and “heard” correctly. Use email as a “documentor” of clarity. Trust me, going back to an email has saved my sanity many days when others tried to make me think that I was missing the boat.

Landmine #2: No clear lines of responsibility. I’m all for team work. I’m all for not working in silos, but I am also a proponent of accountability for tasks under your umbrella. Its almost impossible to do your job successfully if no one “including you” knows exactly what you are responsible for doing. If the lines of responsibility are always blurry, knowing who to hold accountable will also be blurry. It goes back to number 1(communication). However, as an employee make it your responsibility consistently to get clarity on what your role is. Otherwise, soon you will find yourself doing multiple positions accountable for them ALL, while only getting compensated and recognized for ONE.

The fix: Before the #first90 days are done you should have an even clearer portrait of your role, Set a meeting with your boss and | or HR director to review what was on your job description and any discrepancies or differences you see between what you have been assigned versus what you have been hired for. This is a good time to also review ideas for where your role could “go and grow” in time. However, being a multi-super employee juggling everything they throw at you can leave you frustrated and your new employer disappointed. You cannot do everything well forever. Eventually your cape will wear out and the honeymoon will be over. So care enough about YOU to ask the hard questions and keep seeking answers until your role makes sense to YOU.


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Camille D. Jamerson is an award winning published author, world class speaker, a multipreneur and a champion for community service. She is a dynamic teacher and trainer, whose wit, humor, and perspective have intrigued audiences for over 15 years. She is also a gifted administrator and service excellence champion. Renowned for getting people “unstuck” and moving past their current situation..Camille uses personal experiences, wild examples, skits, shock factors and dramatization to hammer in her message of hope, diligence, corporate excellence and a “comeback” spirit.