MU Extension new employee orientation
Survival of the fittest: common-sense ways to get started
- Build on small success — build credibility.
- Have the attitude that it is not so important who does it or
who gets credit for it, but that it gets done.
- Develop a resource base. Find out what you can do and what
resources are available. Visit all the agencies related to your
field. Find out what they do and whom they serve. Let them know
who you are and what you do.
- Get known before you worry about doing much programming.
- Find out who you are and what you are about.
- Act as a catalyst.
- Put together a canned program; make it fun and entertaining.
- Don't make fun of the community. Don't compare it to where you
are from. Don't judge, you are an outsider.
- Use existing resources for beginning programming (clubs,
agency clientele and groups).
- Be interested in people. Find out where they are coming from.
- Find good qualities in the community; keep from discussing the
- Learn the local history. Ask questions. Show you are
interested in them!
- Don't join organizations too quickly; take your time.
- Use OSEDA data. Spend the first several months getting
acquainted with the population and resources in your community.
- Visit all the extension councils you serve. Let them know what
you have to offer them and that you are here.
- Ask seasoned staff for help. What can you do for them? Do
programs with them, piggy back if you can.
- Take on some things already being done. Use resources already
in place, eventually you can develop your own.
- Build networks with other staff. Get to know them personally
as well as professionally.
- Toot your colleagues' horns. Help other staff when you can.
- Pay attention to names.
- Everyone's questions should be addressed; if you do not have
the resources to adequately address the situation, find out who
- Find something they need that you do well and do it, get known
for it. Help them where they are, and they will begin to trust
- Be willing to do things no one else will, at least in the
- Earn their trust. Do not force yourself into situations.
Remember those that are from the community have a history and
you don't. This can be both positive and negative.
- Don't reinvent the wheel.
- Find out who is who and who does what in the community. Do not
gossip. Many people are related and you may say the wrong thing
to the wrong person.
- Network. Get involved in the community. Show you have an
interest that goes beyond your job. Sometimes that means staying
after meetings just to "schmooze."
- Find out programs other staff are doing that you could work
with them on — teamwork.
- Expect frustration.
- Have a good sense of humor.
- Be interested.
- HAVE FUN!
written by Kay Gasen & Suzanne Zemelman