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Asking for help from teammates to get on-boarded

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at TikToka year ago

I've been struggling with onboarding at my new job.

I'm part of a new team; my only other teammate recently joined. Many related docs are not in English & the translation is weird & confusing often. This makes revamping up independently super hard for me. I try to find that concept in an English doc from any other team, and that's my way of understanding something. But it puts a lot of overhead because I basically now try to understand the work of a lot of related teams too. And often it is much more time for me.

My manager has a lot of people report to her. I had a 1-on-1, and I explained the situation. She asked me to ping her for help. I often have stupid questions, and I feel weird asking her directly. So I asked her to assign me an onboarding buddy from the related team. But from her reply, it seemed like I should talk to everyone on the team & figure it out. I think she wants me to be more independent.

Now I ping people in my team or close teams to ask for help. I have found most or nearly all people to be super-helpful, and they relate to being in the same situation once. But I feel guilty about asking people for help. I feel it doesn't do much for them. As with most, I don't have a team meeting where I could thank them & their/our manager would notice it.

How should I better navigate this situation?

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 2
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    a year ago

    Seems like you’re in a tough position. Sometimes it can be difficult to onboard, but especially in another language.

    My best advice is to use the team for support like your manager advised. Yeah, you might not be able to pay it back to them at the moment, but keep track of who you reach out to for help for two reasons:

    1. You can ping their manager and your own to let them know how they helped and that could potentially positively impact their performance review
    2. When you are adequately ramped up, you can reach back out to them to potentially collaborate on projects or for knowledge share. After spending a couple months working on things, I’m sure there’s some value/insights you could provide from the perspective of someone that’s just onboarded. Maybe you have some suggestions on how onboarding could be improved
  • 1
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    Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google
    a year ago

    Having language difficulties is very tough; I've seen many people struggle with the reverse where there's a ton of English. Regarding this, I think it's important you find someone who is capable in both English and the other language(s) to help you. You needs mentors who are core to the organization especially in situations like this. See this discussion for making use of mentorship.

    I asked her to assign me an onboarding buddy

    Well, you don't need anyone to assign you a mentor! You can just ask for people's time. If people don't want to help you, they will reject, and that's ok!

    This class on how to onboard basically covers all the main points of effective onboarding. It's important to note that being independent and asking questions goes hand-in-hand.

    But I feel guilty about asking people for help. I feel it doesn't do much for them. As with most, I don't have a team meeting where I could thank them & their/our manager would notice it.

    While relationships you build do need to be 2-way street eventually, it might help to realize that people who help you (especially those take extensive time to mentor you) will get credit for it during performance season, especially if you make a point of giving thanks to them via their manager (who might be the same as yours). There's really no need to worry about it - some people also intrinsically like talking to and helping people. Additionally, remember those who helped you and (1) help them back (2) pay it forward by helping others.

TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a short-form video hosting service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes
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