TESTING THE WATERS: The Corporate Honeymoon

The first several weeks working at a new corporation are full of hope, positivity and high expectations for a bright future, full of benefits and 401k savings. You’re beginning a potentially long-term relationship, and you sincerely want to give it your all. But, if there’s anything that romantic comedies have taught us, it’s that relationships are messy, and nothing is as simple as it seems in the beginning.  Here are a few things you can expect to happen in the early days of a new corporate relationship:

Corporate Orientation

Upon your arrival, the Human Resources people are extremely nice, warm, welcoming, and they’re  full of [fake] enthusiasm about your joining the company. After you sign all the horrendously long and tedious paperwork (an experience that will at least prep you for difficult life moments like a prenup, or divorce), the overly nice HR person sends you to orientation.

The Onboarding Video

In a room with dimmed lights you’re shown a corporate video that says how INCREDIBLY AMAZING the company you’re joining is, and how important employees are to its success. And now YOU are a part of this! Lucky you! The video usually has emotional music with extremely cliché words such as:


See what we did there? Making those words into a thumbs-up art?

The video also will likely feature a lot of cheesy, royalty-free corporate stock images of smiling employees. Of course, the people featured are of all races, genders and ages in order to assure newcomers that they are joining a highly diverse and inclusive workplace (but mostly, to not get sued for discrimination.)

Even though deep down you know all that’s pretty much BS, you’re still all pumped up, like this picture you just saw at the end of the video:

 Who knows? Maybe this place IS different! Maybe you’ve actually found THE ONE. After orientation is over, the HR person smiles, accompanies you to your new workspace, and once your new boss arrives, kindly wishes you well and leaves (while shining a sinister smile and whispering under his/her breath: “let the games begin”).

First Impressions

*Imagen pareja laptop

During those first few days (and even weeks), you will likely be the target of exaggerated kindness: from your boss, coworkers, employees (if you’re a boss), and pretty much most everyone you encounter in the hallways or at meetings. But for some reason, behind that cheerfulness and acceptance, you suspect something is off, like a corporate version of Jordan Peel’s hit horror movie, Get Out

But truth be told, during these first weeks, you are also guilty of trying to appear be extra decent. Your face is on the verge of collapse due to all that smiling, and you’re exhausted from constantly going out of your way to be way nicer than you really are. (Who knows, maybe you’re the batshit crazy one who will terrorize them!)

In any case, the goal in this initial and crucial phase is to strike a balance between coming across as confident and intelligent, as well as humble, down to earth, and approachable. (No sweat.) The Corporate Honeymoon is far from sweet and romantic, but you can get through it by following these simple guidelines:

Corporate Honeymoon Surfing Strategies 

  • Don’t trust anyone. People’s true intentions will not be clear during this initial period. So, no matter how much of a connection you made with Phil, don’t share more than necessary. No matter how tempted you feel to tell him your funny joke about what the President tweeted last night, or how much you’d like to discuss the shortcomings of the company culture you’ve noticed, or the fact that Irma doesn’t wash her hands after using the toilet, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.   Later on, you and Phil may no longer be in B.F.F. mode, which may lead him to publicly share things that you said in a casual convo. during your second week at the office. As many romantic comedies –and terror films– have taught us, first impressions are not always accurate. Embrace crisis. When your department or company goes through a “shit just hit the fan” crisis, see it as an opportunity to see how people react and behave. You may be able to detect early on who your potential allies are and/or who will throw you to the sharks at the slightest chance. 
  • Be a good listener. If people find you open and empathetic, they may feel they can trust you, which may often lead to venting.  Although that may be time consuming and exhausting, when others vent it’s quite likely you are getting useful information making a strong emotional connection that you can use against your future enemies will help you understand peoples’ strengths and weaknesses.


First impressions at work can change dramatically. When shit hits the fan, true colors tend to surface, and many times those colors ain’t pretty! Just like in Game of Thrones, people who start off as sweet and innocent can turn into cold-blooded assassins; people who seemed evil in the beginning may end up totally saving your ass (shout out to Melisandre); and others are evil from the very beginning and stay evil until the very end (sadly there are Cersei Lannisters in the corporate world.) Ultimately, everyone is playing the game to see who gets the closest to the Corporate Iron Throne (without getting murdered along the way.)