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Seb Anthony

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I’m new to the job can you do it for me.


All too often I read on this and other sites posting such as " I've just got a new job as x and my problem is y I'm looking for help with.....". I was wondering how others react when they see these types of postings do they

a) see it as an example of a resourceful new appointee looking for help from the web and other sources.
b) see it as an example of a lazy appointee looking for someone else to solve the problem for them - someone who is unwilling to put in the time and effort to study from other sources - quick convenient fix via the web.
c) see it as a potential business opportunity for themselves.
d) see it as an example of an employer who has appointed someone without the skills or experience
e) see it as an opportunity to freely share their own expertise and display themselves as the expert.
f) see it as an example of someone who needs more training having come into a new job.
g) see it as an example of a very resourceful new appointee who will have solved a problem very cheaply and may even claim credit themselves.
h) see it as an example of someone simply trying to test the water and bring themselves into line with their competitors.

What do we see? Altruism? Opportunism? Laziness? Exploitation? Weakness? Easy option?

Just curious regarding the dynamics of how these and other forums interact with the real world.
Juliet LeFevre

10 Responses

  1. I asked first
    I asked first.

    I’ll wait for others then pass my opinion. Although its pretty easy to read between my lines, I didnt phrase it very objectively – too much holiday torpor


  2. No one reason
    I’m sure there’s no single motivation for this type of question. It will depend on who it is who’s asking. Therefore, how I view the person asking the question also varies.

    Sometimes it’s someone who’s unsure of the answer to a complex question and needs reassurance. Other times, the question is very basic and it can only be assumed that the ‘asker’ is someone who’s doing the HR function for a (probably small) company but isn’t actually an HR professional.

    On the other hand, some of the questions could easily be answered by looking at standard reference sources and the ‘asker’ is therefore either naive, lazy or just inexperienced.

    For myself, I choose to respond to questions which I find interesting and to which I happen to know the answer without having to undertake research (after all, my employers don’t pay me to do other peoples’ jobs for them!)


  3. I’m new to the job….
    Hi Juliet,

    I feel that you will probably encounter the full range on this website – and people may not always be new to the job either. I choose to believe, however, that most people will genuinely use this forum to seek advice on a problem or issue that they find genuinely challenging. I can say this from my own personal experience of the site – I have asked questions to help me find a starting point for a solution to a problem and then take it from there. The answers received are generally brief and to the point, and therefore will not usually provide the person posting the question with a full solution to his/her problem. The answers are very useful nonetheless and provide enough information to get you started. I have also provided responses to questions in the past and believe the questions are usually asked in good faith.

  4. Community of practice
    Hi folks

    Interesting reading this and we do need these reality check questions: the fact they can raise discomfort is what makes them interesting.

    May I add that for people in geographically non-central places, a virtual ‘community of practice’ is better than none at all.

    One of the highest-rated (Kiel Centre, Edinburgh, 2001) indicators of career resilience is the ability to source the development support you need, when you need it. This site can be one such source: it’s as good as we the punters make it!

    If you genuinely seek to maintain high performance in your chosen work over the long term, then you can’t do it on your own very easily. Mentoring, coaching, peer group or action learning set work are all vital tools for avoiding rust-out or burnout.

    I would also add that one of the clearest indicators of UNsustainable management / work practice is the notion that you ‘already know’ all the answers – Chris Argyris calls this the classic managers’ ‘double bind’ and it’s a real toxic-culture builder.

    Finally and on personal values, I prefer my ‘world view’ of other people to remain open rather than closed: i.e. rather than pre-disappointing myself by assuming participants are bad in some way, I do enjoy the good stuff – very much of the time.

    Kind regards

    Nick McBain FCIPD

  5. Any Answers – positioning
    Dear Juliet,

    Thank you for your comment. Any Answers is as you can see a lively forum that provides a platform for our members to network, share knowledge and experiences and find solutions to common problems. From time to time we do get postings of the ‘quick fix’ nature our basic policy as publisher and moderator is to allow these so long as they do not contain any overt advertising. It is important to remember that the site offers membership to all levels of seniority within the HR function, we will therefore expect some postings to come from more junior members, new members of staff and/or as Neil Tonks says a professional from a small business that is performing the function of an HR officer with no formal background in the discipline – in these instances we support and would expect questions that are aimed at the more basic level.


    Annie Hayes, HRZone Editor

  6. Reverse psychology
    Which one of your categorise A to h, does your reason for asking the question come under ?

  7. Learning community
    Hi Juliet
    The great advantage of Any Answers is that you can ask a question, however basic, specific or advanced, and open a door to the combined knowledge (and kindness) of members of this community. It could be that the question seems basic, but who can honestly say they haven’t had to say at some point: “this may be a stupid question but”? Maybe it’s because we’ve all been in that boat that so many in the community are prepared to answer. Monitoring the forum, I also see how often seemingly basic questions through up some creative and unexpected answers and discussions and of course, the community is made up of people who have different ranges of experience, which adds to that creative mix. My personal view is that TrainingZONE is a learning community and as learning professionals members are willing to share their knowledge and experiences, and judging by the feedback it is greatly appreciated.
    Claire Savage, Editor TrainingZONE

  8. wow – cynicism rules
    a) the answer to this depends on their motivation for asking in the first place
    b) Even if you get “an answer”, you still have to deal with implementing whatever solution you choose.
    c) these are generally easy to spot and involve suggestions to call/email etc
    d) does anyone ever know everything about everything?
    e) freely share their expertise….ego flaunting optional, usually
    f) as d)
    g) as a)
    h) as a)

    I do note that not everyone gets a response from posting a question….so opportunism, exploitation, laziness and easy options aren’t always available – I expect it depends on the question and who’s reading it.
    I’m interested in why you want to know! (Really)

  9. Philosophical
    Thanks for the wealth of replies.

    I’m interested because like Nicks comments its worthwhile questioning why we do things ocassionally.

    Secondly on another forum I work within I see a large degree of laziness, however I must stress that would appear to be dependent on the industry/marketplace its aimed at. HR and training professionals are comfortable with sharing knowledge and dont tend to “exploit” each other so much.

    Thirdly I was curious and wanted to find out more, as a result I learnt something (see previous para – this forum is different to others because of its business sector)- I enjoy learning things, I’m a trainer and a curious mind is helpful to me.
    I found a lot more about reciprocation in cyberspace here
    Thres also an interesting parallel with game theory ;anyone that has looked at game theory knows how effective tit-for-tat is in an altruistic society.

    Lastly I’m really curious as to the level and depth of information that people will share on the web. Company practices, policies and documents are often shared freely – it concerns me that employees (including trainers)do not adequately understand issues such as Intellectual Property and ownership/authoring responsibilities and readily share documents and publish secrets (working practices) on forums. Just look how easy it is to get a copy of another company’s evaluation sheets. However I’ve slightly wandered off subject.

    Just curious, no real agenda…but maybe just a contentious thought….if my employer caught me using our company time and phone to freely give away our competitive advantage to a competitor…..Oops I’ve said too much

    Sincerely, thanks for the wealth of replies.

    PS. I’ve since read that the psychologists say the answer in cyberworld revolve around e) – altruism and the kudos of appearing to be an expert.

    Which leads me roundly to the answer that maybe I should have looked further myself!


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