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I started in a new position, in a new company last week, after 5 years in a similar position in an other company.

There are two other guys, both twice my age, doing the same job, and a manager in a remote location. My job is a new addition to the team, it has been just the two other guys for years

Moreover, there is an intern, who arrived the same day I did.

The problem is that my co-workers behave as if they were my superiors, asking me to allow them to check some documents before I send them (for example, the form to ask for a second monitor...).

For now, I have been indulging them, because I don't want to start on the wrong foot. However, it is really starting to get on my nerves, and I would like your opinion on how to navigate this.

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    @Jean-Pierre Is there a chance you are being overly sensitive? You have been there a week. – Gregory Currie Sep 16 at 14:43
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    There sure is :) – Jean-Pierre Sep 16 at 14:43
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    Is it possible that the coworkers have been assigned to mentor you on the company processes and culture? – shoover Sep 16 at 15:28
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    This could use a country tag, as it's very cultural. Age + Company seniority can make your coworkers automatically a higher "rank" in many cultures. Also, do you have any other examples? Having another employee cross-check forms is normal, even more-so if it's a more senior employee and new person – Mars Sep 17 at 0:21
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    Please add a lot more information so we can make more informed answers. Does doing the same job mean same position? Senior engineers and engineers may both do a lot of the same tasks. Why does the intern matter here? What else did they do that seems like they are acting as your superiors? What makes you think they are not your superiors? – Mars Sep 17 at 0:36
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It's not uncommon in some workplace cultures and systems, for there to be unofficial rungs on the ladder. In addition, it is not uncommon for existing employees to give directions to new employees. You have been there a single week. You're the new guy.

Before you decide to indeed get off on the wrong foot, find out what your expectations are from your manager.

In addition, you need to make sure you're not mistaking helpful advice for direction.

You also have a manager who is not colocated. Where as usually the manager may assist you in getting settled, they may have delegated that over.

If the most egregious thing you can find is them saying you should validate a form before you send it, maybe you should wait to see if there is a pattern of behaviour.

I do not subscribe to the notion that this is one of those things you need to "stamp out" in the first week. Nor do I think you should quit your job over something so trivial.

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    +1 It has only been one week. You do not (yet) need to play hardball. – user180146 Sep 16 at 14:48
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    Even if a manager was co-located, delegating the transition work to another person in a similar position is pretty normal. – Mars Sep 17 at 0:24
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    Not to mention, I've worked at places where Building Services would reject a request that wasn't filled out perfectly. Your new co-workers may be doing you a favor by making sure you get your second monitor right away (although, that seems like something your manager should have done before you arrived...) – corsiKa Sep 17 at 3:42
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    "In addition, you need to make sure you're not mistaking helpful advice for direction." This is the big one. "Validate a form" - we do this all the time for new employees, not to monitor them, but to help them out with bureaucratic hurdles and to avoid the negative experience of having your formal applications get thrown back for silly reasons. – xLeitix Sep 17 at 7:19
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Should I indulge my new co-workers?

In this scenario, it is definitely time to stop indulging them. The longer you do this the harder it will be to break them of the habit.

One thing to consider: Are you certain they are not following your manager's instructions? After you verify that point, simply start saying "I get my tasks from our manager".

In short, be helpful, be courteous as you don't want your coworkers to dislike you, but not subservient.

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    Upvoted for your "one thing to consider" comment. For all we know, the boss has instructed these two to act like this. Or, it may be inherent to the company culture/structure that more experienced staff are responsible for delegation or other "overhead." – dwizum Sep 16 at 15:54
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    This answer seems like it went from "please check these forms" to "if you check one more form, you will be their slave" in 0.2s. There is way too little info in the original post to answer with a "definitely." In fact, and maybe this is a cultural thing, but I don't even see anything remotely hierarchical here, just standard "get the new guy set-up" – Mars Sep 17 at 0:31
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Seniority is a big thing in some of the cultures. Seniority can be determined by multiple criteria: years in the field, at the company or physical age. The more complex the system the longer it takes to get used to even a little. A week is a short time in a company that has had multiple mergers and the intertwined systems would require their own subject in a college to make the new people useful even in the first months. This feeds also the culture of seniority to be about years in the company.

So basically it boils down to: Are you just used to different? For me it would seem so: they are twice your age having worked there way longer and it has been only a week and you are already questioning things. And for example, we consider validation quite highly because you have the power to tell them to redo their work and it is, therefore, the work of the manager, or a really senior people.

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You may be experienced and highly skilled in the general area, but there's a lot you don't know about your new company, where they keep things, how they like things done, and the office politics. It's easy to make a mistake if you just assume that everything should be done like it was in your previous job.

It may take a few months before you know enough to work without needing to ask about the things you know you don't know - and a few more until you stop being tripped up by things you don't know you don't know. Even after a year or two, there will be areas of 'ancient knowledge' that the old guys handle because it's hardly ever needed.

One week into a job, there's a huge amount of company specific stuff that you won't know. Think of their offers to check your work as offers to help you, rather than to interfere with your work. This is especially true of stuff like requests for monitors and so forth; your co-workers know how to write those requests so they get approved.

For some things, I'd expect them to stop checking your work after you've proved that you can do it. Once for easy things, maybe a few times for more important stuff. For others, company policy may be that work is always reviewed.

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    One week on the job? With respect, Jean-Pierre, that's not nearly enough time to "learn the ropes" in any company I ever heard of. Think of their offers to check your work as offers to help you, rather than to interfere with your work. This is especially true of stuff like requests for monitors and so forth: your co-workers know how to write those requests so they get approved. – O. Jones Sep 18 at 12:33
  • @O - thanks, I've incorporated that into my answer. – Robin Bennett Sep 18 at 13:19
0

Dev with management minor here.

The problem is that my co-workers behave as if they were my superiors, asking me to allow them to check some documents before I send them (for example, the form to ask for a second monitor...).

This is a time when they are possibly introducing forms and procedures of the company to you, which is a good idea. That is something you need to learn. But watch for a pattern of behavior. Later your training should get more technical and focus more on the tasks you should be doing. They will possibly be very easy tasks, ask that might be the only thing they have for you.

Don't assume things before you know the whole picture. In some cases training for the new guy can be slow.

If you want, you can talk (or email) your manager to get a general timetable of your training. Be aware the manager may not have an official time table for that yet, especially if it's a small company. In the beginning, for my current job, my manager just handed me jobs that were short and easy, just to get more familiar with the software we use. I also started during the company slow time so there were sometimes several days when I had nothing to do, which I used to research tools, and designed processes, to help the department.

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It's unclear to me what your job is, and that impacts my answer. For example, if you're a software developer but your primary responsibility is validating documentation, that is a big deal, and you should start looking for a new job (yes, I know it's cliche on Workplace SE to say "look for a new job" at the drop of a hat, but I'm speaking from experience when I say that if this is the case you should look for a new job, so trust me; a bit of backstory, this sort of situation happened to me twice, working for 2 different tech giants, one of which may or may not be named after a rainforest in Brazil, and it didn't work out well either time).

If, on the other hand, you are a secretary or office assistant, then this sounds like it's within your job description and you should do it. You should emphasize to these coworkers that your jobs should come from your manager, and, separately from these coworkers, inform your manager that these coworkers are giving you work to do and see what he says; maybe it's just office culture that everyone divvies up the work internally and you should get used to it, or maybe your manager will put a stop to it. In any case, if this work is reasonably within your job description, you should do it.

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