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I have an issue for the first time in my job. I have recently moved teams and started working in a completely new team.

I’m quite new, less than 2 months and for the first month there were no projects for me. So realistically I’ve only “worked” for a month.

With the new job there come challenges where I’m completely green and not confident enough to make decisions that could have a financial or compliance level impact.

So I ask questions to my manager and in his absence I’ll ask his manager as he requested that I do. However, when I ask for clarifications I don’t get any response. I just get completely ignored and left on read. I have tried emailing, chatting through teams or trying to arrange a formal call… all of these requests ended up with no response.

My projects that have been assigned affect customers, as the work is not being completed as efficiently as possible without the guidance.

How do I approach this or what can I do to improve the situation?

4 Answers 4

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If you're that new and especially if you're working in an industry which has compliance requirements (I'm guessing some kind of banking or similar based on what you said), then you should absolutely be working under the supervision of a more senior team member. Your manager generally wouldn't be the person to go to for specific project guidance, it would be that senior coworker. Look to them for mentoring and guidance, and learn from them. Your manager is likely leaving you on read and ignoring you because they're hoping you get the hint that they don't want to be bothered with your issues.

To be clear though, if you can find this other coworker, they aren't your babysitter. Make sure you are still putting in the effort to learn and operate independently. Find company resources, online resources, and of course use google. Needing a lot of answers and help can deter anyone from wanting to put themselves in a mentor position for you.

If you aren't able to get that mentoring because there isn't someone like that or they are not interested in being that kind of figure, then that's a team dynamic problem. At that point it's up to you to either find a better team within the company or switch companies entirely. It will hurt you in the long run to stay somewhere where you aren't able to learn and grow, as your skills will fall behind what future employers would expect from your years of experience.

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    " Your manager is likely leaving you on read and ignoring you because they're hoping you get the hint that they don't want to be bothered with your issues." That might indeed be it, but, to be fair, in those circumstances, a manager who leaves hints instead of being direct is just a bad manager.
    – LoremIpsum
    Dec 12, 2023 at 11:45
  • Actually, in an industry with heavy compliance requirement, you may end up in jail, so really know your stuff even without supervision. You may want records of all the ignored inquiries just so they can't throw you under the bus. Do not second guess. Record all the regulations you are following, record all the ignored inquiries, and keep a solid record on what is being done. That way, if you can present a very tidy record of events but your superiors cannot, you'll have credibility even though you "screwed up", and your managers will bear the responsibility.
    – Nelson
    Dec 14, 2023 at 6:11
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This kind of behavior can suggest in my experience two different, but not quite orthogonal, possibilities.

  1. They expect you to "figure it out". Some places practice a sink-or-swim mentality towards onboarding. The reasons can range from that's the way they learned and so they think everyone has to get up to speed the same way, or it can be a kind of hazing approach where juniors have "prove themselves worthy" to earn attention from more senior folks.

  2. They geniunely don't know and don't feel comfortable helping you lest they tell you something incorrect and then they're "on the hook" for having told you something wrong. In a compliance-heavy place this is not unheard of. Some people go through all kinds of contortions to keep their hands clean even if it means others who could have used their help flounder and make costly mistakes.

Both of these possibilities are somewhat toxic and unpleasant for you. The good news is, however, that regardless of which one is true for you, you've got some level of autonomy to make your own decisions. If you "mess up" it's probably OK, you can always point to not knowing-- almost no one gets fired for mistakes if they're new and just didn't know.

The same is not true for the manager who "should know better". So, so don't worry about messing up. It gives the manager an opportunity to step-in and be the hero/adult/good-guy. Swallow your pride and move-on. It won't be that way forever.

In either case, you can be a bit more aggressive and creative with how you approach your problems. Try to form some bonds with coworkers who are, or have been, in the same situation and share info with each other.

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This is a difficult situation, you have been instructed to ask upper management, but that is a delicate issue: Be careful not to ask questions that are not urgent to management, especially your manager's manager. While this could be culturally dependent, most places don't like questions to upper management.

Try to find a colleague /peer that you can trust.

More importantly, Google things, use Stack exchange sites if possible (I'm not sure what your job is, if you are a programmer, there are lots of useful examples on Stack Overflow.)

Try to answer your own questions, even if the answer is only partial.

When you have shown that you have done your homework, then you can submit a "refined question" to the appropriate people, but again there are many variables such as your culture, your company's culture, your job, whether you have a college degree, and so forth.

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You are better off scheduling a face-to-face meeting with one of your supervisors than relying on chat and email. If your company uses a system like Outlook, simply find a free spot on your supervisor's calendar, and book a meeting for a half hour to an hour, or whatever time you feel is appropriate.

The supervisor might not have time to commit all the various details to a writing.

Show up with a specific list of questions.

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