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James Harden is Giving a Masterclass in How to Start a New Job

It’s been a transitional time period in America lately, with significant turnover in the world of politics, professional sports, and clearly staged reality TV engagements. Last week, we covered how to quit a job and gave tips for President Trump in his final week at the office. This week, inspired by the inauguration, we’ll cover the opposite – starting a new job.

While Biden is only in his first couple of days, he can learn from one of our nation’s finest leaders – James Harden, who is one week into his new gig at a Brooklyn based startup called the Nets, that’s looking to finally IPO and win an NBA title.

How to Crush Your Frist Week of Work: Learning from James Harden

1. Look Your Best

Like it or not, first impressions are important and the way that you look matters. Things are always a little bit easier in this world when you’re hot, so you might as well do your best to freshen up a bit.

You should always slightly over-dress for your first week of week until you get a vibe for the office culture. Hopefully you’re making more money at your new gig, so go out and buy all the business casual attire you can dream of. Soon, you’ll have a rotation of like 6 shirts and 2 sweaters that you wear every day, but no one has to know that yet.

James Harden seems to have taken this advice to heart, showing up to his first day in Brooklyn having lost approximately 11 pounds in 24 hours. While I don’t think you need to be cutting weight like Joaquin Phoenix before filming Joker, at least get a haircut or something.

This is Jonah Hill/Christian Bale level weight fluctuation. Can’t be healthy.

2. Crush Your First Few Projects

Now that you’ve covered your appearance, it’s time to get into the less important stuff – the actual work. It is absolutely essential that you go balls out for your first few assignments. You can slack off later of course, but you need to build trust with your team right off the bat. You’ll have that beautiful new job energy, so harness it and trick people into thinking you’re the type of person who does good work and cares about their job. (If you do blow your first assignment, check out some tips on how to deal with it.)

Mr. Harden clearly has a background in Corporate America because he’s all over this piece of advice. He had a 30-point triple-double in his opening game with the Nets and while he definitely lied on his resume about ‘being an unselfish team player,’ he made a conscious effort to involve his teammates and make the extra pass. While it seemed a little unnatural (big time ‘Googling how to do an Excel function because you said you were proficient in an interview’ vibes) it’s the thought that counts.

When you lied on your resume and said you were conversational in Spanish and your boss asks you to speak to the client in Mexico

3. But Don’t Set the Bar Too High

It’s a very delicate balance, but one that needs to be achieved. While you’ve established yourself as someone who is competent and at least marginally hot, you want to make sure that you’re not over-selling yourself. Don’t answer emails on weekends, stay online until 9 pm or send out notes after every single call.  You’ll be stuck doing those things for the rest of your time there. You have about 2 months to play the ‘I’m new’ card, so take advantage of that and feign ignorance whenever something seems remotely hard.

Harden was brilliant on Wednesday and taught us all how to establish boundaries in your first week on the job.  He spent most of the game deferring to his new coworker that’s probably not as smart as him but technically has been at the company longer (Kyrie Irving), made some crucial but understandable mistakes in key moments, and worked hard but couldn’t seem to get into rhythm, playing 50 minutes but only finishing with 21 points. Most importantly, he made it clear that you can’t expect greatness during every cross-functional connect (also known as a ‘game’) and set himself up for long term success.

4. Brag About it On Social Media

Post that Instagram story about how you’re ‘obsessed with my new coworkers.’ Update that LinkedIn job description and bask in the glow of the countless ‘kudos to you!’ and ‘congrats on the new role!’ auto-fill messages you receive. Send that Snapchat of your hot coworker on Zoom that you weirdly took during a call and absolutely no one cares about. You’re annoying us all with your ‘someone who got a new job’ persona, but it’s ultimately fine, as long as you stop after a week. You deserve it after being forced to do ‘2 truths and a lie’ three different times and filling out an insane amount of HR forms and tax paperwork.

We forgive you. You’re excited for your new job. Just not as excited as James Harden was to set up his new Twitter profile.  

This is the picture HR makes you take on the first day of work for the ‘company newsletter’ before they ask you to write a short bio and you realize you have zero hobbies besides drinking

5. Shut Up About Your Old Job

Trust me when I tell you that absolutely no one cares what you did at your old company. We get it, you have a fresh pair of eyes and want to change everything. You are going to turn this goddam company around. Keep in mind that your new coworkers are most likely not morons and are doing things a certain way for a certain reason. It’s ok to suggest changes but like chill the fuck out.

At least publicly, Harden has shut his mouth about the Rockets (his former team) and had only good things to say when asked about them. However, I’m concerned about Harden in the locker room. I’m sure he’s not telling KD how much he misses Eric Gordon, but he’s almost certainly bragging about how totally sick the strip clubs were in Houston and how they suck in Brooklyn. We get it man, you used to live in Houston. Grow up and move on.

A strip club reportedly has his jersey hanging in the rafters after he spent $1 million there in one night, which I’m sure he brings up whenever he can in conversation.

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