#415 When you’re not the new guy anymore

The first day was scary.

When you opened the door everything was a giant swirling abyss of new teachers, new faces, new rules, and new places. So you tiptoed in smiling and shaking hands, learning passwords and policies, and staring around the busy cafeteria holding a red plastic tray trying to find someone to eat lunch with.

It wasn’t your fault but you were last to join the team, you were last getting in the game, you were last one signing in, and no one knew your name.

So you just put your head down and gave it a shot. You tried and tried and tried. You felt like you didn’t belong here so you worked a bit harder than the next guy. Maybe you organized a neighborhood garage sale, maybe you helped the bullpen in the clutch, maybe you bailed us all out of a big meeting, or maybe you threw a backyard party … with a special touch.

(Special touches may or may not include: big bowls of fizzy punch teetering on wobbly picnic tables, veggie hotdogs cooking to a crispy finish on their own grill, or baking anything rich and chocolaty for dessert.)

Soon you noticed you were starting to fit in and there were beers after the ballgame, lab partners in chemistry class, and new friends in the cafeteria. Somebody asked you for help one day, a nickname slowly evolved, and a dirty inside joke got everyone laughing for weeks.

One day someone even newer than you started up and while they squeezed nervously beside you at the lunch table it slowly hit you.

You aren’t the new guy anymore.

You fit in just fine.


I saw PostSecret Live last year and it was an amazing night. Frank has been a friend of 1000 Awesome Things for a long time and I hope to see him on his new tour this fall.

Photos from: here, here, and here


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45 responses to “#415 When you’re not the new guy anymore

  1. Panthalassa

    Haha, YES! I’m a sophomore this year; I know exactly how this feels. It ROCKS!

    • Carissa

      Wow, I remember being a sophomore.
      Have fun.
      It seems like so long ago to me, I am a senior now.
      But it is so true, that grade, your not a sophomore your a “squashmore” (no offense).
      But don’t worry, in one year, you too will be chanting “go home sophomores” at the traditions assembly.
      Until then.
      Good luck.

      • Panthalassa

        Haha, I’m a sophomore in college. Pretty sure the “squashmore” thing is distinctly high school. Good luck being a freshman next year!

        Side note: Another awesome thing about not being the New Guy is that you get to help out all the new New Guys!!

    • emmy

      Ive never really been the ‘new guy’ except for the first day of kindy which i cant even remember… But other times like at netball and finding someone non-bitchy to sit with on my first day of highschool- that was a challenge.
      Please tell me: what are the years that you are a sophomore, freshman, senior, etc. Because we just have Year 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
      Sincerely, Australia

      • Anjie

        School in the US
        9th grade – Freshman
        10th grade – Sophomore
        11th grade – Junior
        12th grade – Senior

        in 8th grade you are a senior in middle school.

        • emmy

          OHHHHHH thank you! ive wondered this for ever… and does middle school go from what year to year 8? Im a freshman… hmm, weird.

          • Hi Emmy!
            In the US, middle school can go from 6th to 8th grade but sometimes it’s only 7th and 8th grades. I have heard of some school districts having middle school from 7th to 9th grades. It all depends on the school district. When I was growing up in the 70’s my 6, 7 8th grade school was called a Jr. high school. The term middle school seems more common today.

  2. Another sign that you’re no longer the New Guy: A New New Guy shows up! AWESOME!

  3. Hailey

    This is one of the most AWESOME things ever actually!!!! :D

  4. Eduardo

    So so true… sometimes I wonder how you come with these perfect AWESOME things… I’da given up by now, even though there are so many.

  5. LOVE :)

    i wish i could think up all this awesome stuff!

  6. Laura

    Being the new person … ugh! You’re the only one who doesn’t know the rules and procedures, you’re the only one who has to constantly ask questions, and you’re the one who everyone knows is new. Even if everyone is nice to you, you’re still a newbie.

    I’m the only new teacher in my building this year, so I’m stuck with the title of “new ‘guy'” for at least a year. No one newer than me will be coming, but I fit in, I love the people with whom I work, I know what’s going on, and I am happy — so I think I’ve reached this point. Yay!

    Then again, people might only like me because I brought in donuts that one time … ;)

  7. Growing up I moved around a lot, which meant several new schools. I was always the new kid. By the time I got adjusted, it was time to move again. It sucked. We finally stayed in the area that let me go to the school I had went to Kindergarten in, I found a lot of old friends.

    Here at work I still feel like the new person. Even though I’ve been here 2 years and there’s been several new people since me, I just don’t think I fit in here. Everyone’s got their own little groups, just like in high school and I’m the one in the isolated office. Yep, I think that’s one of the main problems. I’m in an office far away and across the hall from everyone else. They stuck me here cuz the room has several shelves full of the files that I work with all day and I would just be in here anyways. I’m hoping soon to move to a more welcoming environment with new people.

    • When I finally reached the point in school where I wasn’t new, I always befriended the new kid. I felt their pain, I knew what they were going through, so there I was to help them out. I’d show them around, tell them who was ok to hang out with and who was trouble, I’d introduce them to my “gang,” and tell them who the cool teachers were and which ones to try to avoid.

      • Mary

        Me 2 Bekah! I was the new kid because we moved so often, then finally go to stay so I found myself looking for new kids to welcome.
        Now in my job, I find I love to mentor new people on the team. Showing them how, where, why… and especially who! (As in who is fun, trustworthy, or not!) I had not connected the two till now. thanks!

  8. Kaitlin

    This is so AWESOME for today! Tomorrow I’m going to my boyfriend’s, cousin’s wedding. Someone else is bringing a date so I’m no longer the new girl :)

  9. jdurley

    Aw…this post is so sweet! I love it!

  10. Ahhh… once you break the newbie mold, and no longer claim the neophyte title… total win.

  11. So true! My shy kindergartner announced at dinner that she had to show another little girl where the bathroom was. That act of showing somebody else around meant she wasn’t the new, shy one anymore. Very nice and resonant with childhood feelings!

  12. I totally agree with this post – I hate being the new kid. But it’s even better after another new one has came along, or if you’ve been there for awhile. It’s definitely something


  13. Em

    Your posts always make me tear up a bit. I love it. :)

  14. Daph.

    Such a sweet post ^^
    I lost the game though.

  15. Michelle

    Hey Neal,

    Thanks for making my day. so many times.

  16. shoka

    I just started a new job and I was introduced to the group today, how I hate to be the new one..I hope someone would join us soon so I’m not the newbie anymore…

  17. Kathy

    Please say that when you reach #1 you’ll continue. I’m not sure how I’d start my morning on such a positive note if your blog is no longer counting awesome things! Knowing I’ll soon be reading your post is a big part of what makes me smile when the alarm goes off.

    OK, so I realize I’m jumping the gun and you have 414 awesome things to go, but just want to make sure you give some thought to continuing the awesomeness when the time comes.

  18. Julie

    This literally happened to me today. No joke. Great timing! And it is, indeed, AWESOME!

  19. Tana

    it takes another new guy to stop you being the new guy.

  20. Awww, I love this one! I started work in the dining hall at school last fall, and managed to impress my boss enough that I got promoted to a student manager this fall. So now, I get to help all the new workers figure out how to swipe in, where to find paper towels, and that the cooks aren’t out to get you. =)

  21. sabrinadankel

    I’m the old new girl at work at the moment. I started just three weeks ago, so technically I’m the new person. But then on my third day another person joined the team who then became naturally the new person. But because I’m still just getting to know my colleagues and all that I’m still… new… but not, in a way. But I’ll get there eventually and then I’ll be able to say: AWESOME!

  22. Gee, it really reminds me of my childhood…

  23. I know the feeling ! I hated the feeling being the new employee, and when the new guy arrived (a month later) it was really awesome :)

  24. Pingback: 1000 Awesome Things - Evan's Blog

  25. Grade eight, junior high school, when EVERYONE was “the new guy”…best feeling ever!
    Same school; (yes, actually there long enough for this to happen), 3 newies who’d experienced similarities to my history; principal Mr. McDonald, called on ME to show them around. Awesome fellow…somehow understood! Holla, with love:)

  26. Pingback: #964 Being the new guy (or girl) « TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

  27. Emma cogdill

    That is awesome! I remember being the new kid just this year. I had to get used to the new vibe, and the new mean kids. And I had to earn my rep. It was tough, but I managed to make it through the year. Yeah, it was awkward at first, but I made so many new friends!

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