The lessons I learned transitioning into Industry are simple, and similar advice can be found at any career-counseling site in postings about office ethics and etiquette.
1. Listen first, ask questions next, render your opinion last.
2. Enlist help. If you think the team is tending toward a poor decision, as a new member try to enlist the aid of a superior. Make your case to someone with more experience and authority. Let them put your idea before the team. If your supervisor is just and fair, you will ultimately receive recognition
3. Be supportive. Reinforce a colleague, bolster their ideas, and help them shine. That light will shine on you too.
4. Act interested. Do not play with your Blackberry, Palm, IPAD, etc.
5. Recognize differences. Diversity is not just ethno-racial differences. Marketing people think differently from the medical team. So do bench researchers. Regulatory and legal have an entirely different focus. Be tolerant.
I hate to admit that I started viewing different members of the team as breeds of dogs. The regulatory department are watchdogs (that’s obvious). Marketing often acts like Jack Russell terriers, with boundless energy and tenacity. The sales force, (aka Ken and Barbie) with their good looks and suave demeanor, remind me of Afghans and Irish Setters.
The lamas in Tibet bred dogs to different purposes. The little Lhasa Apso acted as a watchdog. Alert and brave, they warned of intruders. Tibetan Mastiffs then provided the muscle to bring down enemies within the gates. As a companion dog, the Shih Tzu had no real job. The lamas bestowed them as gifts to esteemed visitors and nobles. Each of these breeds had its inherent “dog nature” and spirit. And so it is with different archetypes in the work place. Marketing, regulatory, legal, and management may each have a different vision. But each is essential to the dissemination and commercialization of scientific successes. We need each other and need to respect each other’s skills and contributions.