Sweep the Floor – Apprenticeship Pattern

Sweeping the Floor is a saying for doing the dirty work that no one else wants to do. This pattern highlights what you can do to stand out as the new guy on the team and make yourself valuable to them. This pattern was an excellent read, you can read it yourself here: https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/apprenticeship-patterns/9780596806842/ch04s05.html

The pattern makes it obvious, almost every team has a job that no one WANTS to do. I have seen this at my own jobs. Things like cleaning, writing well thought-out documentation,  and even answering the phone are some of the small tasks that people would rather not do. Step in and volunteer to do those tasks. This will enable you to gain trust and socialize with the team so you can get your foot in the door. The authors go on to talk about how there are some negatives to sweeping the floor. However, In my opinion they are all avoidable. These negatives would be getting stuck as the teams scrub (someone who they make do all the menial tasks and never ask more of), or you will be too intimidated to try and step out of your comfort zone. Both of these are avoidable by being more assertive once you’ve gained trust and a place on the team.

I really enjoyed this pattern because it will be extremely relevant to me in the upcoming future. I am applying to (what feels like) hundreds of jobs to try and join a team when I graduate. I know I will have to prove myself and this pattern has given me a way to do it. Take pride in the small jobs and do them well, this will help you make a stand in your team. The only thing about this pattern I didn’t like was the fact that they added consequences to it. I feel like that really brought down the overall inspiration of the pattern. The consequences weren’t on my mind when I was reading the pattern until, of course, I read that part. They should have stressed that you need to be confident in your abilities to learn and continue to try and climb the totem pole.

Overall, the pattern is an excellent inspirational read for someone who just joined a team and are looking to prove themselves. I can certainly see myself doing this in my future jobs.



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