Since ages, I’ve loved transitions. The first days of falling in love; the changes of seasons; moving to a new place to live (ok, without the packing and unpacking); going back to school in autumn; and changing the job.
Transitions spice up life. Without them, we would be caught in a neverending slumber.
The only thing constant around here is change.
I’ve learned a lot from my previous transition to a new apartment 7 months ago, and from my assignment change one year ago, and this is what I’m experimenting with now, as I officially shifted my career. New job, new workplace, new colleagues, new environment.
Before the transition: change your mindset.
I started the transition long before I even received a hiring offer. I questioned myself whether I really wanted to move. I even made two SWOT analyses, on two scenarios – move/not move.
I became aware of what I would lose, what I would win instead, and I established a benchmark of what would need to happen in order for me to be happy with the move.
Ingredients of the change mindset:
The mindset change continued during my vacation, as I prepared for the first days in the new office.
1. Be humble.
Transitions can be like a huge wave – you can either ride them, or they can trash you and bury your face in the sand. Don’t brag, don’t spell your “great expectations” out loud, even if you’re sure of them. Some day, the tide might turn.
Humbleness is an essential ingredient for learning. You might feel some elements are common, or you’re already an expert on some levels. Still, maintaining a “fresh mind” will help you see things from a different perspective.
Approach the new environment with the eyes of a child – question everything, without proposing solutions at first. After you’ve established yourself, after you’ve gained some trust – only then can you invade the culture with your ideas.
2. Be prepared for anything.
My mom says “only the people who create expectations will be disappointed”. So don’t create any. Be prepared for whatever can come.
3. Secure support of dear ones in advance.
Some years ago, I was proposed to shift into another position with more responsibility. I happily accepted, and still remember as I was traveling with my loved one to our vacation and said to him “You know, I think I might have to work a lot more from now on. Will you be ok with that?”
Support from loved ones during a transition is crucial. You will be stressed, you’ll have your mind only on that and might give them less attention. If they don’t know what’s going on, they will demand more of you, and they’ll get frustrated when you won’t respond.
Let them know in advance what you’re going through, and spell out your needs for them. It might be only support and understanding, or you might need something more, like taking care of the house or the kids for a few months. Regardless, the feeling of internal comfort is priceless.
I am now treading on shaky ground. I am prepared to get questions and even projects in the next few weeks…I already get less sleep than I used to, and have less time to blog. But I’m setting my priorities straight, and keeping a few areas of my life secure.
Ah, and another I almost forgot – a critical ingredient:
4. A very, very good organizer.
Got mine in Ireland, a Filofax A5 organizer, with plenty of white sheets where I write notes from meetings and ideas of changes and projects. Having a fresh eye gives me plenty of opportunities to come with improvements, but right now, I write them down.
That’s it for now…Phase 2 of the change process will be coming up, very soon.