Thursday, November 6, 2014
The Starting Over Checklist
This week marked the first of starting in a new company after 10 comfortable, familiar, love-filled years at the same one. A career built fresh out of college to now a mother of two. A place that houses some of my lifelong friends, familiar politics, more perks than you can shake a stick at and a pretty sweet gig.
Needless to say, starting over is nerve wracking.
Perhaps Thursday was a little late to start web searching for how to be successful week one when the start date had been Monday, but nonetheless it was an exercise of measurement so far. And I was please to find I was on par with most tips:
1. Build relationships early: be friendly, smile, meet as many people as you can and open up your little heart and soul (appropriately). Listen. Reciprocate. Share. That and offer candy at your desk. CHECK
2. Learn the neighborhood haunts: know your drugstore, soda run spots and where to hit up for lunch. Given I lived just 10 blocks from the place in my previous life...CHECK.
3. Connect with your old colleagues in a new way and let them know you're thinking of them. Suggestions included updating your LinkedIn and scheduling some "play dates." This may have included picture and text messages like crazy as well. CHECK
4. Be yourself...but lay low. Give what you got, but don't go trying to change the world all at once, Miss Know It All. Biting my tongue and benefitting learning from others, but...CHECK.
5. Get familiar with your team: learn about their background, what makes them tick and their roles. Try to assimilate and help them anyway you can without stepping on toes. Bond. CHECK
6. Learn the coffee station: for me this was about water and ice, but knowing where that, the bathrooms, supplies and printers are make for an easier transition. That and the day in advance warning of that fire drill tomorrow! Of note: bring my own Kleenex. CHECK
7. Strut your skills...but don't overdo it: prove you were worth hiring, without being overconfident, violating cultural norms or stepping on toes.
8. Set expectations early: don't be afraid to ask the hard questions or share where your priorities are if you're truly willing to be flexible, work hard and get the job done. Within three days, we moved a trip to NYC so I could meet the needs of my family...by asking! Reciprocate this with your boss and team - ask what they expect from you, hot buttons and their needs and work your best to meet them.
If I had to add to this list, I think the last four days have taught me that transitioning with some experience under your belt and by choice is much more comfortable than not, giving you a bit more confidence and ease to be yourself and deliver the best you can. Give it time. Find peace and balance. Continue to trust your gut. Do your best. Give yourself some grace. Learn the business. Contribute where you can. Be fearless. Take breaks to smell the fresh air. Stretch your perspective. Mourn. Be curious. Be helpful. Be kind. Don't compare. Lean on your loved ones. Don't second guess. Just be for a bit. In this new awesomeness. In this new way. Smile, nod, soak in, learn, build, thrive. And don't blink when you have the most flair dress and desk wise already. You're a colorful personality and they (ok, some) knew it. It's ok! Maybe it's even what they wanted.
Thanks to Business Insider for this easy to retain list (ok, maybe I picked it because it affirmed I was on the right track) and big hugs and high fives to any of you going through a significant change.
Hour at a time, smile at a time, experience at a time -I'm with ya.
Cheers to the journey ahead!