Three weeks ago, I started a new job. Leaving a job to start a new one is consistently viewed by the experts as a major life change. Knowing that, and because I’ve changed jobs a few other times in my career, I made a mental list of things I’d keep in mind while beginning my new position at mStoner. Here a few of the things I’ve been talking to myself about. Admittedly, now that I’m in a home office, the talking to myself is definitely on the rise.
Stay in observation mode for a while. The early weeks in any new job should be spent watching and listening. You can learn a lot about people and situations when you purposely observe. Stuff happens for a reason and something that you might initially think should be done differently is actually being done in the best way. And yes, listening more than talking is an ideal way to get to know your new colleagues. People watch, people.
Work on the foundational. Since your portfolio of projects starts small, you will probably have more “unassigned” time during the first weeks of a job than you will ever have again. Savor that time and use it well by laying a foundation that will support you as the volume and complexity of your work load increases. Organize yourself, and make notes while learning new systems and processes. Creating a rational folder structure for email and files is a concrete example of what I mean.
Carpe diem. You are not going to learn everything you need to know in week one. Seriously, remind yourself of that and focus on today’s priorities, not the myriad of tiny details that you still haven’t figured out. Some stuff you simply don’t need to know until right before you have to do it. Why spend mental energy finding out about a task that you don’t need to understand until a month from now?
Change is change. A new job is different, right? Rest up and drink a lot of coffee to prepare yourself for all of the concentrating you do in the early days at the new gig – your environment and responsibilities aren’t the routine you had. If you experience any anxiety, remind yourself that you are reacting to the change, not to the circumstance.
So, you ask, what’s it been like for me so far going from campus to consultant? Sublime! Here are a few stand outs from the first 21 days:
- campus visits offer a pretty good glimpse of the range of higher ed institutions out there
- improvements to communication strategy come from problem solving
- web governance and infrastructure at most schools is complicated but individuals are really trying to do the right thing
- if you’re on the phone a lot, you need a headset (picture that!)
- working with smart, creative people who share your passion for colleges and universities is exhilarating