I hate new jobs. Not this one particularly, all of them. There’s something about my wiring that I simply hate the first six months of any new job. This is my 14th job, so I recognize the pattern well by now. I can’t totally put my finger on why, but I think it has something to do with not being good at it yet, still in learning mode. I do love learning, especially connecting dots, discovering patterns, and seeing the way forward. I think it’s my one great skill. I enjoy talking to as many new people as I can; I learned long ago that everyone has a piece of the puzzle to contribute…sometimes big and sometimes not, yet all valuable. But I still hate these first few months when I’m not contributing much. I want to earn my keep.
I do think another part of it is not yet having relationships. This last job change, which also meant a change in companies, made that part worse. I’m slowly building new relationships, but it is slow.
I just celebrated my five month anniversary in the new job and can feel the tide turning. The building, the people, the small peculiarities of the culture are becoming familiar. More importantly, I now feel like I know what I need to do. There are opportunities in my job, and opportunities I can provide my team as a leader. And I’ve carved out a few tentative relationships, including a couple that already mean a lot to me. One of these recently posted on Facebook: “Connecting with people makes life meaningful”. The longer I live, the more my new friend’s wisdom strikes me. Work and accomplishment means less to me each year. Instead, what leaves me with the most meaningful memories are the people I’ve connected with over the last 30 years. One of the great joys of technology is that I can stay connected to these special people, when just a few years ago they would have quietly slipped into my past and out of my life forever. That would be very sad.
I think with this new job, instead of focusing only on what I need to do to perform well, I will also focus on creating those new connections. I’ve done enough of that over the years that I know it’s somewhat a numbers game—for some reason, chemistry is impossible to predict. Some of my most meaningful relationships defied an age, background or personality gap, providing a delightfully unexpected life gift. Since I can’t reasonably predict who my new good friends will be, I need to approach everyone as though they may become one. That sounds like fun. And I like my odds.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” –C.S. Lewis