A friend gave me a gift when I changed jobs and shared that I hate every new job for the first six months. She told me that change helps keep us young. It was a positive and welcome message at a time of stress and uncertainty. My friend suggested that I follow up at the six month mark on the new job; I celebrate that milestone this week.
I’ve faced most of the familiar struggles these last six months: not knowing what I’m doing, finding the land mines the hard way, not having a support group of friends at work. I still don’t enjoy being the rookie, but this time was different somehow. This time, I dug in to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. This time, I sat with everyone who seemed connected to my job in even the smallest way. This time, I “overcommunicated” on learnings, priorities, and changes…to my bosses, to my team, to key stakeholders. In other words, I did all the things that I’ve learned in prior transitions are crucial.
Yet this time, though I think I’ve done everything just the same as before, it’s been easier. The normal anxiety of “am I getting it right?” was short-lived. Making change has been almost easy, I have budding friendships. I still haven’t had a bad day, and I still feel like I won the lottery. “I feel like I won the lottery.” I tell people this all the time, but I’ve never said that before about work. Something is very different this time.
While I’d like to think that I’m still getting better at the ramp up process, I have to admit that I don’t believe this time was easier because of me. As I think about other new jobs that were difficult, a bunch of factors present then are missing now. Politics at the new place are minimal. I have no toxic co-workers. My bosses aren’t deeply flawed. People are unfailingly friendly and helpful. It’s not perfect, but it’s good…very good. I’ve said before that when everything about a business seems broken, then only one thing is broken. That rule apparently works in reverse as well.
I’ve been trying to decide if I have any new learnings from this transition, but I’m struggling to think of any that are profound. I’m certainly learning a new industry and how to adapt to be an effective leader in a new culture. And leadership principles that I’ve come to believe over a quarter of a century of practice have been reinforced. But I feel like I’ve been pre-set up for success at this new company…I think we all have. Maybe I actually do feel a little bit younger.
“Success is getting and achieving what you want. Happiness is wanting and being content with what you get.” –Bernard Meltzer