Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Role reversal

I'm officially 1 month into my new job. So many people have asked me how it's going and what it's like, and I'm sure all of you virtual people are wondering too. Obviously then a post is in order; while I do generally keep work out of Bloody Brilliant, it is the reason I moved to the UK and a large part of my life, so I am okay with blogging from a personal point of view about how work is contributing to my life (ie, me and my experience with/at work) without it straying too far into overshare territory.

Anyway, my new job. First impression: scary. Not that the company is scary; far from it, it is warm and welcoming, a great bunch of people with great personalities who have been really inclusive and kind from day 1. But it is scary because I don't really think that I realized just what a change I was making when I left my former position. There, I had a personal reputation in the company that extended beyond the US and UK; I could call up someone in our Asian offices and they knew my name. I had firsthand knowledge of work we had done in South America. I could find resources in Russia if necessary. This reputation was in some ways good and bad: people knew who I was and my skillset, and I was often pointed to as an excellent example of the company's commitment to international collaboration across offices. But that reputation also pigeonholed me at a level I couldn't break free of, and as I yearned for bigger, more exciting challenges, I realized they wouldn't be happening there: the downside of someone knowing what you can do is that, well, that's all they think you can do.

So I left. And now I'm in a new place with new expectations and NO history. Sheesh people. There is nothing more humbling than having someone rewrite something you've been writing for years, because "that's just not how we do it here." S/he didn't do it rudely; it's just a learning curve that I ran smack bang into and I'm only now starting to adjust my approach to the incline. It's just a really weird situation to be in, going from being at the top of one's game, to relearning how to do everything that was seemingly automatic.

There are silver linings of course. I've imported a lot of ways of working that have been really well-received, and I think I'm contributing well to a situation here that is also in transition: fresh thoughts, new processes, etc. But I still have a ways to go to establish myself, craft my reputation, and make sure I'm controlling my own situation. My former boss recommended I read The First 90 Days; 30 days in I've only really gotten through the introduction. I figure if I don't count my vacation next week, I have 60 days to implement what I learn. I'm gonna read it on the plane next week.

Despite the upheaval, I really believe that every transition affords a learning opportunity. Look at how much I've grown since moving to the UK! As much as I look back on it with rose-tinted glasses, I know deep down it was such a hard thing to do. And it's the same thing with my new job. You don't change roles after 5 years and not feel any displacement; it's learning how to find your feet again that makes the challenge worthwhile. I'm on a boat, people, and I'm adjusting to the motion of the waves.

No comments:

Post a Comment