One of the most exciting and challenging parts of being a young professional is transitioning from “the newbie” to “the one with experience.” Every transition brings a few growing pains; with a little patience and an open mind, every transition will make you ready for your future in the nonprofit world.
Recently, my job duties have grown immensely as a result of organizational change at work. I will admit, I have not quite figured out where my energies and time are best spent from day to day. However, I have learned a few things that are helping me maintain my sanity while I transition into my new position.
1. Do not fear direct communication.
Your work life is going to change. A LOT. One of the most important things to do is be honest with your colleagues, especially those who are providing your training. Be ready to ask a lot of questions and willing to ask for additional trainings or material. Be open about your ability to do your work. New responsibilities are not an excuse to drop the ball, but your colleagues will appreciate a heads up if things are not going according to plan.
2. Stay flexible.
With transition comes change (duh!). Be ready to learn new job competencies and build methods by trial and error. The plan that you have at the beginning of your work place transition might work, but it might not. Take heart: a failed system does not mean defeat. Note your attempts to organize your workflow. Once you start performing your new work, you will figure out how best to achieve your goals.
3. Learn to say “no.”
You will not be able to do everything that you did before and everything new you take on. Learning to say no is super important (if not incredibly difficult). If you’re transitioning to a more management focused position, it will feel awkward to delegate tasks or avoid micromanaging your colleagues. Take some time to sort out your priorities so you can do a great job on important tasks instead of an OK job on less important ones.
4. Figure out what you need.
Take stock of what works for you to complete your new tasks and take measures to build the right environment for your success. Always account for more time than you think you will need. Having the time to check your work is well worth the effort and can save on some really embarrassing moments in the long run.
5. Ask for evaluation.
Your colleagues are valuable assets in transition. One of the best ways to grow is to hear feedback on your performance from an outside party. Take to heart the evaluations that you receive. You will become a better member of your team and a more prepared professional for future challenges and further transitions.
6. Get a hobby.
Many days you will feel that you are “bad at your job.” It might sound cheesy, but sometimes just knowing that you are good at home improvement or jogging can make all of the difference in your mood at the end of a long day of growing pains.
Each day in a transition will bring new triumph and tribulation. Remember to congratulate yourself for your successes, no matter how small. Always reflect on the bumps along the way to prevent them in the future. Maintain a healthy work-life balance and in very little time, your transition period will fade to a new day-to-day work flow.
How have you managed workplace transition?