The last year or so has been a whirlwind of activity and constant change. On November 14, 2010, my life changed dramatically when the most precious baby girl entered my life.
Being a dad has created a whole new set of responsibilities and experiences. I wouldn’t alter any of it, but all of this change had an impact on my personal and professional lives. I have a great supervisor at work and many great peers and role models to learn from. Change is still hard to deal with.
Finding a job, finding a life partner, losing a job, changing jobs, buying a house, having a kid, and on and on. Sometimes you can prepare for change, sometimes you can’t. My dad never had a bad performance review until the day he was fired. It is hard to prepare for that. We had about nine months to prepare for the day my daughter was born. There are lots of great articles about how to make changes in your life and the mental/emotional standpoints of embracing change and acknowledging your feelings.
But how can you strengthen your work (and reputation) during times of change?
Communicate Early and Often. No one likes surprises. Keep your supervisor and colleagues up to date on major life changes. They don’t need to know all the gritty details and some of them will be obvious anyways. It is hard for a woman to hide pregnancy and most people share other personal news, such as an engagement, with co-workers. The level of sharing depends on your relationship. When I was up for re-election to the YNPN-TC Board, I made sure they understood Nadia would be coming to some of our meetings and other small accommodations might be necessary.
Be Realistic. This is more personal, but be realistic about the impact your change will have on your life and lifestyle. Getting married or having a kid changes your life. One of the biggest changes for me was adjusting to a new schedule and the fact that your time isn’t just yours anymore—it is shared.
Maintain a Network. Your professional and personal networks are a vital tool in your belt of life. Depending on the change, it may take more work to maintain your networks, but it is worth it. Find ways to stay connected whether in person or digitally. Try not to lose touch with those who support you. It is especially easy for newly married couples and new parents to become hermits—you don’t need to keep a full social calendar, but get out!
Work Hard, but Smart. Don’t slack off. No one likes a slacker. Your co-workers will understand to a small degree if you are a little “off.” But their graciousness won’t last for long. Be extra careful to ensure that your work is quality. Taking time off? Prepare, prepare, and prepare.
Release. Some things are out of your control—don’t spend time worrying about them. Along with releasing those details, you also need to find a release in your life. A time for reflection or contemplation. A time where you can let your mind wander and be clear. I like to run and that is often my release.
We recently celebrated Nadia’s first birthday. Change is good!
What are some things you’ve done to help deal with change?