Navigating the Transition: Day 45


How we enter an organization is critically important.  In a recent blog post about my first day of work (entitled “Day One”) I discussed some things to think about as you embark on a new professional endeavor.

45 days later I have started to reflect on the transition-what worked, what didn’t and what I might do differently next time.

1) Say yes as much a possible: Whether it’s to listen in at a meeting, join a group of colleagues for coffee, volunteer at an event outside of your department, or attend a goodbye party for an employee you barely know, accept each invitation as an opportunity to learn campus culture and build your new network.

Saying “yes” has helped me to understand institutional context, start to build collegial relationships and learn about new resources within the outside community.  “Yes” can be a little scary when you are still learning your job but what it is has taught me is that I always have something (no matter how small) to contribute and it has allowed me to become more confident in new situations.

On day 17 Of the new job I was asked to attend and speak at an Admissions event to a group of VIP’s.  While initially nervous (what if I don’t know the answers to their questions??) I accepted the invitation and was amazed at the fantastic conversation that unfolded and how naturally everything worked out.  It didn’t matter that I had been there 17 days.  It mattered that I was invested enough to show up, to engage and to connect.

2) Take stock of your victories each day: If you follow me on social media you may often see my posts that ask you to list your victory of the day. Since I started the position I have listed my top 3 victories at the end of each day as a way for me to chart my progress in the role.  On days that are especially challenging it is so incredibly helpful for me to see at least a few tangible pieces of success.  Transition is hard.  Celebrate your success each day and it becomes much more manageable!

3) Focus on the current success of the team: Note and celebrate what the department is doing exceptionally well.  Too often new people come in with a checklist of what to change without recognizing the programs and processes that are thriving.  Show respect for what is done well and it can help inform how future change can also have that level of success.

4) Adapt, try and experience: These are three of the words I say to myself everyday.  Hiking and biking in Oregon are what shopping and eating are in Chicago, so I am doing my best to push my own comfort level and try new things.  We ask our students to take risks in order to learn and grow all the time-I’m making sure to practice what I preach as much as possible.

5) Invite and include: Just because I am new it doesn’t mean I can’t create opportunities for folks to come together both inside or outside of work.  I often will ask colleagues to go on a walk with me over lunch.  If I decide to run a race I encourage others to join me.  I am the only one responsible for building my own community.  My transitional success will largely depend on my ability to build relationships and it is on me (as the person coming into the community) to invite and include people as much as possible.

6) Lean on your established community of support as needed: Some days are tough.  I had to “phone a friend” one day in the grocery store on a particularly challenging Saturday.  I set up Skype calls monthly with a couple of people who know exactly what I need to hear and will give me unfiltered love and guidance.  The hardest part is knowing that your new community doesn’t have the context for who you are as a person and so you have to put in the work and effort to build trust and establish relationships in ways that may have been effortlessly comfortable at your previous institution.  What I know for sure is that this time and effort is worth it.

I am mindful that I can never get this time back so there is no room for slacking, whining, frustration, etc.  This is the time and the space to learn, celebrate, create and include.

Are you new to a position this year? What tips would you give to new employees? Share them here!

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About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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25 Responses to Navigating the Transition: Day 45

  1. Sounds like the transition is going well!
    I appreciate you sharing your experiences- they mirror my transition experiences.

  2. Eric Stoller says:

    Back in 2004, I too made the move from Chicago to Corvallis….Make sure that you buy lights for your bike (and obey all traffic signs whilst biking). They enforce all cycling laws in Oregon 🙂

    You’re in one of the coolest communities that I’ve ever been a part of…enjoy every minute of your new home…and Go Beavs!

  3. Kari Wetzel says:

    Thanks for this! I start my new GA position back at BW in 3 weeks exactly; I’ll be taking this to mind when I start!

  4. Thanks AMK! I am starting my first day at UW today, so this and your first day blog post have helped shape my approach to my own transition. I think I would add one tip: ground yourself. With so much change, unpredictable days, and trying new things, it’s important to keep some aspect of my transition the same as before the move. For me, that’s a daily yoga practice, creating time for my husband and I to spend time in our new city together, and finding connections to places or people that contribute to my spiritual growth.

  5. AMK – this is wonderful, as always. Thank you for writing and sharing so that we can all learn from your amazingness : )

  6. teribump says:

    AMK you inspire me daily…great perspective, ideas and actions for all of us in transition. You are extraordinary – working everyday to add more, be more & give more. Thanks for sharing- T

  7. Julie McMahon says:

    AMK, as I am preparing to make a transition (to where I don’t know yet), your words and thoughts are inspiring.

  8. Thank you for you (always) sage advice. I am about 40 days behind you in my new job and excited to follow the trail you are blazing. I’m adopting your “victories” as a part of my transition– especially as I struggle with my #oneword to celebrate. This seems like a perfect support 🙂

    Good luck in the second half of your first 90 days. I look forward to learning more from you as you continue to grow into your new role.

    • Becca, it feels like so many of us in the #sachat community are going through job transitions this summer! It’s fun to be in good company 🙂 I’m rooting for you in your own transition–looking forward to hearing more about it!

  9. Reblogged this on Trains & Sunsets and commented:
    As a big believer in moving through transitions (and learning as much as possible from them), let me share today a fellow blogger, #SApro, and new OSU Beaver’s thoughts on her transition.

  10. Superbly stated. “Yes” early leads to successes later. Also appreciated seeing “lean on …supoort..”. Great work and excelkent advice, AMK!

  11. As an Oregon transplant I can relate to #4 specifically! I agree and applaud you for saying “yes.” I’ve been learning that too. The learning curve in a job transition can be so long, if you wait to master your own job before saying “yes” to other (perhaps intimidating) opportunities, you may miss out on speeding up that learning curve by making powerful connections. Although, in the moment, it feels counterintuitive to do so!

  12. Pingback: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff– Celebrate It! | Becca Obergefell

  13. Just got a chance to read this and it has resonated with me. I’ll be making my transition to a PhD student and GA at a new institution, beginning next week. One thing I know is that it won’t always be easy and this was a good reminder of what I can do to keep perspective, stay proactive, and find victories every day. Thanks for sharing.

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