Adapting to Change…Now that I’m here, what do I do?

By Ann Marie Walker, Career Services Advisor/Workshop Specialist

Annie Walker

This is the final article in our four part series on transitions. Catch up on parts one, two and three if you missed them. This final part of the series will talk about adapting to change once the transition has taken place.

Congratulations!  You’ve landed a new job!  Now what do you do?  There’s a saying that says, “when you reach your ‘there”, you immediately start looking for another one”.  Simply put, when we reach a goal, we then start searching for another challenge.  We’ll talk about that but let’s first say a few words about transition.

As you worked through your career transition, you went through some simple but critical steps, although I’m sure they didn’t seem that way at times.  You took some time to look within yourself and find your passion; that driving force that makes you get up in the morning and brings you a feeling of self worth and accomplishment.  You looked at how to integrate what you love to do with a career and researched fields that appealed to you.  Through networking, you gained knowledge and support that helped you as you worked to transition to another role or possibly a new career entirely.

Celebrate your accomplishments

Take some time to look back on the journey you’ve just traveled and reflect on what you learned.   What was the best part?  What was the hardest?   What surprised you?  Did you learn something you didn’t expect?  How did you feel along the way?  How do you feel now?  Remember to celebrate the journey.  Do something good for yourself like treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, take the time to have that long weekend, try something you’ve always wanted to do.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to share the “attitude of gratitude” and say thank you to those who supported you along the way.

Play in the Sandbox

Each organization has its own culture and way of doing business.  Be open to learning about your new role in the organization.  Take the time to learn about their specific goals and how you can contribute.   Talk to your fellow co-workers; ask them about their work and show an interest and appreciation for their accomplishments.  Ask them how they succeeded in their job.  Share your excitement about this new opportunity and start to build a rapport with your colleagues.  Simple things like paying attention to what you wear send a subtle signal that you’re in tune with the company’s culture.  We all have our own work style; pay attention to the different styles of your team members. It will go a long way towards building relationships and fostering teamwork.

Step up to the Plate

You’ve done your research on your new career move; it’s now time to drill a bit deeper and learn specifically what is important in your new role.  Is there something that you need to understand in greater detail? A new skill that you need to learn?  How will you do that?  Set some short term goals for yourself.  You want to be able to communicate your role, your projects and your expected results to your team and your management.   Is there a project that you can help with that will gain you knowledge of an area that will help you in your role? 

Be Aware of Your Strengths and Improvement Opportunities

You want to be known as someone who can be counted on to do what they say they will do, to be reliable and excellent at follow up.  While you may have the skills for the job, there will still be a learning curve.  You’ll need to understand how things are done, what is expected and in what timeline.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.  Its better ask for some suggestions on ways to meet a deadline, for example, than to blindly agree to a timeline you know you won’t be able to meet. 

Remember when you were learning to read and followed the words on the page with your finger to make sure you didn’t miss any?  It’s a good technique when learning anything new; make sure you have all the information, go over the details and set forth a plan.  Good planning helps ensure that the result will be successful the first time around.  Remember no one likes surprises, so keep your supervisor and team up to date on how the project is going.

Looking Ahead

Give yourself time to adapt to the change of a new work environment.  It takes at least six months to become fully engaged in a new job, especially if it’s with a new organization.  Being open to learning about the culture, forming good working relationships with fellow team members, understanding what the expectations are in your new role and in general, being aware of what is going on around you will help you have a smooth transition.  The stress of any type of change can be overwhelming but you can choose HOW you adapt to your new career move.  Start setting some long term goals as you become comfortable in your new role.

Don’t Forget What You’ve Learned

Don’t let the learnings of the transition process fall by the wayside.  There is no such thing as job security in today’s business environment.  Keep networking; continue to stay abreast of the trends in your field.  Keep connected with those who have helped you along the way and let them know how you’re doing.  Do an assessment from time to time to see if you’re on track with your goals.  Share your experiences with others; it’s the greatest way of retaining what you’ve learned.  Look at the big picture and don’t be afraid to seek out new challenges and opportunities.  You’ve walked the journey; you know the path.  The destination may be different but it all starts the same; one step at a time.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

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Ann Marie Walker is the Workshop Specialist at RochesterWorks.  She is also a Coach/Consultant in Fairport, NY specializing in Personal and Team Development, Career Counseling and Motivational Speaking.  A Registered Success Team Leader, Certified Professional Behavior Analyst and Qualified Administrator of the Myers Briggs Indicator.  Using her extensive experience in the corporate and private business sectors, Annie works with teams and individuals to achieve their goals by developing alliances and promoting crucial conversations.

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