Take a break!


Most of the time us HR/OD professionals talk about change in the context of things such as alignment to a new strategy or dealing with overall performance. We consider what the reaction of our staff will be, how they are going to cope and adapt. We organise resilience and mindfulness sessions in between running staff consultations etc. But sometimes we forget how WE should deal with our own change, especially with the ‘obvious’ ones like moving jobs.

In the last few years my career changes have been rather abrupt. I would finish the old job on Friday and start the new one on Monday. Not much rest, reflection or preparation so I decided to take a slightly different approach with my most recent transition (from scientific environment in Civil Service to NHS mental health organisation) and prepare myself properly.

First of all I took a week break between the jobs. I did standard things like reading the job description and the organisation’s website again. I even googled tips like ‘How to Kick Start Your New Job’. Some I found obvious yet oddly refreshing, e.g. ‘Don’t be L.A.S.T’ (Lazy, Arrogant, Stupid, Tacky). Some were reassuring like learning as much as you can about the company’s history or executive team. Some I still do not know what to think about (e.g. ‘make your boss look good’).

All of the above was helpful but what I valued most was investing in a short trip away, where I spent time reflecting on what I want from the new job and what support the organisation needed beyond information from the job description. Even if all my conclusions may well be revised in the next few weeks I felt loads more confident.

I have now been in my new NHS job for just over a week and while I know it is not always possible to have proper holidays before starting a new job here are eight observations/tips I made over the last few days which may help:

- Familiarity with the organisation helps – handy for what to do when you jam a printer through to understanding governance structure

- Asking people about simple things like where the nearest cash machine is a good icebreaker

- Maintaining interest in the organisation, strategy, services – with each document read it has been easier to understand the organisation and its challenges

- Exploring the site – kitchens, canteen, art exhibitions (if your organisation has one!)

- Taking different routes to work where possible – a great way to discover the area

- Talking to your professional network - there is a wealth of knowledge out there

- Observing and listening to as many people as possible regardless of their role in the organisation

- Celebrating surviving my first week with friends/family!!!

This is not a rocket science but it might make your life easier if you are starting a new job. And what about you? What are your coping strategies and tips?
 

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