Sunday, 10 August 2014

Beyond my comfort zone

The idiom my friend has come up with when she rang me to learn how I was doing in the New Factory probably best illustrates what I feel and what everyone feels during the first days or even weeks in a new workplace.

I had spent almost four years spent with the Employer. The first months, when I was a total freshman, were a period of intensive learning, then ensued some two years of further development. Around the middle of 2013 the Employer began to pursue a strategy of ‘controlled shrinkage’. My job began to be more repetitive, predictable and less challenging. My chair got warmer, my reputation was already established. I felt damn comfortable but at the back of my mind I knew the job was dead-end. In April 2014 I supposed the business line I had dealt with would be wound down by the end of 2015. Time proved I had been over-optimistic. It was wound down as of 31 July 2014, funnily enough on my last day of work. Had I stayed, I would not have been fired. In terms of my responsibilities I would have been demoted, in terms of salary I would have been none the worse off the change. Nevertheless, no other decision could have been taken. Holding down a cushy job makes sense when you are a few years before retirement and your goal is to merely get by, but not at the age of 26!

First impressions might be misleading, therefore I reluctantly share them. What I can definitely tell entering the unknown meant for me a huge role reversal. Back at the Employer, I passed as a very well-versed person and many people would turn to me to ask how to handle various stuff. Here, I have to ask about nearly everything and it will take a few weeks before I get familiar with all procedural issues. The New Factory’s scale of operations is much broader than that of the Employer. No wonder than I am daunted by it and have entered the phase of ‘cognisant incompetence’. This proves with the Employer I had reached the top of my learning curve, while the New Factory will offer many new opportunities to learn. The new job also requires me to be much more self-supporting than the previous one. At the Employer I could count on my manager’s advice, while here my manager only approves (or not) the outcomes of my work.

In some terms the change is beneficial, in others I will be missing my previous job. There is no ideal workplace and I have not delude myself I had found one. Actually every company in the industry I work for is more or less full of shit. Usually where the work is nice, there are no prospects. Where there are prospects, there is a pressure and one has to toil away.

A tough year ahead... Next weekend I am signing up for Level III and preparations are to kick off with the onset of September. Challenges at the new job, which might be at times time-consuming are not an excuse to take a year-long break in pursuit of the Charter. As examples of my older colleagues show, once you let up, setting out to finish the Programme is difficult and candidates are more likely to give up along the way. In a year… I hope to feel simply more comfortable…

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