“It’s been awhile since I rapped at ya’ mi amigos,” as can only be said in the style of Jim Anchower. Last year I wrote about guidelines to help you decide if leapfrogging is for you, and as many of you may or may not know, I’ve recently moved to Dallas and taken a new position. I, wisely or not, took my own advice and leapfrogged. And, I’m noticing that other SEOs/SEMs are leapfrogging too, so this post seemed especially timely.
What happens next? What happens after you leapfrog to next great adventure? That’s the topic for today: prepping you for the next phase and laying out the paradigm of being “the new kid on the block” in the new workplace. These are things I wish I’d known before I made the leap, and things to help you think through before you make the leap to the new job.
Not everyone is going to move 1700 miles to a new job. That’s an outlier. But, even if you’re moving to a job across town, things change. Routines change. If you have a family, it’s a hell of lot trickier and more stressful. Prepare yourself because you’re going to be feel the transition, however minutely, come through in your daily life.
It’s the little, taken-for-granted things, that throw curveballs: having to get up earlier to make a longer drive (less sleep = more irritable), fighting traffic where there was none before, or finding a new place for lunch or getting coffee. All these small things add up.
And, it’s Maslow’s base triangle items too. In my case, it was managing two lives 1700 miles apart. Finding a home in Dallas while working on moving my family down, cauterizing my Milwaukee roots while attempting to angioplasty new ones in Dallas.
Long-Distance Transition Items
- Banking: have you always had a local bank? Before you leave, research the banks in the area and open an account prior to starting. In my personal experience, it’s best to go with a national bank that has a ton of branches. Last thing you want is to be in a new city with no way to get funds.
- Housing: Start by looking at the rental market, especially if you don’t know the city you’re moving to all that well. The last thing you need is to commit to an area in a new city only to find that you don’t want to live there.
That list makes it sound easy and effortless, it’s anything but. Those items caused the most stress in my transition, and because they directly intersect with nearly every aspect of both your work life and personal life, they are most crucial pieces. The earlier you can start on those items the easier a long-distance transition will be.
Tips on Handling the New Kid on the Block Role
Let’s state the obvious: you’re nervous and excited. There’s a new system to learn, a new methodology to adhere to, and a new language to learn. Here are some tips I found useful to handle being the New Kid in the new environment.
Listen first and watch first
They hired you because they like your skill set and what you can bring to table in terms of handling current clients and getting new ones. But before you can do any of that, you have to know how the place operates; every outfit has its own praxis. And, every outfit is uniquely political in its own way. Those who speak out without seeing the angles end up in exile.
Before you start breaking molds and models, observe theirs first. Because no one likes being told they’re backwards by the outsider who’s been there 72 hours, it’s not exactly the best foot forward. Chances are what you see in first couple weeks, will still be there in 3 months. Once you’ve integrated yourself, forged relationships, then start working on revamping the system.
Find the Go-To Person
Power structures that exist on paper don’t necessarily exist in real-time. That is to say, the people that should know what’s going on and how to give you guidance don’t. Every office has a “go-to” person; someone that is plugged in to the upper echelons and has most the background information. When you’ve got questions about operations, about this or that should function, that’s who you go to. Instead of pinballing from person to person for the answers, it’s a good this person has an idea.
Have a Confidant
Whether you’re walking into a proficient and organized system or one that’s strung together, it would seem, by the seat of its pants, you need a confidant. It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your best friend, your father-in-law, or some dude on the corner, you need to have one. Don’t think for a second Murphy isn’t watching from the back of the room. He is.
”The more complicated and important the job is the less time and useful information you will be given.” – Murphy’s Law of Commerce
You need someone to vent to, someone to talk problems out with, someone who can help you navigate the new political waters, and, in some dire situations, walk you back from the ledge. New jobs bring new complexities.
One. Day. At. A. Time.
Understand that stress compounds. For example, three stress events (big or small) are not three isolated events in your life independent of one another; they are compound multipliers. That is to say, that as one stress point or event passes, it doesn’t cease to exist. The after-effects are still lingering as you work your way into another stress point or event and the stress becomes more magnified. The bigger the event, the more it compounds and multiplies.
Starting a new job is a stressful event all unto itself. Start adding in all tangential thingsx associated with a new job (i.e. moving to a new city, the desire to impress, the desire to prove they didn’t make a mistake, new work environment dynamics, new methodologies, longer office hours, etc), it’s impressive how many don’t fall apart. Cliché as it sounds, all you can do is take it one day at a time. Give all that you can without giving yourself away.
Though this is still new to me too, it’s my sincere hope that sharing my experience and the things I went through, help you give you some insight if you are about to or are thinking about taking a new job.