Monday, December 10, 2012

Transferred! Now What?

A lot of people fear change - and for good reason.  Change means having to face the unknown head-on, learning something new and, sometimes, meeting new people.  When you get transferred to a new location, all of these factors are at play.  But before you get down in the dumps over all the change you will have to face, reflect on what this change will mean and how it can benefit you.  Every situation is different but here's what I did when I found out that I would be making a lateral transfer to a new location:

  • Get to know the people you will be working with and the building you will be working in.  Try scheduling a time to meet with staff and supervisors before your arrival so you at least know what to expect on your first day at the new location.  
  • Be prepared to ask lots of questions and don't be afraid of looking like an idiot.  In time, you will get to know the hang of things and your coworkers will realize that you are not an idiot after all.
  • Know your role at the new location.  Expectations may be different at a new location and this is important information to have up front.
  • Learn what your coworkers roles are.  This will prevent you from stepping on any toes where day to day tasks are concerned.
Teen area of my new branch
  • Creating an Us vs. Them scenario.  Try not to use phrases like "at my old place we used to do things like this."  Saying things like this will only create a chasm between you and your new coworkers.
  • Changing things too fast.  If you are in a position where you have the ability to change the way things are done, wait a breath or two before diving in.  Making swift changes has the potential to start a staff rebellion.
  • Using the pronoun "you" instead of "we."  This is a hard one to break, but the sooner you begin asking questions like "we shelve our books here?" instead of "you shelve your books here?" you will begin feeling like a member of your new team.
  • Clinging to the past.  If you continue to reference your old location in conversations then you are preventing yourself from making connections with your new coworkers. This doesn't mean you can never talk about your past, it just means selecting the appropriate stories and the times to tell them.
  • Something new and exciting.  When we have been doing the same thing for so long, we often get a fog over our eyes.  Making a change allows our bodies to wake up from the fog and revisit why we do the things we do.
  • Meeting new people.  Depending on your position and your intentions for your career, meeting people may or may not be at the top of your priorities.  Whether you want to network or just find someone you can discuss a book with, meeting new people at a new location is rarely a bad thing.
  • Learning something different.  If you work in an organization with multiple locations, I can guarantee that each place does something different.  Different is never good or bad, it's just different.  Use this opportunity to look at things in a whole new light.
  • New customers.  When you are new to a location, you get to meet new customers and touch the lives of different people within the community.

Embracing change, instead of fearing it, will definitely put you on the right path to getting comfortable in your new location. While transferring locations can take quite a mental toll on our bodies, following these tips may help you integrate much easier and develop connections with other staff members more quickly.  What other tips might you suggest to help ease the transfer process?

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