Maggie’s Situation: My team is in transition. I’m being asked to do a lot of things I don’t know how to do. My confidence is shot because of it.
Maggie’s Questions: My questions are related to the fact that I love my company but am not thrilled in my role. I have a lot of opportunity but I need to figure out how to leverage it by deciding what I want and going after it. How do I create the role I want for myself at my company? What role do I want? Will I be happy doing sales? What is most important to me in a job?
Sara’s Answer: Maggie came to us because she was confused about her next steps. She loved her company, but was growing increasingly dissatisfied with her current role. Her team was in transition, so her job was changing, and not necessarily into something she wanted it to be. Plus, she was now being asked to do all these things she hadn’t been trained to do. In addition to that, she didn’t want the transition period to end only to find she hadn’t asked for what she wanted while everyone around her had shiny new jobs.
Transitions can be tough. You might find yourself tasked with too many things, things you don’t technically know how to do, and very little support to do it all. They can be stressful and confusing. You’re probably very aware of any external circumstances creating this chaos and uncertainty.
After talking about the possibility of finding a new job, Maggie decided she really did want to stay with her current company. She was engaged with their mission, and wasn’t ready to totally give up on them just yet. So now came the time to create a plan for how to navigate the current transitions in a way that could be a win/win. The company would get high quality work, and Maggie could use this transition to her advantage.
Here are 3 areas Maggie and I discussed, along with tips for how you can manage a transitional time.
1. Look for the opening.
The thing is, transitions can also be awesome. If nothing is certain, there is opportunity. Now’s your chance. Imagine how bored you were at work. You knew exactly how to do your job, you knew how to do it perfectly in 55 minutes, and then you could go back to Facebook.
Then the restructuring started.
All of a sudden, instead of you’re being asked to do new things. Now you can create a structure that works for you – an internal solution to an external situation. If no one knows what’s going on, you can step in and create a plan.
2. Create a system that makes you feel proud of your result.
Maybe this is actually the perfect time to show your boss you can handle more responsibility because you can show her you’ve just devised a great new protocol or transition strategy.
Because here’s the secret: during these times, no one really knows what they’re doing. They’re looking for answers just like you. So be the one to provide answers. For yourself. For your boss. For your clients. Create a system you feel comfortable executing. It shows initiative, confidence, and competence. And, who doesn’t want to work with someone who displays all those things?
3. Test drive a new department and see if you’re more interested in what they do.
Create a little choose-your-own-adventure scenario. For every new thing you’re being asked to take on, also ask for one in an area you’re interested in, but might not normally have access to. In your new mini taste test, you can see if that department you’ve always been interested in is really all it’s cracked up to be.
Transitional scenarios are highly fluid and ripe with opportunity, so use that to your advantage. Show that you’re stepping up, and then leverage that to try out some new things. Maybe your newfound interest or skill set will benefit the whole company. Who wouldn’t want that? Also, if you hate it, you just took on one project. Learn as much as you can from it, and then move on.
Because Maggie’s confidence was still a little shaken, she decided to review recent projects she worked on where she received positive feedback. We decided that trying to mimic past work in new scenarios would make it easier for her to branch out and feel more confident. This is a great tool for trying something new – does the current situation have anything in common with something you may have done before? Is there a way you can identify something in this you’ve done before and done well? Instant confidence boost and skills enhancer.
It might be easy to take a transitional time and only see all the negative parts; the things your boss is making you do, or all the things you’re not trained for but now need to finish by next week. But, like all relationships, transitions are a two-way street. If you’re going to step up and be flexible and accommodating, it’s not insane to propose a win-win scenario where everyone, including yourself, gets more of what they need. It also demonstrates confidence and initiative. And who, employer and employee, doesn’t want to see more of that?
Have you ever used a transition at work to your advantage? What did you do?
Client Feedback on Working with Sara in a Cardy Career Coaching program:
“Before working with the Cardy Career Coaching Team I was so confused about which way to proceed. I knew I needed to make some changes but just couldn’t get started. Working with the team helped me drill down to a practical path forward. I am now much better prepared to move forward. Also, my coach Sara was awesome!! She was so clear and able to focus my energy on the path forward.” -Susan D., Paralegal