Monday, August 20, 2007

New Job Resolutions

It's been so long since I've changed jobs that I'm kind of struggling to picture in my mind what it's actually going to be like to have an empty in-box, or the opportunity to make a first impression again. I guess this is actually kind of sad. If you can call extreme career stability sad.

In any event, I want to try and take all the lessons I've theoretically learned from the GTD-Productivity-Zen things that I've read over the years and get started on the right foot in the new job. To that end, I'm making some resolutions:

  • I will manage my email effectively. I'll be damned if I'm going to have a couple hundred emails in my in-box. Not. Going. To. Happen. I've actually been doing pretty well at this in the current job, but every time I spend any time out of the office I end up with a big pile of unresolved issues that takes more than a day to work through. I am hopeful that if I really attend to keeping the email under control that I will stay on the path of email righteousness.
  • I am going to take the time to understand the whole context of my new work environment. This is something that I'm really excited about -- the opportunity to learn about an entirely new organization and really immerse myself in it. I had the same experience in my old job by virtue of serving as a trainer. I met almost everyone from every part of the university and worked hard to keep my eyes open to their challenges and issues. I'll be working in a division in the new job, and it can be easy to isolate yourself in the issues of your particular office (as I discovered from observing my divisional colleagues). I pledge to work hard to get my brain outside myself and my department.
  • I promise to not turn into one of those annoying customers who drive the IT shop nuts. Yes, I used to do their jobs, but no, I will not point this out to them repeatedly (as some of my current colleagues have done over the years). I will not ask for direct access to the tables in their database so I can run my own sql scripts against them. I will not point out all the ways that their database is inferior to the one I currently work on. I won't do it. I may need horse tranquilizers to accomplish this goal given my proven inability to keep my mouth shut, but I will try.
  • I will not be a grind and eat lunch at my desk. I will ask colleagues out to lunch, I will use lunches to get to know key non-development players in the school where I work, I will get out of the office. Yes, it's my job, but it's also something that I've been traditionally bad at. I resolve to get out.
  • I will ask for and/or make time for the things I want to do during the day right from the start. If I want to volunteer for an hour one morning a week at my kid's school library, gosh darn it, I'm going to do it. I've written before about what a grind I am and how I've managed to turn telecommuting into as much of a grind as going into the Real Office, and I'm going to try a different path.
  • In this same vein, I will work actively to fold telecommuting into what I'm doing. There is no reason that I can't and won't make calls, write letters and notes, analyze reports, and so on, from my comfy home office. Why give me a laptop if you don't want me to be productive from wherever I am? By the way, thanks for the sweet little laptop! I saw it when I went in to sign the paperwork, and I am stoked to get my hands on it. Although I may bring in my spare monitor so that I can really enjoy time spent in the office with it!

That seems like enough to get started on. Any other suggestions?


Catherine said...

I'm taking your list to heart. I'm starting a new job in Sept after a 6-month self imposed sabbatical.

I especially appreciate point #3, from both sides of the fence. I'm not a good IT customer, I can't trouble shoot my own system to save my life. Wait, I have no Internet? Quick! Call someone. Oh wait, is that yellow cable supposed to be plugged in? On the flip side, I'm a Data Architect and not so keen when new folks ask for direct access to the db.

I'll stock my new desk with horse tranqs and a shoe horn, to remove my foot from my mouth.

Good luck in your new endeavor!

Stella Commute said...

Thanks for your message, Catherine. You'll be fine...just get some new shoes before you insert your foot in your mouth! Now bring on the tranqs!