I’ve been in my new job for almost two months now and I felt the need to reflect on how I have found the change. So, who better to share my thoughts and feelings with than the lovely Charity Connect community?!
These are the three main things I have learnt about change…
1. Change is daunting
It was really tough saying goodbye to a place I had called home for so long. In truth, I had been debating taking the plunge and applying for new jobs for a while before I actually started actively looking. By the time I left I had been at Mencap for 7 years (to the day). It was the place that had given me my first job in the charity campaigning world and helped nurture me into the campaigner I am today.
When you are somewhere for a long time, particularly during quite a formative stage of your life, you grow roots. Strong roots. My colleagues had become treasured friends. The cause had become more than a job, it was something I was (and always will be) wedded to. Even the building held a weird charm for me. As such, looking at jobs elsewhere felt like cheating. I felt an immense sense of guilt and with that came self doubt. Mencap was my safety jacket and the thought of taking that off and venturing into the deep blue was terrifying.
It was only through coming clean with my nearest and dearest at work and listening to the sage advice of other loved ones that I was able to begin to unpick my motivations from my emotions and start to think practically about the situation. I will always be eternally grateful to everyone for the nudging, pep talks and general encouragement which reawakened my self belief and gave me the drive I needed to take the plunge.
2. Change is knackering!
Changing jobs is a bit like in school when you have to jump in a swimming pool with pyjamas on (hopefully this wasn’t an odd quirk of my own school and an example others can relate to!). You know how to swim but suddenly it feels much more challenging and you need to exert far more energy to keep yourself afloat let alone do a length of butterfly!
I've been in my new job for almost 2 months now. I think I'm up to a comfortable doggy paddle and my caffeine addiction is thriving! Getting to know a new organisation, new people and a new role is emotionally and physically exhausting, especially for a more introverted person like myself. But, it's the good kind of tired. The kind that comes from discovery, challenge and education. The kind that may send you to bed early, but content. And that takes me to my final lesson…
3. Change is worth it!
Good or bad, change leads to new opportunities, challenges and experiences. The process of applying and interviewing for jobs is a rewarding process in itself. It teaches you an immeasurable amount about yourself; your strengths, your weaknesses and your quirks. It also teaches you a lot about different organisations. You quickly realise places you'd fit and thrive.
I have been really lucky and feel that this has been a great move for me. I've not only got the change I wanted but the change I needed. I'm feeling stretched and engaged. I'm working for a cause that motivates and moves me. I'm working with people who are intimidatingly knowledgeable yet incredibly warm and welcoming. As a result of all this, I have the new lease of life at work that I'd been craving.
This is not an advert for everyone to start looking for new jobs. I don't pretend that change works out positively for everyone, at least not at first. However, I do believe that change always teaches you something and helps you grow. You might not find your next work home but you will be one step closer to figuring out what that is (and isn't). So, all the fear and tiredness that comes with change becomes worth it.
I can't wait to see all the new places my new role takes me and look forward to sharing my thoughts and adventures with you all.