Whenever you change employers there is a period of time where you will probably ask yourself if you did the right thing. I just recently changed companies and the first 2 weeks were stressful from an emotional point of view. I did leave the old place due to a major lack of leadership and many bad decisions of managers that had turned a great job into a horrible job. Long hours putting out fires, missed project deadlines due to being under-staffed and other things following the same pattern – that’s not where I can perform at my best and I want to be able to make a difference with my work. I do not need artificial challenges just to be challenged at work; I want to be to do a good job in an environment that recognizes performance and where good work is actually appreciated. But with a lack of leadership and weak managers around it is not fun to work and so I decided to look for greener pastures somewhere else.
The first 2 weeks in a new job are the time frame where you need to emotionally disconnect yourself from where you worked before. Sometimes it goes a little faster, sometimes it takes a little longer, but when I talked to friends who also switched jobs just recently, we all kind of agreed that it is roughly a 2 week period to disconnect yourself from the old work environment. You can track the change easily – you will no longer type the wrong email address or company name when writing an email, you also start using the word “we” for items related to the new workplace. If you fail to slowly disconnect from the old job, your performance on the new job will suffer.
For the majority of people quitting jobs is a very stressful event. I have seen some studies that suggested that a job change is considered one of most stressful events in life. Most people do not change jobs very often and so when it happens the situation is always new again – forgotten is the experience from how it was the last time. But even people who change jobs more frequently feel a lot of stress during those times. There are several reasons that cause the stress level to go up. As an example every manager reacts in a different way when employees resign. Some are pretty cool about it while others take it very personal when an employee resigns. Some employers treat you with respect and dignity while others get mean. A friend of mine who worked for a satellite TV service provider a few years back, told me that the moment you resign you lose any sick time and other benefits. Fortunately I never had one of those employers that took benefits away.
How can you prepare yourself to reduce the stress level when changing companies?
While I would like to offer you a silver bullet solution, I do not have one. It all depends your immediate situation. For example when I changed jobs I hated the work environment that management had created; I did not hate my immediate peers. As a matter of fact many of my peers had become close friends and leaving friends behind is difficult for sure. Those situations are a little tougher to handle. If you dislike everything about your old job and are just looking forward to meet new people and to do some good stuff at the new company, then it will take you much less time to emotionally disconnect. A good recipe to reduce the stress is to get involved with your new peers very quickly. The more and the faster you get integrated at the new job, the easier the transition will be. But do not be too pushy either. Remember that you are probably joining an established team where everyone has his or her place already. Be sensitive to those structures and try to establish your niche and place and then work your way up accordingly. A good way to get integrated is to go out to lunch with the new peers. But do not try to pick up the lunch tab or stuff like that. You do not want to buy your way into their hearts. It takes a while to form bonds and to eventually become a respected member of the team. In the end your performance combined with your physical appearance and your behavior at work will determine how things work out. Like the old saying says: Earn their respect and their hearts will follow.
How was your last job change experience? Please leave a comment below.