My number one response to people asking how the new job is going is to tell them that I’m tired, and that I currently have great difficulty tracking which day it is. This is largely because I haven’t worked regularly either on a Monday or indeed in a full time job for quite some time.
So, here I am with my body thinking its Friday night on a Thursday but with a reasonable sense of achievement. Nothing has gone horribly wrong, or at least nothing has gone awry that we haven’t been able to fix – the libraries are still open, and we’re gearing up for a Summer of interesting family activities.
There are always grumbles and hiccups, and I may have got a bit stressed from time to time at the beginning of the week, but so far so good. I’ve only had to call HR for advice once, on my peers for reality checks every other day, and the managers working for me are getting used to my calls and Teams messages with general aplomb.
I’ve got a training conference tomorrow. It’ll get me out of the office and I’m looking forward to escaping the timesheets for a few hours.
I was stuck at work, being unable to share my bemusement on Saturday at a conversation playing out in my messages.
The Charleesi had let us know that her temporary freelancing job had just been converted to the offer of a permanent copywriting post within a week of her starting, so we are all very pleased and excited for her in this early stage of her campaign to take over the world.
Talk soon turned to needing to have a celebration, which resulted in a query about our Sunday availability – which clashed directly with the birthday celebrations previously mentioned.
I therefore had the moderately bemused expression of a man seeing his wife tell his ex-wife that we weren’t available as we were celebrating the joint birthdays of our partner and ex-partner in the company of our partner’s partner and partner’s son, and our collective emotional support human/friend – and being unable to tell anyone at work without having to explain an awful lot of history to people.
Needless to say, everyone at the Sunday gathering smirked when I could finally relay it…
I got thrown in at the deep end with the new job this week. I took over the biggest library in our neck of the woods with no handover, no sets of instructions, and the person I should technically have been shadowing away on holiday.
So of course I rose to the challenge and swept all before me. What other option was there?
The boilers may have broken, and some members of staff suddenly had horrendous personal situations to deal with. We may have had alcoholics hiding their stashes of Stella Artois in the shelving, and children letting off fireworks just outside the front door. We may even have had tired and cynical staff made to smile and volunteer to go the extra mile to keep the library running smoothly.
I only felt bored once. Must be the intellectual challenges of resource management and problem solving; operating in a very different way to how I have been the last four years.
It still feels a little odd to have people just do what they’re told without having to convince them or argue the toss. I’m not sure I like that, but that’s probably me being contrary and wary of people who don’t ask questions.
Let’s see what next week brings
I don’t officially start the new job until Monday, when I have an induction/official branding or something at Egham library in the afternoon. In the meantime I’ve been asked to interrupt my week off with a staff meeting at Ashford tomorrow so they can be officially be told they’ll be some of my minions. Straight after that is a meeting of all the managers in the cluster to do an end of month handover and discussion of issues.
Even though I know and have worked with everyone who is going to be present at both meetings, I can’t help but feel a degree of trepidation. The new job is suddenly feeling a little more real as opposed to a nebulous theoretical situation.
I shall of course approach the whole thing with my trademarked laconic sarcasm and attention to awkward detail – which are after all important parts of why they hired me in the first place.
I think the disquiet is merely a reflection of changing team dynamics. The people at the first meeting are largely people who will have worked with me as a peer, and who must now make the adjustment to officially having me be one of their managers. The second meeting is full of managers who have largely treated me as an almost equal but still a subordinate, but must now work with me as a peer.
Essentially they will be my new team after nearly four years of working with the team at Sunbury. They’re not the only ones needing to adjust their expectations. I will also be needing to make those mental adaptations in turn, and I’m curious to find out where the new challenges on the interpersonal front will be.
It’s a different set of intellectual and social muscles that are about to come into play, so perhaps likening this wariness to that of approaching a new physio routine sight unseen is more accurate.
It’ll be fine. What’s the worst that could happen?