"If you come to work every day with a sense of dread--it may be time to move on". These words were repeated several times during "team building" session in February. I felt the words were directed at me. I took them as an invitation to step up my job search. If I had not done that, today I would have celebrated my 12th anniversary at my job. Instead, I've spent the past 12 weeks (or so) in a job I love--and I'm wondering why I waited so long.
I had some good years at my old job. I made some good friends, and I know that I made a difference in the lives of some of the families I served. But I stayed longer than I should have. I stayed because, even though I came to work with a sense of dread, it was easier to stay where I was familiar than to risk something new. Tony Robbins said, "Real change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing".
Since stepping out of my comfort zone, I've discovered a whole new life and career. Here are some of the highlights.
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Even though I'm the new kid on the block, my ideas are considered--and sometimes even implemented.
- Structure: Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I have policies and procedures that guide my work. If I'm not sure what to do, I know where to look.
- Supervision: There are certain steps that my supervisor does along the way. I am never out on my own making decisions. I have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
- Feedback: My supervisor tells me if I did it correctly. If I didn't, she tells me how to fix it.
- Clear chain of command: I know who to ask for help. Roles are clearly defined.
- Smooth handoffs: Whether I'm transferring a case to other country or sending a family to the permanency unit, there is a protocol to make sure everyone knows what has been done, what needs to done, and when the handoff will take place.
- Tools of the trade: Within an hour of starting, I was handed a work cell phone. I have access to fleet of cars. I have what I need to do my job. I have access to a dictation program to help with writing my notes.
- Celebrations: At least once a month we've had some kind of meal together (the entire department). We even had a baby shower for someone who had been here about 6 weeks. From the decorations to food to gifts, you would have thought they had known her for years.
- Retirement: The state puts in $2 for every $1 I put in (regular retirement). I also have the option of deferred compensation to add even more to my retirement. (I'm starting small, but I will increase as often as I can).
- Teamwork: My team has been incredibly helpful with my transition. One colleague texted me on Saturday (my first weekend on call) just to see if I was okay. Members of other teams have been extremely helpful as well. Whether I need someone to bounce ideas off of or I need a resource, the entire office is willing to help.
- Professionalism: I don't have to punch a time clock! If I work my 40 hours, I don't have to do anything. I only have to go to the time application if I work overtime, take leave, or I'm on-call.
- Appreciation: I am regularly told when I am doing a good job. The praise is specific and sincere. We start all meetings (whether just our unit or the entire department) with sharing "kudos". Supervisors and co-workers acknowledge the hard work, cooperation, and "out-of-the-box" thinking they have seen.
The moral of my story is: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If God is nudging you to do something different, take a leap of faith. I know I am glad I did!