Last week, I started a new job. I am now a Project Manager for In-Touch Survey Systems. Going through the interview process and starting work, I realize that the trip has changed my attitudes and behaviours.
First and foremost, I have much more self-confidence. Crossing some of the less travelled roads in Canada on a bike certainly has left me with a bit of an “I can do anything” feeling. I went into the interview process feeling like I can do anything. I was not afraid to be myself and did not feel the need to create an artificial image of myself. I figured they could “take me or leave me”, and if they did not like me, then it was not meant to be. This made for a mutual interview process, where both sides were interviewing the other. I found that I left each of the interviews feeling like I would fit right in.
I find that I am much less afraid to ask for what I need or want. In Canada, our cultural norms tell us that it is impolite to ask for things. We wait patiently and hope that someone will offer us what we need or want. This applies in the workplace too, where we expect our coworkers or bosses to feed us the information we need to do our jobs. This behaviour is flawed, because it expects that those who would make the offer of assistance can read our minds and know what we need. On our trip, the flaw in our cultural norms was emphasized when our Turkish friends told us “if you don’t ask us for what you need, we will think you don’t like us.” Sometimes giving others the opportunity to help provides both sides with something they desire.
Finally, I find that I am much calmer. When my second day of work got really busy – yes I am already working directly with customers – I found myself able to step away from the busy-ness and watch. I no longer feel the urge to make myself busy, or the need to make myself important. I am happy to be there, do the best that I can, and walk out the door at the end of the day putting it all aside (or at least mostly, I have been known to check my work email from home – mostly as a means to procrastinate on something else that I should be doing – like updating the blog!). I do hope that I can remember this calm as I transition to full time and get more attached to my job.