You are just back from vacation. It was lovely and fun and restful and all of the things that vacation is supposed to be. But now your thoughts turn to going back to the office and what you will most likely find. Some level of chaos. This post would apply equally well to being a late-comer to an existing project, or being brand new to the office. Unfamiliarity, of any kind, looks just like chaos.
I used to work with someone who had very rigid ideas about how something, anything really, should be done. It boiled down to her way or wrong. That is pretty common, but additionally she was the type to complain bitterly about what you had done ‘wrong’ to anyone and everyone – but you. She was also a person who was frequently absent from the office for a variety of reasons. The unspoken rule got to be to do the bare minimum on her work in an attempt to avoid the bitter recriminations. We only did that much because we couldn’t leave her customers just hanging. And this only applied when she was out of the office; if you got a stray call that belonged to her and she was in the office then you apologized and forwarded the caller. I hated to do it, but I had to talk to her most every day and rarely to any of her customers. Office survival.
Anyway, I wrote about preparations for vacation here – Vacation, Ahhh. Even still, and despite having very competent co-workers as back up people, coming back in is an adjustment and has some element of chaos. Just start slowly. Look for the familiar so things start to make sense again. Are there emails that you can group together and knock off all at once? Can you trade a little vacation trinket for intel on the happenings around the office in the past week?
The same holds true for the newbie to a project or an office; keep your ears and eyes open and some little thing will start to look familiar. Little victories of understanding start to expand your comfort zone. Particularly look for the person or persons who seem open to interaction and also are pretty knowledgeable about the process.
Getting back into a groove, or getting into a new groove is tiring because your brain is so busy making associations of new to known. Celebrate the little gains, build on them, and it will feel a lot less like chaos fairly quickly.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations