September 30, 2008

Just breathe.

I just had a 90-day "mini-review." It’s a good idea – after 90 days in a new job, both parties should have an idea of how things are going, what should come next, and any looming issues that could be nipped in the bud (Hey, not unlike in a relationship).

Things are going well – my boss thinks that I am organized and efficient and have a solid grasp of the business and processes. And we’re finally going to start splitting up responsibilities, so the other manager and I aren’t constantly overlapping efforts. Here’s the problem. The two initiatives that I am supposed to work on are:

  • "Getting out there": At least a few times a day, walk to someone’s office and have a conversation instead of emailing.
  • Breathing: Talk more slowly.
He could have told me that I needed to double company revenue and I probably would be equally concerned. I mean, he really summarized my workplace shortcomings, right?

Yes, I prefer email as a way to communicate and, yes, I may have heard once or twice that I need to slow down when speaking (Let’s not let this little ironic tidbit pass without comment: Because I talk too fast, email really is the most effective way for me to communicate.). This office is relatively small – 70ish people – and people are always gathering in the hall, eating lunch in the kitchen together, etc. I know that not strictly work-related conversations can actually be productive. So, it’s not that I couldn’t see this coming.

But here’s the thing – I’m not exactly a “visitor.” Email was invented for someone like me – I feel like I am interrupting people or being a micro-manager if I pop into someone’s office. I mean, we’ve had a kick-off meeting and then an email outlining next steps, how is it not overbearing for me to check in with you? But, according to my boss, that’s how things get done around here and people will appreciate me making the effort. It will help me become a fully-engrained part of this team. Really, it’s not about getting more done professionally, it’s about being more involved personally. And that’s making my heart beat really fast.

But, this is a new job, and my boss is right – even getting here was a huge leap outside my comfort zone. So, if I’m going to be good at this, which I think I could be (whether or not I want to be, well, that’s a story for a different day), then I need to play by these rules. Um, wish me luck.