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A rare opportunity

I recently coached two friends, both of whom are thinking about moving to different organizations. I'd like to repeat part of that conversation here, for anyone who faces a similar transition.

When you move from one organization to the next, you have a rare opportunity to completely relax. This separation will help you as you transition into your new role, helping provide a clarity that only comes with "time out." That time is precious - don't "waste" it by skipping immediately to the next job. If you can take some time out, I recommend you take it. Even if it's only a week.

Let me use myself as an example. In early June, I announced that I was leaving OIT, to become the Campus IT Director for the University of Minnesota, Morris. I said: "My last day with OIT will be Friday June 18. I'll have a few weeks for relocation, then I'll start at Morris on Monday July 12."

I had an entire month to myself! Sure, the first few days were spent how I usually start a vacation: I stayed up late, and I slept in. But then I came to an amazing realization: I didn't have any responsibilities.

  • My access in OIT had been revoked. I'd already transitioned all my duties to the next manager. No matter what emergency happened at my old office, there was nothing I could do.
  • I hadn't yet been granted any access at Morris. I had been named the new IT Director, and a few people knew me. I'd met the Computing Services staff during my interview. But if something major happened, there was virtually nothing for me to do.

Without any responsibilities, I truly began to relax. And even though my wife and I spent part of that "month off" buying a house and moving, I didn't care.

When that month ended, and it was time to get back into gear, I found I could think more clearly. I could focus more easily. I could prioritize more efficiently, because that clarity brought perspective.