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Change is Scary – Tips on Dealing with Changes at the Workplace
Shweta L. Khare
Associate Certified Career Coach (ACCC)

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

– Alan Cohen

For better or for worse, change is tough.  It’s also inevitable.  With layoffs and pay cuts serving as the new normal, now is the time to accept change at work. Consider change a challenge.  Although some of your new experiences will be difficult, bear in mind, they will give you the know-how and confidence you need to adapt, again, when the tide turns.  So, whether it’s a new job, a new boss or company reorganization, here are some no-nonsense guidelines for navigating change at work:

A New Job

  • Maintain an open mind about the people you’ll be working with and company policies that may be new for you.  It’s important to listen and see how the process works.
  • Be polite and friendly to everyone and introduce yourself to your new colleagues.  Don’t wait for them to reach out to you – take the initiative.
  • Spend time reading about your current project and job responsibilities.  For example, make sure you digest handover notes from a former employee or review whatever material your boss hands you.
  • Talk to your colleagues about what they do during a typical day at work.  Ask for help when you need it.
  • Clarify expectations.  It’s important to talk with your boss about his expectations of you in this new role, and about the deliverables for the work you’re assigned.
  • Dress according to the company culture as dressing up or down may make you an object of ridicule. It is best to be an observer initially and try to blend in with the culture, while maintaining your individuality.
  • Be enthusiastic to learn new things.  And, be ready to face new situations and expectations with a positive attitude.

A New Boss

  • Introduce yourself – don’t wait for an introduction.
  • Don’t feel shy or nervous about offering to help.  Remember your new boss is transitioning into a new role, too.  Support from new co-workers is typically welcome.
  • Refrain from saying, “Our previous boss did it this way.”  Comparisons are often not welcome and may cause your boss to form a bias against you. You are not there to tell him what his job is or how to do it.  Your role is to offer a helping hand and provide support.
  • Communicate and compromise.  If you are working flexible hours or working from home, it’s essential to communicate with your new boss early and often.  It’s also a good idea to ask about your boss’s working hours so you can try to work your schedule around his as much as possible – at least during the first few months.
  • Take time to understand your boss’s working style.  Or, simply ask his preference.  Your new boss may prefer face-to-face meetings over email communication.  Or, the other way around.
  • Don’t go out of your way to impress your new boss, but don’t be shy about letting him know about your abilities and achievements.  Remember, you have your job because of the skills and abilities you bring to work every day.

About the Author:  Shweta is a Career Expert (Certified Career Coach) specializing in coaching women, budding entrepreneurs and those in career transition.  When not coaching clients, she loves to blog with all the hope that her words will inspire you to accelerate towards a brighter and successful career.  She is the author of an upcoming book for Women Re-Entering the Workforce, and enjoys coaching kids to speak well and confidently.

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