The Grass isn’t Always Greener
I made a temporary career change four months ago. It wasn’t necessarily by choice. But I couldn’t say no to the request. I’ve been a business analyst for the implementation of my company’s largest client. Initially, I welcomed the change, thinking it would be a nice reprieve from my current position, but I was wrong. My every day consisted of testing updates to software, learning new software, writing instruction documentation and help-manuals, configuring software and trouble shooting software bugs. This led to little communication with other humans and a lot of hours just staring at my computer. As a self-proclaimed extrovert, these four months haven’t been easy.
But yesterday, I began the transition into my normal position (sales support/software expert) by leading my first software demonstration in over 120 days. For most people, my comeback could be compared to that of riding a bike for the first time in months. But I’m not most people, and I still haven’t mastered
riding a bike (I blame my short legs and adult-sized bikes). Suffice it to say, as soon as I resumed the demonstration and started talking to prospective clients, I felt in the zone. Suddenly, the script I had once memorized yet hadn’t pondered in months, returned to my memory. I made jokes, laughed, answered questions and created an overall demonstration environment that left the prospects thirsty for more. By the end of the hour-long presentation, I remembered what it was like to be good at something.
I’ll admit, the past four months have been arduous. But even before that, I was starting to suffer from burn out in my original position. Stepping away from it and getting placed in something that was challenging and confusing made me realize how much I actually liked my original job. It has refreshed me and re-instigated excitement about what I do. Another popular saying worth noting here is “the grass is always greener on the other side”. So often, I would day dream about what it would be like to work in implementation for my company and to work directly with clients. Now I’ve tasted that world and realized how happy I was in my own field. I am excited about discovering prospective clients’ needs, creating interesting software environments to show them how we can meet those needs and talking to nonprofit and public sector leaders from all around the world.
I’m still an avid believer that we can learn from the most difficult of situations. In all its chaos and frustration, I attained a multitude of skills and lessons that will translate well into my current position.
- Communication: Sometimes people have difficulty communicating what they want. I learned this the hard way. Initially, I would become almost paralyzed by the lack of detail and explanation around the tasks I was expected to complete. Further, my interpretations were often incorrect, resulting in more work. Instead of continuing down this inefficient path, I decided to take the reigns. I would communicate first, confirming all steps and ensuring understanding. This skill of proactive communication, not only will translate well in my regular position but in everyday life.
- Realism: Sufficiently, it is better to propose a realistic solution and lose than promise impossibility and win.
- Advocate: Let’s stand up for ourselves. Stand up for our dreams. Stand up for balance. Stand up for quality. Stand up for efficiency
- Keep Calm: One week I would have few tasks, and the next week would be littered with impossible requests. Similarly, one week I would be in Louisville, making plans for the upcoming one, and I’d be requested in California within just a couple days. Even with mounted frustration, I learned that the best way to deal with the unpredictability was to just stay calm through it all.
I’m thankful for a job that allows me to ebb and flow to evolve and discover. I’m thankful for this time of learning and growth. Most importantly, I’m thankful to return to a wonderful team that needs my help and for work that is rewarding, enabling my skills to shine.