With a nod to Robert Frost, I’m facing a fork in my road at work with two very distinct possible roads/teams to choose from.
One will be easy, not in the sense of the work to be done but easy because I am a known, respected, and important part of their team. They know what to expect from me and I from them. I have delivered excellent results for them for several years. I communicate well and respond promptly and thoroughly to requests for information. It is expected that the majority of my current team will become part of this other group in due time, so I will know and care about the people I work with. I know their customers REALLY well and know what needs to be done to take proper care of them. There will be challenges for me on this team but they will be of the day-to-day nature…person A and person B have a conflict and want me to mediate or product C is having issues completing critical path activities…same challenges with different wrapping paper each time. My career path with this group would be no different than what I have now, even possibly a little smoother because of the respect I command with their leadership team.
The other choice is tougher in nearly every respect. The work I’d be doing is still fairly murky: probably close to what I do now but with new products and new people. My manager would be the manager I have now, the one that I’m still trying to figure out after a year of working together. The customers are known to me but still not familiar. There’s no built-in respect from this team because they don’t know my value (yet). After 14 years of doing what I do, it’s back to Square One in terms of my reputation and credibility. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells every day now, each footstep has to be delicate and deliberate. And I’ve made stupid mistakes already by trying to bring the old, tired stuff that’s always worked before because it’s easy…but nothing about this team will be easy.
I’m 41 years old and essentially a very lazy person, so the thought of starting over, of having to push myself every day to do better, to BE better, is terrifying. Terrifying and exciting and daunting and enervating and exhausting and, and, and…and I still find myself being drawn in by the challenge. To climb to the top of a mountain when you’re halfway there and have a Fodor’s Guide to help you with the path is not much of a challenge, but to sit at sea level and look up at the Sierra Mountains in front of you, knowing that you will have to bring your “A Game” every day in order to climb to the top, now that’s living.
Look at me being brave all of a sudden – who’d have thought it possible?