Relocations are a must part of a professional life. Growth comes through changing places and organizations as it brings in unparalleled learning of adapting to newer environment and undiscovered wisdom which may not happen in the state of inertia. Here we have a situation where an individual has shifted from one location to another in search of the Holy Grail. The change takes the individual by surprise. As it goes with the initial rites of passage, a series of shocks and tremors are meant to awaken us to a situation where we ‘survive’ to become tougher and wiser. The situation is as shared below:
I am from ABC, recently moved to xyz for a new job. It’s been about two months since I joined and the initial excitement has vanished altogether. This is the first time ever I am living on my own and I must admit it is boring. I am left alone, no friends and no office buddies. I am not used to this kind of environment with absence of fun loving nature in employees. But I have seen other companies adjoining ours with better crowd, guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Office is bland and boring. On the weekends you may develop suicidal tendencies, the kinds that arise knowing how the life has changed for the worse compared to what it was. Every day, I miss my family, city and friends. All of them are in ABC. To add to my woes, my manager is rude, arrogant and inconsiderate. At times he just shouts and then apologises stating work pressure as an excuse. Most of the time, even that apology, doesn’t come. My training is ruined because he sits in some other location and blames me for being slow. When the fact is he cannot find time to train me. Sometimes he abuses and then says don’t mind as he thought I was my more experienced than other team mates. Colleagues discuss the price of the vegetable in different local markets. To top it all, there is no transportation offered, as it was promised. I have to walk close to a kilometer every morning under the scorching sun to get to a point from where I can get an auto! My manager asked me to get a house nearby. Its difficult to find a decent place at a decent price close to office. In addition I am also having food, laundry and maid issues! How I miss my home!
We segregate each problem in the above situation to consider them exclusively and find a collectively exhaustive solution.
Expectation Management: Life would get better with a relocation: Most of the time, when we relocate, we expect things to change for better. Hence we stand jolted when the reality doesn’t match the expectations.
Problem: “I am from abc, recently moved to xyz for a new job. It’s been about two months since I joined and the initial excitement has vanished altogether. This is the first time ever I am living on my own and I must admit, it is rank boring. I am left alone, no friends and no office buddies.”
Solution: Accepting the change, to bring in a combination of experience prepare us better for it. As explained by Daniel Goleman, in Performance Review: It’s Not Only What You Say, But How You Say It, “The neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has found that when we’re in an upbeat, optimistic, I-can-handle-anything frame of mind, energized and enthusiastic about our goals, our brains turn up the activity in an area on the left side, just behind the forehead. That’s the brain state where we are at our best”. Hence getting into that state of mind and staying objective to each situation is the first step.
Cultural shock: Cultural shock in a new situation with different natured people contrast to what one have found so far.
Problem:“I am not used to this kind of environment with absence of fun loving nature in employees working here. But I have seen other companies adjoining ours have better crowd – guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Office is bland and boring.”
Solution: Change in the environment is the only constant thing in life. As explained by Cultural Savvy, there are five stages to a cultural shock. First stage is incubation or honeymoon. Everything is new and exciting. Second stage is frustration in trying to adapt. Here the individual feels impatient, frustrated, incompetent, and angry. Third stage is the turning point, which is fight or flight. Here one gains understanding, feels positive or returns home. Fourth stage is integration. Recognizes new culture has much to offer. Fifth stage is re-entry shock. Sometimes an individual experiences difficulty in returning to their own culture. The best way to adapt into a new culture is by remaining inquisitive towards it. It’s normal to fall into the trap of comparing the new to the older one. The individual needs to stay constantly motivated to avoid that trap. This can be done by steady exploration of the new area and remaining objective to the new experience gained. Treat every situation as unique and create your own mantra to enjoy and lighten up by finding a humour in it.
New job management: The learning at a new job depends on educating on the essentials, associating it with past experience if relevant and applying the new wisdom gained. It requires time and patience. Higher rate of errors in the job is normal. It may require a fostering environment.
Problem: “To add to my woes, my manager is rude, arrogant and inconsiderate. At times he just shouts and then apologises stating work pressure as an excuse. Most of the time, even that apology, doesn’t come. My training is ruined because he sits in some other location and blames me for being slow. When the fact is he cannot find time to train me. Sometimes he abuses and then says don’t mind as he thought I was my more experienced than other team mates.”
Solution: Focus on the new information and its application to mitigate the areas of errors. A fostering environment might support learning. But that’s ideal. Generally, new reporting managers do get impatient with the errors made by the new hires. The best way to deal such a situation is to be patient and find a mentor who can handhold. In case there is no such support, its best to take the mentoring from the manager. A keen interest to learn every task in details would change the outlook of the manager. The mistakes need to be taken as a learning experience and take the manager in confidence. This can be routed to strike a rapport with the manager to create a positive impact. We do not change people we come across, rather moderate our responses to them.
Avalanche of Issue: When the primary areas go wrong, it spirals in every other area creating a bigger predicament.
Problem: “To top it all, there is no transportation offered, as it was promised. I have to walk close to a kilometer every morning under the scorching sun to get to a point from where I can get an auto! My manager asked me to get a house nearby. It’s difficult to find a decent place at a decent price close to office. In addition I am also having food, laundry and maid issues! How I miss my home!”
Solution: The concerns need to be addressed one at a time. Segregating them will make them easier to handle. Once divided, identify which one deserves most attention. Here, housing and transportation are basic issues. Hence to look for a Paying guest accommodation nearer to the office might be a solution. This change can be made temporarily to find the best accommodation within the cost. Often working class stays in a house, sharing the rent. This can be considered as well. Making new friends in a new city takes time. During which, learning about the new culture, language and interest would make the best use of time. This would remain an added advantage in the future. As, knowing different cultures makes one fascinating to others. The tipping point lies is deciding what one wants as an end result. Consequently, prioritise the concerns accordingly. Decide on the takeaways from every moment and make the most of it. A situation of absence of friends can be devoted to study of any area of interest, through books and internet. Focussing on oneself and planning towards the development makes the individual stronger. Taking up a hobby is a way out, but it depends on the options provided by the environment.
Finally the choice in the situation remains in finding the meaning of the experience. Coping is a choice which would depend on the meaning of end result which can be ‘returning home with new learnings’ or ‘staying back as valiant’. In words of Sheena Iyengar, the author of ‘Art of choosing’, “Meaning is as important as a choice. Choice and meaning are intertwined. We use choice to define our identities, and our choices are determined by the meanings we give them.” Thus decide to make the most of all the experiences gained through the change. The last resort remains in returning home in case it becomes unbearable. But the glory is in growing up with the circumstances and getting valiant through it.