I just started a new job in local government in a new town. This is a promotion for me and is a position that I've wanted for a long time so I was very excited about the opportunity. I went from a large organization to a much smaller one that has very few employees and as a result, staff must wear many hats. I knew that going into it and was fine with it.
However, the new job is not what I expected. I had to jump right into the deep end with little to no training on what I was supposed to be doing. I went from having almost no experience in human resources, payroll, accounting, etc. to being in charge of those areas in the new position. While I knew I would have more responsibility and welcomed the opportunity, I did not realize I would have no training and little professional support.
The previous person in my position did everything for the organization and she left without really passing the knowledge on to the remaining staff. As a result everyone is kind of floundering trying to figure out what's going on with the budget, accounting system, policies, contracts, etc. The more I've digged into the organizational details the more I realize what a mess it actually is. Now I'm wondering if I've jumped on a sinking ship. To try to fix some of the issues I'm working nights and weekends to try and do what I can to catch up. The problem is I started from a deficit and it seems as though no matter how many hours I put in, I'm still behind.
Has anyone else had this experience with a new position and got into a position that was not what they expected? How have you handled it? I'm determined not to let this job beat me but I need some help with coping mechanisms if anyone has some to share. Many thanks!
You have recieved alot of great advice already so I will leave you with this:
If you feel unhappy and decide to leave the position - suck it up for at least a year - do your best for a year.
a) after a year your perspective may change
b) it will look much better on your resume if you stay at least a year.
Best Wishes to you
Thanks. That's my plan :) I'll reassess after a year and shoot for two.
A lot of excellent advice from many people. I have walked into this many times. I actually became very good at going in to jobs where there were big problems or someone left unexpectedly, fell ill, had an accident. My first step was to go through every drawer and file cabinet and make a searchable log of the files and a quick reference of the contents. Now that we have tablets, this can be even faster because it could be input directly. Don't have someone do it for you because this way you will have a mental log of information you have available.
Sit down with every person who works for you and learn their job. Write down the main processes they do, reports they compile or receive, who those reports go to. This does two things, gets you involved with your staff so you know what is going on. If you can do this with coworkers, do it. When you have all this info compiled it is easier to pole people about what output your group generates, and if you should continue the process or dump it and clear the way for more constructive products. If people tell you they file the report and don't use it, ask why (develop forms to make more effecient, this also helps document the need to get rid of certain processes), outdated? need dif data? dump altogether? What would report or process look like if we continued? What do they need?
This provides you with starting points, involves staff and coworkers in helping to create change. Dumping unproductive processes frees space and time for remaining processes. These tasks should take about a week.
One other process I used was having staff log work as it came in and log when it went out. This can be done for a couple of days and gives you an idea about what work staff gets and turn around time, parties involved. If you do this during your revamp week, at the end you should have a pretty good set of documentation to sit down with supervisor and discuss a plan.
I did this at one company who had a huge problem with getting orders out on time and correctly. It wasn't intentional but when a customer called to complain about their order, my staff had documented when they received it and when it left their area because they were logging for two days. We weren't pointing fingers at other departments, just tracking what we did. Staff decided they liked being able to show their effeciency. Other departments copied our log sheets and within a month the orders were going out almost flawless.
If there is a problem somewhere in the works, ask what you and your staff can do to help from your end of the process. This takes the pressure off of the other departments and opens dialogue for change.
Most of all, take the advise given before and give yourself some down time and delegate when you have a good grasp of what needs to be done. You can't keep up that pace.
Look at this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. You are not trying to fill the other person's shoes, you are assessing the state of the organization and where it needs to go from here. Part of your assessment results should include the fact that the organization left itself vulnerable by relying on one person to do it all and not ensuring it got all her historical knowledge before she left. That is not your fault, but it can be your opportunity to solve it.
First step (which you have already begun), do a comprehensive assessment of status, identifying what is being done well and what is not. Second, determine priorities and fixes. Third, delegate!
There is a lot of good advice in the responses to your question. Take what you can use.
Hope I've been helpful.