Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Job Transition

Is it better to have time to transition from one job to another or be thrown into a new position to figure it out for yourself in the sink or swim fashion?  When I started my job the office manager was already gone from the company.  The girl who was filling in that position was also gone already.  They had even hired a new manager who had stayed for 1 month and then quit.  The tasks of the position were very chaotic and very behind schedule by this time.  I was hired and handed the piles of work that needed to be accomplished.  Everyone that worked with me was very helpful to answer questions, but I was sort of on my own to read through things and dig for answers.  The learning curve is tough in this job scenario.
On the other hand, I'm aware that I will receive a promotion in June next year.  My supervisor is retiring and is aware of my promotion.  In fact, she and I get along very well and she has know that I would take over for her since I was hired.  She's been planning towards this end for about 5 years now.  Now that the time is actually approaching her retirement, I'm trying to just continue doing my work as normal and observe as much as I can of her job.  I feel like I'm expected to be able to step in at any given time to make the appropriate decisions as if I am already in that position.  Then there are times when I volunteer to do things that seem simple and within the bounds of my current job as office manager, and my supervisor tells me that she's not gone yet, and doesn't want to feel useless.
What a predicament to be in.  I find myself saying "not my department" quite a bit now.  It's tough.  I'm not sure which way is better to take on a job.  Any suggestions or opinions?


  1. It sounds like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    To answer the first question you posed.. I definitely think it is important to have that transition period versus the "sink or swim" training that many employees experience (just like the Treadway Tire Company case study we discussed in class). I have seen the "sink or swim" training in my department. I think it sets employees up for failure.. unless the employee already has some basic knowledge and does extremely well with teaching themselves (but I think that is a small, select few).

    The benefits of "sink or swim" training would be that the employee does have to do the research to find the answers and they become very independent with their decision making ability. This may or may not be a benefit depending on the structure of the organization but I could see where it would be a positive thing. Also, it shows the employee's drive and need to succeed.

    As far as your supervisor being selective on the tasks that you should handle because she doesn't want to feel useless... I would bet that it is more of a psychological thing than anything. She has been working all her life (I am assuming) and now that it is closer to retirement... she wants to still feel needed. It may be a matter of some reverse psychology... making her still feel needed but still taking initiative to take on those extra tasks that are within the scope of your current position.

    This is all just brainstorming out loud.

  2. Hi, Becky, it is hard to know the emotion of the people will retire, because they always feel sick and useless, In my view, you should do some background jobs, and the "big thing" just let her do, that would make her more comfortable.

    The same as this is our parents situation, my father will retire maybe in 5 years, he feel so nervous about it, his life is fullfilled by the job, if someday he need not get up 7AM and drive to work, it must make him crazy....

    I wish you can solve the problem, and receive the promotion on time!!!