Over the past month or so, I've experienced a lot of change at work. I'll be the first person to admit that I don't do well with change. I'm a creature of habit, and while I certainly understand the importance of constant evolution, it always takes me some time to adjust to changes, and if too many changes happen at once, it throws me off balance. Right now we're living in a time of change and uncertainty, and some unrelated changes at work have added to the discomfort I've felt with my current situation. I'm trying my best to adapt, but it's been a long and difficult process.
The first big change that hit me was when our VP announced that my manager was leaving. While I was still finding the best way to work with my manager, I did feel like we were getting into a good rhythm, and because he was heavily involved in my hiring process, I felt like he understood why I was struggling with certain things more than anyone else at the company. I appreciated having a manager who I knew supported me and wanted to help me succeed, and I wasn't sure what would happen after he left. We had a short transition period before my new manager was hired, and while I didn't feel unsupported during that time, I also wasn't sure who I would reach out to if I had a problem (I did have an "on paper" manager who was in charge of approving my time off and expense reimbursement requests, but I don't know that I would have reached out to him if I had something I needed to discuss). I was assigned to my new manager about two weeks ago, and so far things have been working out okay. Thankfully, I worked with my new manager on the first team I was assigned to when I joined the company, so we have some familiarity with each other and I believe that she understands my struggles and will be able to support me through them. While this change ended up working out okay, I still struggled with it during the transition period, and it added to the discomfort I still feel about my new job.
The next major change I encountered was my company's decision to convert the entire NYC office to a remote workforce as the city deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. I've never worked full-time remote before, and this has been a big change for me. I've already written a bit about working from home, and while I have been doing okay with the adjustment, I feel different working at home than I do when I'm in the office. When I'm at home, I'm alone in my room, which is a very different feeling than being in the office with my coworkers. I've also found that when working from home, I have a harder time ending my day - and sometimes I continue working even after I tell my team that I'm done for the day. While my team is still communicating well and I do feel like I'm being fairly productive (all things considered), I do feel that the change from being in-office most days to being fully remote has been difficult and I'm still not fully comfortable with it.
Another big change that I'm struggling to adjust to is a change in my team's structure. Our team tech lead was recently promoted to a managerial position (yay!), and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the changes to our team. Our new tech lead works on a different part of the application than I do (he works more on the backend/api and I work more on the front end), and I'm not sure how familiar he is with what I do, so I don't feel very comfortable asking him for help on technical issues. Right now, we only have two engineers on our team working on the front end codebase (and one of them is me), which means that I only have one person to ask for help all the time (since I still have no idea what I'm doing and need lots of help). It also means that each of us only has one person to ask for PR reviews (we're less comfortable reaching out to front end engineers on other teams because they're not as familiar with our part of the codebase) and it can sometimes take a long time to get finished code reviewed and merged in. I mentioned this in our last sprint retro as a time consideration, and I hope that in the coming sprints we'll take that into account, but it's still an adjustment to know that I'm reliant on one other person to get my work done. The change in my team structure is probably the biggest change I've dealt with, and I'm still struggling with the adjustment.
There have been some changes that were a little easier to deal with. We've been making some changes to how our codebase is organized, mostly to optimize it for the future, and while every change has been a little weird for me, I've been able to adjust. The most recent change involved how we run the app in development, and while I'm still struggling with that a bit (day 2 and I was already back to trying to run it the old way ... oops), I know I will adjust to it, and I'm even investigating strategies to make it a little easier for myself. Being able to adjust to these small changes does help me feel a little less stressed about the change, but at the end of the day, it is something new that I'm constantly learning to adjust to.
With all the change that has happened at work, I'm really feeling out of sorts. But thankfully, I have a manager who supports me, a team that understands my struggles, and a lot of people who are willing to give me the time and support I need to adjust. Slowly but surely these changes will become my new norm (although I'm hoping the remote work environment is not a very long-lasting norm), and I just have to keep moving forward and trying to make each day feel a little easier than the day before.
Adjusting to a change can be difficult. Adjusting to multiple changes that come one right after that other can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. But as long as I keep moving forward, I know that I can eventually adjust to all of those changes. Things may seem difficult now, but eventually, this will all feel perfectly normal.