Fitting in the for sake of learning

No one says that it’ll be an easy journey, especially when you are working on something that is totally new to you. Others may be been doing the work for several years and even fresh graduates have more experience and knowledge given their 4 years of undergraduate education plus internships experience. Some might even have done a side hustle or two. The competition is stiff. The road ahead is bumpy.

Being in process of a career change, everyday has been filled with uncertainty, discomfort, and challenges. It’s definitely not easy to switch from what you are used to doing into a totally new area that you might have some knowledge but little to no experience. There are much to be learnt from scratch and more to learn after knowing the basics. Managing yourself is already quite a handful to deal with. That might include time management for learning and completing all the assigned tasks, understanding the new organisation and team structure that you’ll be collaborating with, getting to know where to find the relevant information in the mountains of documentations available, and more. But things might be even more difficult if you have a team lead and team mates who are always busy, unwilling to share more information to reduce the steep learning curve, and lack inclusivity of new joiners. In order words, you are on your own to fend for yourself.

That happens. At least to the unlucky ones among us.

Even so, it doesn’t mean the end of the road. Depending on the situation and context, there are still choices within our control.

  1. Choose to stay and learn as much as possible within your capabilities.
  2. Have a one-to-one conversation with your immediate team lead or reporting manager.
  3. Request for an internal transfer to another team.
  4. If you are sure that the career switch is right for you but opportunity is lacking in the organisation, consider finding an alternative job.

Each choices would have their pros and cons. Take option 1 for example. By staying with a team that doesn’t care about your development, the rate of your personal and professional growth would definitely be hampered by it. However, there are other variables to consider such as being discipline to learn on your own, or even to seek help from colleagues in other teams or departments who might be willing to share (if only you have asked).

Option 2 is a good choice if your team lead and manager is reasonable and experienced in people management. By being honest about how you feel allows them to make adjustment within or outside the team so that your concerns are addressed. However, not all team leads and managers are the same. They may have different leadership and management style. So, unless you know them quite well or have relevant information on how they might handle the issue, there is some risk of worsening the working relationship even further.

Option 3 is great for more established organisation where there are many teams and departments with demands that need to be filled. It’s always easier to fill the headcount with someone already having the domain knowledge of the organisation than hiring from outside. Of course, that would also depend on the position.

Last option is really when you have exhausted all other options on hand. No regrets for not trying. It’s time to leave.

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