It has been a long 10 weeks.
Thank you for sticking around, and thanks to the new visitors, I have been checking in and your visits have inspired me to push on with blogging.
Not only have I started and finished the first term of my MBA, I have FINALLY transitioned over permanently to my new role at work and the pace just keeps quickening! I hope to be posting more frequently, although I am currently enjoying the one week break between terms, so it could be my wishful thinking. Although these past 10 weeks have been quite the challenge, I love a good challenge and it has given me lots of material to write about. But first, a quick reflection post, neatly sectioned in to the three priority aspects of my life, because I’m a little OCD like that.
Those who have been following my blog for a while now may recall that I was promoted to a different role in the same organisation in February, however my then Manager wouldn’t release me. Well, I was only finally released last month in June! Over three months of trying to juggle two completely distinct roles and commencing the MBA was quite difficult. I’m a firm believer that the first three months in a role are critical in establishing yourself within a team, however I was finding it hard to prove my worth when I was only around half the time.
Thankfully, the last month has been an absolute whirlwind of little wins and opportunities. There have definitely been some downs as I adjust and find my feet, but I’ll save that for another post. Now back to the fun stuff, the wins. They have greatly assisted me in establishing credibility within this new department, and they make my line of Management look good too. I put it down to a combination of taking initiative, putting myself out there, and good timing. I’ve listed some examples here in the hope it helps others to identify opportunities in their new, or existing, roles.
- Some examples of taking initiative: To assist me in my fact finding efforts as I settled into my new role, I prepared an info-graphic about compliance as it applies to the organisation. I provided it to our Senior Management team as a reference document to assist them, thinking that would be the end of it. Our GM referred to it in front of the COO, who loved it and took a copy to the Board. In addition to this, I was invited to participate in an inter-unit working group to meet a key deliverable for the CRO. The existing members of the working group were time poor and progress had stalled. I soon found myself coordinating the work largely on my own and producing results. Due to this, I was nominated for an employee recognition award by a Manager in a different unit.
- An example of how I put myself out there: The CRO was offering a shadowing program, giving applicants an opportunity to shadow him or a member of the senior leadership team. Being new to the area, I submitted my application and was successful in shadowing the CRO. As timing would have it, his Executive Manager was going on leave for a few months, so he needed somebody to temporarily fill the role. He offered the position to me as my shadowing application was front of mind. This will be a great development experience for me, giving me the opportunity to apply/test some MBA knowledge.
I’m relieved that upon reflection over the last term, I am still glad about my decision to commence an MBA. My first subjects were Financial Accounting and Managing People. I originally studied Accounting in my first year of Commerce/Law undergraduate studies, straight out of High School. I found Accounting physically nauseating and it was the reason that I dropped out of the Commerce degree. Imagine my surprise, shock and horror that I actually enjoyed, and got it this time around. Real world experience and exposure to business concepts certainly helps bed down Accounting concepts. I found Managing People very relevant and quickly applicable to my work, as we are going through rapid change. Topics such as organisational structuring, change management and inter-unit collaboration were particularly easily translatable to work. I found that the topics were not particularly difficult, provided the appropriate preparation and effort was invested to master the material. I am waiting for exam results at the moment, so hopefully will have good news!
The social and professional side of the MBA has also been a real plus. The 80+ students in my cohort have quickly bonded and it feels like I have known many of them for much longer than 10 weeks. They come from a great variety of professional backgrounds and are generally an inspirational, high achieving bunch of people. Notably, there are a few General Managers in their early thirties, and new or expecting mothers who are juggling work, the MBA and starting their families.
In terms of the work load and the lifestyle adjustment, week 5 was definitely the hardest, and the turning point. My eye bags had never been, well, baggier and my body was protesting against me. I felt achy, fatigued and sick. I knew that I had hit the bottom when my two Google searches in rapid succession were “best eye cream for dark circles” and “how to tell if you are burnt out”. Luckily, things fell in place after week five as I settled in to a workable study routine.
My partner has been wonderfully supportive during this very busy, transition time in my life. He has been picking me up late at night from University, driving me in on the weekends and has been very understanding when it comes to being on the receiving end of my neglect (although, I suspect he has been enjoying the extra fishing time!). We have recently returned from a weekend trip to Queensland to celebrate the end of my first term and to make the most of the down time. Family wise, I haven’t been back to my home town since Christmas, so I miss my parents and sisters. Luckily, my younger sisters are coming to visit me in a few weeks which I’m looking forward to.
I hope everyone has been well, and I look forward to posting more often.
That Career Girl