By Robyn Brooks
New York, NY
Merriam Webster defines 'transition' as the following:
a: passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another
b: a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another
Often in life we go through transitions, and some are more notable than others. In October, and again in January, our new associates began their transition from school into the working world. In truth, this is a significant part of their lives. Our associates have literally traveled through a passage from a place of summer vacations, no classes on Fridays, and their routines, into a place of busy seasons, training and cubicles.
“Transitioning into a new position at McGladrey gave me a heightened sense of excitement and joy,” says Patrick O’Leary, Assurance Associate. “However, I also couldn’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed and stressed.” The beginning stages of a transition from school to work may seem both exciting and intimidating. Working with your teams, relying on your new peers, discovering your relationship with your Career Advisor are all in place to help through this time.
Melissa Rutkowski, Consulting Associate has recently made a physical move from living in Pennsylvania to New York City. “Moving into a big city without a core group of NYC friends has also been harder than I had originally anticipated. It takes time to cultivate new and true friends even in a city with over a million people.”
I think the most important aspect of the transition is explained in definition “B”. This point in our associate’s lives is a period of development and evolution. This is the very moment where one can take all the knowledge obtained from five years of schooling, and apply it. This is the moment where potential can begin to fulfill and where connections become relationships. It is not as easy as it seems.
“You constantly face challenges in regards to daily responsibilities, familiarity with firm software, and meeting expectations. I have begun to tackle these issues just as I have at any other new job or situation,” Patrick relates. “At the risk of sounding cliché, you must take it one step at a time, and learn in small doses. Taking on a huge task is too daunting, and can make learning seem impossible. Once you begin to conquer small obstacles, your confidence rises, and new tasks seem much more manageable.”
Keep in mind that everyone wants to see you succeed. If one person does well, then so does everyone around them- in the office and out in the field. “McGladrey has been able to ease my transition into the corporate world, by surrounding me with a team of employees who have been more than willing to help me navigate the client sites and tasks at hands,” Melissa explains. “Moreover, by taking my manager's advice, to take advantage of travel assignments by visiting tourist attractions and enjoying the local cuisine during off-time, has helped ease my transition into a position which demands occasional out of state traveling.”
Azka Abid, former tax intern recently started as a full time associate. “The transition was a lot easier for me since I started out at McGladrey through the extern pathways program,” she said, “and then continued as a part-time year round intern. This gave me the opportunity to see my day to day work environment, and meet people who were actually working in the positions that I wanted to work in. Thankfully, having a little bit of direction about where I was going to be placed within the company made me feel like I was already ahead of the game.”
So what can you do to ease your transition and ensure it is a time of positive development? “I listen actively,” Patrick suggests, “ask relevant questions, take good notes, and learn from my mistakes. When a certain task isn’t going according to plan; I fend off frustration, understand what I am currently doing incorrectly, and then retain the information necessary to prevent such ineffective behavior in the future. Regardless of expertise level, starting employment at a new firm is guaranteed to result in some hardships.”
“Reflecting on my transition from a college grad to a new hire, I wish I had known earlier that it's okay to make mistakes,” Melissa recalls, “as part of the learning process and not be afraid to ask questions. As I have been told by my coworkers, it is better to make mistakes proving that you are taking ownership of tasks as opposed to having a spot free record and being completely reliant on others to complete a task.”
Although she was an intern prior to being an associate, Azka notes a different type of transition. “It was important to make sure that I was transitioning forward in my career and not sending the same image I did as an intern. I wanted people to know that I had learned from my experiences and was capable of looking things up on my own, and asking for help when it was actually needed. Transitioning into a full time job can impact your life in many ways, and after finishing my first forty hour work-week I knew the internship era was over, and I had to balance my life and use my weekends wisely.”
Sometimes an easier transition means flexibility of your every day schedule. “One item I am still trying to figure out is matching my work schedule with an exercise schedule,” Melissa noted. “I have been hesitant to join a gym while not yet fully knowing what my week to week travel schedule will be. One thing I do when traveling, is to take my gym apparel along so that I can take advantage of any work-out equipment that may be in the hotel.”
If you have a transition to make soon, know that it may be difficult, but this is the time to develop as an individual and evolve as a professional.