Congratulations and welcome to the team!
This heartening statement heralds the start of a new job. Flushed with success,your heart leaps with the anticipation of a new work environment, new challenges, new colleagues, new friends and more money. The exhilaration almost forces you to blurt out ‘yesterday’ when asked: So, when can you join?
Joining a new workplace is usually determined by the current employer’s relieving date, with a short frenzied period in between. Handing over, fussy accountants, farewell parties, good-bye messages…Phew! Before you know it, you’re shaking hands with the new team. Carrying the stress and tightly knitted eyebrows of the previous job into your new one!
Hey stop! Take time to smell the flowers. Some ‘you’ time to wind down and freshen up. Detox, rest and reset. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.
A job change is an important event – the next stage of your professional career. Take the opportunity to present your next employer a fully charged, new-and-improved ‘you’. Revitalized and raring to go!
Personal ‘down-time’ is a very human aspect of the onboarding process. Yet it features nowhere. Lost in the competition between the relieving manager and the hiring manager. A contest that crushes the employee into discounting herself.
The success-mantra is to highlight down-time in the onboarding process itself. With employees, relieving and hiring managers and HR according it the importance it deserves. With luck, a benevolent regulator may someday mandate it…but it has to start with people reaching out for it!
Be aware: down time will be short and time flies! So plan ahead for best results!
Five must-do themes when between jobs:
- Negotiate hard for time: Everything hinges on the time you can win – so push hard. You’ve negotiated the role, the money, maybe even the location. So why not some time – from both parties:your current employer for an early relieving date, and the new one for a later joining date. It may help to promise both that you can be contacted (within reason and with prior warning), if they should need your views on anything. Remember, your views and their ‘do’. Not vice versa!
- Family bonding: Family first! So ensure that there is a weekend during your down-time because the spouse and kids may already have work/school commitments. It isn’t fair to interrupt their lives just because you are free. Take a quick family get-away, play games with the kids and do something special with the spouse. Pick-up your kid from school. Her thousand-volt smile of surprise and delight is absolutely priceless – guaranteed! (note: not necessarily applicable to teenage kids…)
- Financial evaluation: Review your financial portfolio. Does it need rejigging? Are your investments delivering, or stagnating from neglect? How best to invest the money you will get from gratuity, stock options, etc. Can some of those expensive loans be foreclosed?Lower EMI’s increase cash in hand. Re-look at insurance and retirement plans – even though retirement is a millennium away. Shop around unabashedly and argueaggressively with bankers and financial advisors. You have the time now – and it’s your hard-earned money!
- Health and wellness: Visit an ophthalmologist – maybe your lenses need changing. Get those teeth checked, cleaned and fixed. Neither will be included in your employer’s mandated pre-employment health check. Change your wardrobe: new clothes, shoes and accouterments. Visit the spa – pamper yourself with a make-over, some relaxing massages…maybe a new hairdo! Supervised meditation sessions can nourish your spiritual and emotional self.
- Bucket list check-box:Do something you’ve yearned to do, but never had the time. Drive an F1speedster or meet the Dalai Lama. Exhibit your photographs or write a novella. Learn something new: chocolate making, crochet, rumba dancing or pottery. Something short-term that fits snugly into your down-time. Just do it – or live in regret for a long time thereafter!
Sure, you will be in demand. Old colleagues will call with questions. Hand overs and takeovers almost always have gaps.
Then, there will be the HR housekeeping your new employer will expect. Forms to fill, documents to submit, signatures... Some traveling leader they want you to meet, presentations to study. And that irresistible temptation to constantly Google for news about your new organization:products, competition and people – to keep abreast. And updating your LinkedIn profile.
All very doable. Therefore, be gracious, helpful, co-operative and supportive – on the phone!
So do insist on that down-time. Give yourself the precious gift of personal serenity – before new challenges sweep you away.
Relieving/hiring HR managers:be human and institutionalize the concept of down-time. Including it in the onboarding process would enhance your organization’s people-sensitive reputation!