What I did on my Summer Work Trip
For the past four days, I’ve been in California at work. As I type this, I am sitting in the airport awaiting my flight home.
The main reason I was down in California was to meet with some consultants regarding our Knowledge Base, a task I was formerly in charge of, but left behind as a result of my new job. Given that this consultant is in charge of trying to help improve things, I had to explain where the gaps were (and there are plenty). This was done over the course of several meetings.
Monday night, I went to visit Marcelo up in San Francisco. I think that’s the first time I’ve been to the City and not managed to get lost in the process. Marcelo has a nice house nestled on a hill along with a bunch of other houses. The major problem: parking. I even got to witness a fender bender as the result of someone trying to parallel park.
I also spent a lot of time talking to my fellow employees. A lot of changes are in the process of occuring where I work and everyone is more than a little confused about what they should be doing. There’s a lot of talk about doing more with less, at least in the short term. I will spend more time talking to my co-workers over the next two months as I help develop their personal development plans.
I did get some clarity on my new job. While I am not doing as much technical stuff as I once was, and yet not a manager, I am playing an important role: one of an advisor. While I advise on technical matters, I can also provide advise/insight on handling tough customers. I am a resource that others on my team can count on for a number of different tasks.
My moment of clarity on this trip lead me to the conclusion that my co-workers, while very technical in nature, have a job that requires a fair amount of people skills. By the time issues reach our group, they are many times beyond purely technical help, but enter the realm of politics — politics of our customer and politics of our organization. To navigate this realm, you need to be adept at dealing with people, some of which can be emotionally charged.
My goal over the next couple of months will be to assess where my co-workers are in terms of people skills and suggest several courses that will be needed to improve overall people skills. It’s definately a bit different from what I’ve been doing, but it’s a challenge I look forward to.