My wife and my son arrived in Prague recently, after 3 months of being apart from them.
In that period, I felt at times like I was an explorer setting up a new camp. Then sending word back to base camp that it was now safe for the others to arrive. Except in this case, it meant learning how to shop for food, buy a tram ticket, learn some Czech words etc.
At other times, it was just plain lonely to be without my best friends. So as you can imagine, their arrival was a joyous moment for all concerned.
My wife and son are now entering their acclimation period, just as I did three months ago. I started thinking about the parallels of this situation to work life.
Many times, company leaders are planning changes well before others in the company get wind of them. This leads to an unintended but obvious schism: for the ones planning change, they have been getting used to the idea for a while. And therefore have gone through their personal cycle of anger, denial and acceptance. By the time those driving the change introduce it to the broader audience, the “changers” are ready for the future state. Meanwhile, the “changed” are just getting started on their cycle. And these impedances don’t match unless someone specifically works to bridge the divide.
An example: a month into my tenure at my new job, I asked my team if things had changed a lot. “Oh yes” they said. I challenged them by asking what specifically had changed. Did they have a new job description? New work processes to follow? Nope. I spent that first month talking about what was *going* to change. Without actually implementing anything. I did so deliberately so that everybody went through this journey more or less together.
Another, different thought: I reflected on the case of armed services families. I just can’t imagine how families stay connected in the face of long tours of duty. I may be a pacifist in spirit, but I certainly have a deepened respect and appreciation for the sacrifices that service men and women make when separated from friends and family.
OK, so enough ruminations. It’s time to get on with enjoying (and adapting to) my family’s new reality. Stay tuned for new tales of life in Europe.