You would think I would know this stuff, right? Here I am, stressing over whether I should leave my (now past) employer and step into the unknown. Did I once include my natural success orientation mix into the decision? Did I relate my uncertainty and stress back to who I am and what the organzation I had been working for was like, and what they were transforming into?
Heck no. All I thought about was my loss of financial security and my stress as I tried to continue to fit into what was getting to be a harder and harder institution to work for.
Ack. It was definitely time for an epiphany. And it came: My employer was now more process oriented than relationship oriented and shifting rapidly even more so. What had been a small, community focused institution with a strong relationship oriented leadership was now transforming into a larger, process oriented one. Now, the new hires, mostly PhD process oriented academics, were pushing hard to get rid of the relationship aspect and force a new, more predictable (read: process oriented) structure into place. Don’t get me wrong: Bad things happen when institutions grow and they are trying to be run on relationship alone. But education as a whole, particularly at the post-secondary level which on the surface espouses departure from the norms (‘process”), should not be about process, but about achieving goals and doing so while learning what processes work and don’t work, and learning to get along with peers and build relationships across boundaries.
So, here I was, a strong relationship and goal oriented person, becoming increasingly more uncomfortable as the symptoms of this change were becoming more painful for me: I would be almost in tears when I heard things from my peers like “the student used a non-standard font in the footer of her paper” and “the standard structure for the thesis was not followed” (with marks deducted for both). Needless to say, there is no “standard font” and the whole concept of forcing a student into a “standard structure” is so scary to me that I almost gagged when I heard it for the umpteenth time. Where was the “relationship” or the “human development” in this picture?
Well, I got the message and not long ago I left the security of a predictable paycheck and started in a new city at a new instition to me. “As one door closes another opens” is an old saying. Well it was true: The new institution is very relationship oriented, with people-centred communication, relaxing staff social events, and a real focus on getting to know students (read: relationships and human development).
Big sigh of relief for me.
And a wry shake of my head: I should have known better. I work with this stuff all the time. Align your success orientation mix with a job and an organizational orientation mix that matches yours and you will be a MUCH happier. Period.