I love change, until I hate it.

I have a strange love of change in my work place. I get bored quickly doing the same type of work repeatedly. The more things change, the more my job remains interesting. This is generally good for me because my job typically has a lot of variety, it all leads to some sort of change, small (like new reports to help improve process) or large (such as new system implementations).

When going into a project, I have always been the first to admit that change can be difficult, but that I am weird and LOVE change. I think my enthusiasm usually sets others at ease, although sometimes it can also mislead others about the complexity of the undertaking.

A year ago, the company I work for was bought by another company. I spent most of the year working on the systems integration project with a team from both companies, including about a third of 2012 traveling to the new headquarters on the east coast. In November, the companies officially merged and the system changes went into effect. It meant an ERP (SAP) change for half of the organization and a CRM (SalesForce.com) change the other half of the organization, among a bunch of other changes.

Throughout the process I did the same type of work that I’ve done for the past five plus years: a mix of Business Systems Analyst (geek-to-business-translation) work and Project Management.  Unfortunately, my BSA work was all focused on the legacy systems, not the systems that we were consolidating to.

Once the go-live data issues settled down and my focus changed to the new system rather than the old, I became horribly overwhelmed.

At the risk of sounding like a corporate dweeb… I have prided myself for years on being a change agent of some sort and as part of that, hand holding others through change, and always having the answers.

Last week, I realized that I was struggling with the change. It was taking me days to get through something that would have taken just a few hours in our old system, purely because I didn’t know the database structure and didn’t know the system well enough to find the data sources without help. I didn’t want to ask for help, because I never need help. (“Never” was definitely an oversimplification.)

It was a huge blow to my ego to realize that I was struggling with the change. And then in the back of my head I heard the advice that I give everyone else: “How are they going to know that you need help if you don’t say something? You won’t learn if you don’t ask.”

I eventually got my head out of my ass and asked for help. Things are still taking me longer than they used to, but that’s part of learning a new system (another piece of advice that I often give others and ignore when it applies to myself).

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m good at change when I realize that change is happening to me, but when it sneaks up on me or I am not in control in some way I can be really bad at it.

Or perhaps I’ll just blame the SAD, I’m sure that had some influence. (By the way, in case you were curious, the light therapy thing I got is working fantastically.)

2 comments

  1. Hi Murren- As a SAP consultant, I can totally relate to the struggle to adapt to change. My job is basically documenting everything a company does, and then flipping their world upside down. It is so easy when you’re on the other side of change, driving it versus experiencing it. I hope you have the support you need within your organization to learn about SAP and see the benefits. What functional area do you work in? I am a functional finance consultant.
    PS. I like the ‘geek to business translation’ phrase. I find it hard to describe what I do, and that defines it so perfectly!

    1. Hi Tbedro,

      I actually work as a Business Systems Analyst in IT. Before we moved to SAP, I was not responsible for any single functional area, but was involved in all of the projects IT applications projects that we did internally. I moved into this role several years ago when we did our previous ERP upgrade. I think the part that made this particular change most difficult was that I wasn’t learning the system ahead of the end-users. I was mostly doing project management work and data pulls from our legacy system in the lead up to cut over, and so when the time came that I actually needed to start understanding the SAP data I was lost.

      I don’t recall how I came up with the “geek to business translation” description of my job, but it is really the best way to say it!

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