This chapter of our book does not relate to me directly as I am not a geek being promoted, however many of the challenges geeks face after promotions are similar to those suits experience. As I was reading I could not help but think back to my days serving as the Vice President of Campus Organizations on GCSA.
When I first began my time there, I did not fully realize what the whole position required. Actually, just as the authors said about new management positions, I feel like I probably would not have a complete grip until after a year or two in the position. Going in, I only saw the position’s tasks from the view of a subordinate. I did get a little bit of training from my predecessor, but not nearly enough to be able to jump right in. Week to week I found myself wondering what I was suppose to be doing because sometimes, most times, I honestly had no clue. I just rolled with the punches and acted like I had everything under control.
I did not really have a mentorship to guide me through and so the only support systems I could lean on were my colleagues, who were equally as lost in their own positions, and the class councils working beneath me. Neither seemed to promising at the time.
After my year of service, it came time for me to help in the hiring process of my replacement. Not only did I feel like no one would be able to take my place and run with the foundation I had established, but I did not want to give up the job. These feelings are probably similar to those of a technical person going from having a direct hand in the projects to managing from a distance.
Upon hiring my replacement, I realized that even though I wanted to be missed and irreplaceable, that was not the best plan all around. Instead of unloading a bunch of information on the next poor soul, I decided to change into a mentorship position for the position I used to fill. Last spring I began to meet weekly with him in order to share files I had used for my job and properly explain the step-by-step process of each of the projects and events I had a hand in. This way, the new active manager would be able to hear and digest each aspect of their new role and what was expected of them. Through this, I was sure to establish a working and friendly relationship with him so that he would feel comfortable coming to me for help unlike how I had felt just a year earlier.
When we came back from the summer, I would meet with him once a month to guide him through this new management role and avoid making him feel like most new managers do. I did not want the year to be wasted because he was just trying to learn the position and by the time that fully happened his time would be over and a new person hired. So through this I asked questions pertaining to both his work and personal life and allowed him an opportunity to ask any questions he may have throughout the year. Although it would have been easy for me to reapply and do this position again, I realized that sometimes just because it’s easier to take the reigns instead of explaining a job to someone else, that is not always the healthiest or most beneficial thing for the team. Throughout my year of working and then year of mentorship, I learned how to move into a management position and then turn around and allow someone else to fill that space successfully. With the rest of the year, I hope I can teach him how to continue this management to mentorship trend.
An example of a person who is prepared to make the jump from worker to manager because he knows how to manage the work of others daily and can see the big picture of a new role:
An example of a person who is not at all prepared to make the jump from worker to manager because he does not know the day-to-day tasks or how to successfully manage others: