Your First Day: Make it Count!

- Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Photo by Sam LeVan, FreeImages

I can’t begin to count the number of conversations I have had over the past months about what we do (or did, or should do…) about work and life. As mentioned in the previous post, we have talked about so many things with regards to life/work balance, returning to offices, how we work, roles and responsibilities, etc, especially as we near what is beginning to feel like the end of this pandemic.

For many Department of Extension colleagues, we mark the beginning of another chapter in this story as transitioning to a face-to-face work environment via Extension county offices begins today. Whether you were part of a county office that had already initiated some sort of a transition or not, there is no question that re-opening will require a little bit of extra attention.

Changing our routines can be fun and exciting (think of a two-week vacation). It can also be stressful (who wants to re-live March 2020?). What some of our county-based colleagues are dealing with today is akin to family reunion. How awkward are those as you try to make your way around to get re-acquainted with everyone as people arrive? And who among us hasn’t wondered at some point “how soon can I leave?”  : )

I would prefer to think of today as the first day on the job. For some of our pandemic-era new hires, it may be just that (and for those I say thank you for hanging in there). While we are like family and this may feel like a family reunion of sorts, I would encourage you to also think about our return to ‘normal’ as a reset.

We have been blessed with so much opportunity to learn so much about ourselves, our work, about what is important. If you are a county educator, what aspects of your work are most suitable and appropriate for the county office setting? What aspects are better suited done or require you to be elsewhere? How can you improve or strengthen relationships with your office colleagues, each of them serving in a variety of critical roles? How can they better support you? How you can you better support them? It is a perfect time to ‘reset’ how you approach your work.

Every one of us plays a critical role in carrying out our mission. We have the potential to exponentially increase our abilities if we use our county office spaces as places for cultivating highly productive and collegial relationships with colleagues, stakeholders and clientele.

Welcome to your first day…how will you invest yourself?

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