Transitions... or How to Avoid the Medusa Complex

Our climate is pretty moderate here in the Pacific Northwest. We have a gorgeous fall season with chilly temps, morning frost, and rain. We occasionally get snow in the winter – along with more rain and chilly temps. Then spring comes along and we have more temperate days with lots of rain, occasional thunderstorms, and beautiful spring flowers. The one constant throughout the year is rain… or as we call it – liquid sunshine. It’s good for the complexion.

The best part about our weather is that A) everything is green, clean, and gorgeous, and B) the chilly fall, winter, and spring weather allows us to have cheery fires and down comforters to keep us warm. There’s just nothing better than having a crackling little fire brightening up a winter’s evening, or crawling into your lovely flannel-sheeted bed and pulling the thick down comforter up under your chin.

Nine months of rain, snow, wind and more rain slowly begins to ebb away into summer. Almost imperceptibly at first the spring nights warm up, the mercury begins to climb above 60 and 70 degrees during the day, and you get to open your windows to let in some of that fresh spring breeze without having to put a parka on. The only problem with this transition from spring to summer is night time – one night it’ll be very chilly, making you value your flannel sheets and down comforter, and the next evening you’ll wake up in a puddle of sweat, desperately kicking your comforter off to get some relief!

This type of awkward transition can be an inconvenience to some. Nobody likes to wake up in the middle of the night a steamy sweaty mess. For people like me – people with naturally curly hair – it can be a nightmare! Let’s just say, curly-haired people who sleep, sweat, and then sleep some more get up in the morning bearing a striking resemblance to Medusa. This observation has been confirmed by the nervous disinclination of my own family to look me in the eye lest they be turned into pillars of stone.

Transitions can be difficult for candidates as well. It seems like either the progress towards a hire is slow and steady, predictable and with lots of information that really goes a long way in making the on-boarding process smooth and uneventful, or it can be bumpy, jerky, stop-start, never-ending phone/in-person interview process that ends with the client wondering why your candidate can’t start work for them three days after the offer is given, despite the fact that it’s taken seven months to get to the offer stage at all.

What can make this transition period go more smoothly for our clients and our candidates? Is there some way in which we can alleviate the stress of hiring, resigning, figuring out start dates and arranging relocation? Companies – do you have your new hire’s office or desk ready for them when they show up to start work? Is their email address all set up? Is someone set to mentor them, check in on them, answer questions for them, take them to lunch? Candidates – have you prepared yourself for the emotional turmoil of quitting one job, starting another, and balancing the demands of your new employer and your family? Do you need assistance?

Transitions can be hard on everybody. You can either plan for them and switch to your summer bedding early to avoid the Medusa-complex, or you can wait until you wake up sweating in the middle of the night, concerned that your lack of foresight has led you to make a poor decision. How do you look out for your companies and candidates in order to guard against a bumpy transition? Reaching out just a little sooner than you think is necessary can make the difference between a peaceful process, a gentle shaking out of the curls in the morning, and a bumpy jolting experience, requiring a stick-your-head-under-the-faucet-to-tame-the-curls-before-your-family-turns-to-stone experience.

Any stories to share with respect to this topic? I’d love to hear them!

Views: 118

Comment by Rob Clarke on July 8, 2008 at 9:01am
Great post (as usual), I like your writing style. I love the northwest and have a client out in Walla Walla. I have earned my degree of hard knocks on this one several times. After a physician signs a contract, I used to let the hospital just take control of the process and rarely check in- this was a recipe for disaster, after a few falloffs (because I didn't learn after the first!) I now make sure I check in constantly throughout the moving process, so they do not change their minds! I try to deflect any problems or issues early and get them addressed by someone to help alleviate any extra anxiety or burden. It is also important to know what your client will or will not do to help in a transitional period, as well as knowing the mental state of the family as well- the spouse is a big element many times and can help or hinder the process, it is important to understand their concerns as well. Great post, thanks Nancy!


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