When You are No Longer the New Guy in Town: Eight Months After the Relocation
Posted: August 29th, 2017Author: All4 Staff
In December 2016, I decided to take a risk that I had never taken before…I was going to move out of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is the state I grew up in, and I had lived in various parts of it throughout my first 22.5 years of life. However, I was attracted to the opportunity to go somewhere new and explore what other areas of the world (or at least a Commonwealth slightly south of Pennsylvania) had to offer. In discussions with Kevin Hickey, our Chief Operating Officer, we decided I would be a good fit for the technical staff position in the All4 Inc. (ALL4) Washington, D.C. office, and I was going to relocate to Northern Virginia in January. The decision to leave home and my family behind was not an easy one to make, but I was swayed by my desire to further accelerate my career development, live somewhere new, and meet new people. So now that it has been eight months since the big move, how have things gone?
By moving to the WDC office, I was hoping to expand my expertise in various new areas. As I had hoped, with the new office also came many new opportunities. I could begin working with various clients and industries that I had not interacted with before. I was also able to strengthen my relationships with the Project Managers in the office, as well as grow a trust between us. I set out to challenge myself to take on new roles and responsibilities within the office, and have been able to do more than I ever expected. The Project Managers in the office enrolled me into proposal writing, reviewing proposals, fact-finding calls, and much more. I had never been involved with the ALL4 sales process, and this was a great entry into how it works. My client interaction has also increased exponentially since moving to the WDC office. I am regularly involved with client communication, including emails and phone calls, as well as visiting clients on-site. This has allowed me to better understand our client’s needs, as well as develop a solid working relationship with them.
Although the move has been overwhelmingly positive professionally, there were also many challenges including understanding air quality regulations and the air quality permit application process for several “new” states, more “overhead” assignments and responsibilities, and adapting to a new office environment. While in our Philadelphia office, my work was predominantly with Pennsylvania clients and I became familiar with the Pennsylvania-specific air quality regulations. In D.C. I am working with a more dispersed group of clients located in several states that I had not previously worked in. In terms of office setting, I knew it would be an adjustment going from a 40 plus person office to an office of five including me, but I was not entirely sure what that adjustment would feel like. My biggest concern was no longer having someone next to me to bounce questions off, but this was quickly resolved. Through electronic communications, I could efficiently discuss these questions with colleagues, and so I have the same level of support as I did in the Philadelphia office.
On top of the professional challenges and opportunities for development that were presented, the move also brought me personal success in my ability to thrive in a new community and meet new people. Relocating to Northern Virginia was the first time in my life I didn’t live in Pennsylvania, and the first time I didn’t have a family member living under 20 minutes away. Growing up in a very large family, this was an adjustment for me. I was also presented with the challenge of making new friends. Relocating also forced me out of my comfort zone as my life-long friends were now more than four hours away and I had to make new “local” friends. At times, I felt like I was back in high school or a freshman in college trying to sell someone on being my friend. However, despite the challenges, living in the D.C. area has provided me an opportunity to explore new places, expand my career, meet new people, and continue to enjoy the adventure of “adulting” and consulting.