After four wonderful years as Dean of Students at Pepperdine School of Law, I am transitioning to a completely new position as Dean of Graduate Programs. I am still at the law school, same wonderful people, but new office, new role, and new adventures. My new job involves joining forces with the amazing team at the world-renowned Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution as we design, market, and deliver new non-JD programs while continuing to expand the reach of the Institute’s world class dispute resolution program.
Any sadness over leaving such a great job is relieved because my friend, Steve Schultz, will be a rock star successor and allow me to focus on the excitement of the new opportunity. (I just hope that the students wait to dance until my back is turned!) I am particularly excited by my new role because the Straus Institute drew me to Pepperdine in the first place, and the opportunity to join the day-to-day work of the Straus family is really a dream come true. Blessed are the peacemakers.
In the dizzying swirl of activity as I attempt to absorb massive information for the new role and hand off the responsibilities of the fading role, I can test an old trick that I have recommended to many along the way. Here’s the trick: When cynicism starts to settle in at work and you start to think snippy thoughts about everyone and everything… (Wait, I’m not alone here, right? This has happened to me once or twice in the past quarter century.) Anyway, when you notice that teensy bit of bitterness about your work, that why-try-because-who-really-cares-and-I-sure-don’t-anymore sort of fun mood that your colleagues find so endearing, my trick is to imagine that it is suddenly your first day on the job.
Go ahead. Give it a shot. Imagine it is your first day.
What do you do?
What you don’t do on your first day is think “well that will never work because so-and-so, blah, blah, blah…” No, on your first day you have no idea what will work. Instead, what you do is take a good look around and size up your new colleagues, resources, and surroundings and imagine the possibilities before you. It is a somewhat scary but always exhilarating time. Who knows what might come?
I am once again embarking on a fresh start, and just as I remembered, it is a pretty great/queasy feeling, so I think my old trick is still a good one. If you are in a rut in your present circumstances, you don’t have to quit an old job and start a new one to get the benefit of a fresh start. Starting to look up simply requires an active imagination.