On July 1st I will join Fundación Casa de los Niños for my Home PULSE assignment and it fills me with excitement, joy and pride. Before I start into that journey, I wanted to dedicate my first post to the journey of Getting Ready… a journey that started about 5 years ago, when I first found out about PULSE and decided that I wanted to be part of it. I believe that all that I have learnt trough this process has brought me to the place where I’m today. I do hope this will help future GSKer that are thinking about joining PULSE on their own journey.
- There is never a perfect time, but there is always the right time. Everything is dynamic, everything around you changes, transforms, slows down, accelerates… and when things are so dynamic, there will never be a perfect time to go into a PULSE assignment, but there will always be the right time… that time when all things come into place for you to be ready to face the challenge and make the stretch. As I think back on my 5 years journey to reach the right time… I can clearly see that everything that I have learned, developed, and gone through personally and professionally, has equipped me with all the skills and capability for stretch for my PULSE assignment.
“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.”
― Wally Lamb, The Hour I First Believed
- Engage your manager on your PULSE purpose early. For your manager, PULSE is not the same as for you. You need to make sure they understand your “why” and how that will help yourself in your development plan and career path, and how it will help GSK, the organization. Share with them your thoughts, your emotions, your journey. This will allow them the time to prepare themselves for a possible sponsorship and have further discussions on the process, what it involves, and if them, the organization, and your peers can be ready. It gives them time to plan.
- Applying to PULSE is a learning opportunity itself. Yes! The application process gets you through many emotions, learnings and developing opportunities. I remember it took me a couple of weeks to write my application, not because I didn’t know what I wanted, but because sometimes is hard to put your thoughts into words… storytelling in paper… not something you do every day. As well, there are these moments through the application process that makes you rethink… ensure that you have thought about it. I remember standing in-front of the drop-down box for Type of Assignment and wonder… I’m I ready to go anywhere? I’m I ready for the ambiguity that this answer derives? Preparing for the interviews, the expectation of the process mails from PULSE…. “Your application is complete”, “Interview Outcome”, “Matching Outcome”, “Your assignment is confirmed!”. Every single time each of those mails came I went back to revisit what had happen. How it went, what I learn, and what will I do better, change, for my next stage.
- Announcing your PULSE assignment to the broader organization. So far, this has been the most diverse part of my process, as there have been so many questions and comments that I was not expecting. You are so involved with your PULSE process that you forget that not everyone knows the same about it, is aware or will understand WHY you are doing it. This has been a great opportunity to have different conversations with my colleagues and new people I have never talked to, about PULSE itself, what I will be doing and what I do expect to achieve, for myself, the ONG and for GSK, how this fits my career path and my development ambitions. The conversations have gone from strange, to fun, to fulfilling, and each one of them, have given me strength to face the challenge.
- Get your team and peers ready. Going into PULSE is not only a stretch for yourself, but it will be one for your team, your manager and those who work with you. I can’t stress enough the importance of supporting all of them through the process of getting ready to face the new responsibilities, the additional workload, and the change in general. They haven’t had the same time as you to get ready. In my case, I have focused on my direct reports, and brought to them the perspective of the opportunities that this can bring to their development and learning. Thou challenging, they can learn faster, get engaged in new challenges, expose themselves differently to the organization. And as well, help them get the support system they will need to embrace and strive, during your time out. Plan together with them and build together the tools for them to carry on as you leave.
- Say THANK YOU for the opportunity. Being part of PULSE is a privilege and a one in a time opportunity (literally, you can only do this once in GSK!). So, say thank you to all that have supported you to get here. To your manager that has sponsor and let go of a key piece of their team… to your team, that will support your responsibilities during your time away… to the PULSE team that challenged you through the process to bring you to the assignment that will fulfill and stretch you into a new you, to your family that have gone and will continue going with you through the journey, and to GSK for PULSE and giving you the opportunity to give back and make a change.
Views expressed in this post are those of the author and not of GSK or FUNDACIÓN CASA DE LOS NIÑOS