Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Transition prep time

Transition time is looming, and agencies are beginning to dust off the briefing books (do agencies still do that?) and PowerPoint presentations. It’s one thing to get those ducks in line with information about agency programs, budget, initiatives and issues. It’s another to consider just how to handle yourself as one set of bosses leaves and another begins to appear. 


The first rule of any transition is to ignore rumors. When new bosses come, some staff changes can occur, especially among political appointees, but other changes take time. Rumors will fly, but why waste time and energy worrying? 


I worked in one agency long enough to see so many office reorganizations with every change in administration that the organizational chart came nearly full circle by the time I left. You will know what is going on soon enough. 


The second rule is that a transition is just that, a transition. Transitions take time, and sometimes it can be years before newly confirmed program heads appear. In the interim, usually a high-level civil service employee is an acting head, and normal operations of a program continue without a pause. 


Often, hiring freezes are put in place. Nothing new, no change of any kind, will take place until several months after a new program head is in office. 


Meanwhile, when the dust settles, some program initiatives of the past will sit on the sidelines while new initiatives begin. In one agency, an industry monitoring unit bobbed up and then sank down during two administrations. The division head who had won mega-awards in one administration became nearly invisible in the next. But the person and the division rose again when another new administration came into town.


What changes do you expect – or hope for -- in a new administration?


Judy Welles



















Posted by Judith Welles on Aug 05, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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