Transitioning into a New Job as an AP

by Brian Dobak
November 9, 2009

There are many situations in our lives and careers where it is important for us to submit. When we don't submit, isn't that where problems might arise? Problems arise when instead of molding to the intricacy of the situation, we force issues and try to have the situation mold to us. Whether its your freshman year of high school, freshman year of college, your first head professional job, or your first assistant golf professional job altogether. We will always find ourselves in situations of change. In a business as transient as ours, it is very common for assistant professionals to move around quite frequently, whether its every year, every two years, or every three years. We migrate.

So you feel like the time has come to move on from the club you have been for a few years or more. You have exhausted the experience and you feel like you’re ready for a fresh experience at a new club. You put your network to use and browse the job listings. You find one that seems to be a good fit, interview, are offered the job, and before you know it, you are in a whole new work environment. How do you approach what can sometimes be a difficult transition? A time when it seems like you are overloading on information, new policies and procedures, new systems, and new relationships?

As confusing as it might seem, be like water.

In the context of moving to a new facility and of sorting out situations and circumstances that are coming at you both fast and hard – be like water. Do not be assertive. For the time being, adjust to the job and the surroundings. Although you’ll inevitably want to, don’t immediately begin comparing the new job to your old job. There will be a time for that, and that time is not during this new transition period. For the time being, empty your mind of the old and be formless, like water.

If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. If you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. If you put water into a teapot, it will become the teapot. During this transition period, when you have no form, you can be all forms; when you have no style, you can fit in with any style. While everything is coming at you, be like water making its way through the cracks. You will find a way around or through the situations and circumstances you will most definitely encounter. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward circumstances will disclose themselves.

When does this transition period end? There will be a time when this transition period goes away, it is inevitable. You will soon become comfortable with your position at your new facility, its personality, and your role there. There is no way to identify when it will happen and it is different for everyone, but you will know it when it happens. It is an undeniable feeling of comfort that will represent a trigger to a new stage in your work experience there. From this comfort, you can start being assertive.

This new stage is the time in which you can potentially begin making your mark. This is the time when you can begin comparing your past experiences to your new experiences, something that was to be avoided when you first arrived. What worked well in your previous experiences and can it be done at your new facility? What areas in your new facility need improvement and can you apply a previous experience to those areas? What didn't work at a previous facility and could it work at your new facility? Did you have ideas at your old club that you didn't try at all, that you want to try at your new facility? Where can you have a constructive impact and make a positive difference in your new golf operation?

This new stage is where the next challenge arises and the fun begins. Management wants creativity from everyone and this is your time to be creative. Management wants everyone to be proactive and this is your time to be proactive. But you can't get to this stage without approaching that initial transition period successfully. Like the cup won't form to the water, the club and golf operation won't form to you, you must form to them. Mold yourself to the facility and in due time, you'll be sprinkling it with your own personality and style, and ultimately putting your stamp on it.

In new experiences, submission comes first. Learn everything that needs to be learned. Then with time, you can be assertive in your ideas and have an impact in your new experience, thus learning even more.

Be like water.