The “3 Month Tsunami” is a phenomenon that every new hire goes through. When you start a new IT Leadership position, it can be even worse.

Ok, it is your first day on a new job. You go through some HR orientation with a bunch of paperwork and processes that are each worthy of several hours of study, but you just take the defaults or bring it home to study.

The first week, you meet people on your team, start learning the job requirements, and maybe a bit about the larger organization.

Portions of this article are excerpted from my book, The I.T. Leader’s First Days, available from bookstores everywhere.

If you are in a new management position, especially an IT management position, that first week is all about learning. Here’s the thing: you don’t know what you don’t know. Sure, you might have some idea of what you expect to learn, but generally speaking, you are learning but don’t really have an idea about the bigger picture.

The first month goes by and the honeymoon is over. You start learning more about the history of the organization, the team, and the infrastructure and applications in place. For the most part, you are still learning new things you didn’t know about. But you also start hearing about other areas. Areas that go on your “to learn” list.

The three month mark seems to be the tipping point. You have learned some, but you have now realized that there is an IMMENSE amount for you still to learn. The worst part is that you know what it all is.

During your first week, you are clueless about the pile that you need to learn. At 3 months, you know exactly what you don’t know. And it is a large tsunami that is heading towards you and you know the size and shape, but nothing about what is in it. After 3 months, you continue learning and the tsunami gets smaller and you check things off the list.

3 months is peak terror. But, as terrifying as it is, hang in there. Most of us have made it through it and you will too. Just keep learning.

Photo from Pexels

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