When you start a new job, you must adjust to the job’s demands, as well as the workplace environment. When you begin a new healthcare IT consultant assignment, you might have to adjust to a new city, too. While the assignment may be temporary, you’ll need to find things about the city that resonate with you while balancing relationships at home. Here are some tips to help you get to know your new location while keeping the home fires burning as well.
Take some of home with you. Within reason, put up mementos of home in your new place, such as pictures of loved ones or favorite spots of your hometown, and periodically check the website of your hometown newspaper to stay informed of what’s happening. Have regular check-ins with family and get in lots of Facetime or Skype calls where you can actually see your loved ones. Try not to go overboard with sentimental keepsakes and calls, or you might get homesick.
Join a group or team. If your healthcare IT consultant assignment requires a lot of independent work, give your social life a boost by playing a not-so-serious sport like adult kickball in your area (check out Go Kickball or WAKA Kickball leagues) or Ultimate Frisbee. Find others interested in the same hobbies you are, whether it’s learning a foreign language, playing baseball, discussing books or designing websites with a Meet Up group, where you can search by topic of interest and location.
Get to know your new city. Just because you’re on a temporary job assignment doesn't mean you can’t live like a local. Check out user review sites such as Yelp, JudysBook and InsiderPages to get the scoop on shops, farmers markets, art galleries and entertainment options closest to you, or sort the options by rating to discover the best the city has to offer. The restaurant review site Open Table offers a “neighborhood gem” sorting option to help you uncover hidden spots where you can meet other local patrons.
Find the essentials. Locate the nearest or best grocery store, pharmacy, post office, home improvement store, etc, for when you need to run errands or pick up a prescription. Ask for recommendations from coworkers and neighbors, or use the review site resources above.
Make friends. You may not find a new best friend, but chances are you’ll meet a colleague or two who share your interests or sense of humor. Join teammates for lunch or invite someone to join you for coffee. Take small, simple steps to build collegial work relationships, and overtime, those may deepen into long lasting and true friendships.
Remember that it’s temporary. HIT consultant assignments are typically six months with travel home each weekend, so you won’t be in that same city forever. Enjoy the challenge of helping your client improve their IT systems, and use your time to become a better consultant and coworker. You’ll be on your way to the next assignment in no time.