Lessons from the Leap: Five Month Update

Like my fellow Accidental Admin, Kenny, I made the leap from admin to consultant in November. Five months in and I can relate to the feelings he had at his six-month update (shared just before I deployed my personal change set).

Perhaps unlike Kenny, I dove in head-first to a new-to-me company and my first client was super familiar. I was put on the transition project to move the org of my previous employer to the acquiring company. What you don’t ever visualize when you are working your dream job is that one day it will come to an end. And even further, you don’t ever imagine that you’d stick around to watch it become something else. Yet that is the life I lived for the past five months in my first engagement as a Salesforce Consultant.

My situation is fairly unique and while I didn’t see it back in October, it ends with a pretty happy ending. I made some new connections, handed off data that I have confidence won’t leave the new org’s admin in a pile of mess, and got to experience life as a consultant in a place that I was fairly familiar with faces, business processes, and expectations.

Even though it ended on a good note, it doesn’t mean that adjusting to the new reality of my role was easy. It put some weight on me. On the heart. On the brain. And, worst of all, on the body. Let’s talk about that, shall we?

Weight on the Heart

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my new Company with words I can’t even come up with. I didn’t think that it was possible to love a company more than I loved my previous one, but it totally is. There was an instant click when I started the interview process. The faith, the trust, and the commitment to my development is all there. My boss is incredible and pushes me to be a better me (she checked in while I was on go-live week just to ask if I’d taken time for myself and she’s encouraged me to take that test again and get some other certs that push me comfortably out of my comfort zone, too). Our owners are genuine and personable – the passion they’ve put into making our company what it is shows every single day. And my co-workers don’t get tired of my questions (I can’t turn off the BA side of my brain) and roll with my occasional inability to get my technology “just right” even when it is the same stand-up call every day.

But there was this weight that was put on my heart through this whole process. I knew that taking the leap was going to take some courage, but what I didn’t know is the pressure that my first client would have on my feelings. I remember clearly saying to my (ex-)boss that I would see the E4a through to the end, I’d be the last leaver standing. He smiled and basically told me that he knew doing so felt right but that I also needed to think about myself, too.

When I got signed on with the merger project, I forgot about the tears that came with saying goodbye to my colleagues just a week before. I was on a honeymoon with my new company – a slick new computer, an immediate sense of being welcomed to a remote team and in the office, a newly set up work from home office, started kid care for all four of my babies (thanks to having a Dependent Care Account, finally!), a husband starting a new job – everything had fallen into line and I felt on cloud nine. But the heart hurt. I had to go through the goodbyes at E4a all over again. I was back in the office from time to time to glean requirements and data cleansing and watched as someone took over my old cube. More leavers had their last days. The office dwindled to a steady six. We traveled to Raleigh to test and train and then had final “ABF’s” (it’s an inside thing – find yourself a company with good insider terms!). And finally, the go-live weekend arrived and I had to decommission the previous owners’ access to Salesforce and my (ex-)boss’ access. The heart was heavy.

Weight on the Brain

One of the people in the Salesforce Ohana that I admire is Amy Oplinger. Most of you probably recognize her as @SalesforceAmy. And you probably also recognize her for her “Are you an Imposter?” chats at Dreamforce or maybe at your local Trailblazer Community Group. And try as I might to listen to her telling me (and YOU) to OWN it, I felt like such an imposter.

My brain kept trying to tell me I had no idea what I was doing and that I didn’t belong on a team of “experts” leading a transition from org to another. I listened and let it drag me down a bit. Was I out of my element? A little – I’ve only ever used Classic on the day to day but once I made the switch to Lightning with my own personal training on Trailhead, I didn’t want to look back and here was my chance with an org on Lightning AND to get experience with a migration from Classic to Lightning. I wasn’t drowning, I was learning and growing and putting skills (that had sat for six weeks while I was on the search for a job) to WORK. By the end of the engagement, my brain was firing on all cylinders and thinking “WHY DIDN’T ‘we” DO THIS BEFORE?!?!”. It was THRILLING.

And now as I embark on my next adventure with a client, I find myself starting to ask myself “why me? What did they see in ME that they’d want me?”. This feeling of imposter syndrome is probably just the weight on the brain I need to keep growing!

Weight on the Body

Running in Raleigh on a Client Trip

This has been the toughest pill to swallow of the whole leap from admin to consultant. I work from home most days and am client sites on others (typically involving flights and layovers and hotel food). My body has been feeling it. Not even my goal to run my fifth half marathon is moving me (though that has something to do with hurting myself while trying to do all the things during one of the UAT weeks).

I tried to dive into January with Keto + intermittent fasting. This has worked for me in the past, but apparently all the changes to my life and my body was not having it. I was hungry. I was tempted to kick back with a glass of wine and a movie…and a (gluten free) pizza. I felt it, to the tune of thirty pounds. OUCH.

And beyond the actual pounds, traveling put a stress on my immune system. I found myself at the pharmacy picking up bags of medicine to combat a sinus infection more than once this quarter. My ears weren’t loving the pressure from the planes. I wasn’t sleeping in my bed or getting to nap with the twins in the early evenings. I was exhausted and brought it home. And I started over again and again and again.

Worth the Weight

But the thing is? I wouldn’t trade this weight for my “previous life” (which, by the way, should totally be a game in the consultant world – hear those terms, get a point, trade those points in for swag or something). The weight was worth the wait to find my next passion in the next chapter of my Salesforce story. Excited to see what the next chapter brings!

Are you ready to make the leap to becoming a Salesforce Consultant? Even in the crazy weight-bearing moments, those of us who have made the leap LOVE it! Check out these ways to start skilling up on Trailhead.

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