When is the deadline?

This year I am working in the Global Learning and Organizational Development Department (GLOD) at Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) in Atlanta. One of the big projects I am working on this year is to transition Habitat for Humanity’s (HFH) intranet site called My.Habitat to a new, updated version. We are in the preliminary stages of this transition which consists of trying to determine what the new platform should look like. This brings me to the biggest (professional) adjustment I have come to face so far after leaving Davidson – you are on every time frame except for your own.

At Davidson, you have to work as efficiently as possible in order to fit big projects into tight time frames. Successfully fitting within these time frames is possible because the people they depended on were, for the most part, also within the academic boundaries of Davidson. When you move to cross-divisional projects within a giant non-profit, the time frames begin to expand. It does not seem to matter how efficiently my team and I work on moving this project forward because we are at the mercy of the time frame of every other person or department involved. For example, the first step in this process has been to meet with other nonprofits of similar sizes and structures to talk about their intranet platforms, structures, features, and their own process in reaching their current intranet. Within a few days my team and I had compiled a list of nonprofits and reached out to them. Two months later, we still have not had all of our conversations.

Another adjustment in the transition from Davidson to HFHI is bandwidth. When I joined this team to make it four members, they were finally beginning to have the bandwidth to take on bigger challenges related to our intranet site My.Habitat and our LMS site called HabitatLearns beyond the day to day maintenance and growing number of bug fixes that come with the territory of working off a 2008 platform. At Davidson, we were stretched thin and had to prioritize, but these decisions did not often impact thousands of people. The big trade-off for our team has been upholding the basic functionality of My.Habitat, or begin the transition to a new platform with increase performance, features, and functionality. My joining of the team meant that we may not have to choose one over other—until two weeks ago when one of our team members learned he was moving to Mozambique in October. Now the bandwidth will be even smaller.

The biggest personal adjustment has been moving to Atlanta. When I moved here I didn’t know anyone at all – I lived here a full month before my two amazing roommates (also DIFs) and my kittens joined me. I also moved here thinking that I had the city life down – after all, I thought Charlotte was a big city – but as it turns out, Charlotte is to Atlanta as Davidson is to Charlotte. Now that I have been here for nearly three months, I love it here. Hands down the best part about the working world compared to Davidson is free time. Real free time – not the guilt-ridden Scrubs binges on Netflix that always occurred a little too close to deadlines – but time that I truly have control over. And other than having to deal with pesky nuisances like bills, it is really nice to be outside of the Davidson bubble tackling what we millennials affectionately call “adulting.”