I started a new job on October 6 (2011). I’ve been praised for my willingness to jump in, and, I’ve found that I’ve wanted to jump in with alacrity. I just…really…want to…help. So, I jump in, and then I’m like, oh, wait, I can’t help any of you at all right now, and since I’m in here, can I just ask you these 30 questions real quick?
It’s interesting, having been at Coro Pittsburgh for 5 years, and having gone fairly high up (relatively speaking) the arc of learning my job. First, there’s not being super clear on what you’re supposed to do, or the impact that you’re supposed to make, but you put some things down on paper, you present some ideas and you work. Slowly you figure things out a bit more, which occurs mostly in the second year. The second year at any job is always so interesting to me–and if you haven’t stayed at a job longer than two years, try it…it’s good for the economy. In the second year, you have some battle scars, you know your way around, and you, at various points, whether diving into old notes* or perusing through old emails, bump into yourself from one year ago. You review the work you did, see how you communicated with various people, your approach to your work, and if you’re like me, you often think, “What the hell was I doing?” That’s year two. Year two is paving over some areas of what you “accomplished” in year one, and if you’re lucky, you don’t pave over everything, maybe you do some pruning here and there. Year three just gets better because at this point, people know you, they know what you can do, and they rely on you to open doors, make decisions, and get things done. It’s beautiful. It’s a nice thing, to know what you’re doing and from that position, open yourself up to new challenges.
I’ve been at my job for a little over a month. I’m at the beginning of this new learning curve, but at least, a bit more, each day, I feel more confident in my work. Luckily, as comes with age, I’m not a brand new hiker and not everything I’m doing at my job is completely foreign. (Though I did ask one of the IT guys that was setting up my computer for me how I turned on my computer…he gave me a perfunctory laugh.) I’m like a new adopted puppy in the office where little by little my personality can come out. Hell, I can almost commute to work on my bike and not get lost. (14th street really creeps up on me. Were I biking on my own, most days I’d just fly right past without a care in the world…until I realized I was still on R and had no idea where I was…not that has happened at all or four times.)
So, though I continue to be excited about being at the tip of this new learning curve, I have a feeling that no matter where I am in life, the following conversations are ones that I’ll probably always have:
IT Guy: Do you know if Janet is coming in today?
Me: Oh, ummm, I’m not sure…I think so…she didn’t say anything about not coming in…
IT Guy: Okay. Well, there’s usually a meeting at 10am every Tuesday. Do you know if that meeting is still going on?
Me: Oh, ummm, I didn’t even know there was a meeting on Tuesdays. I’m not sure. [Pause] Wow, I’m really not helpful to you at all.
IT Guy: Nope, not at all.
* I once learned at a workshop that gave tips on how to organize yourself that if you have a piece of paper on your desk or in a folder and you haven’t looked at it in one week, recycle it. You don’t’ need it. I think this is true.