You may remember that I’ve recently started a job in a field of which I know relatively nothing about, and that’s okay, I have folks (many, many folks with the patience level of Trappist monks) at the ready to help me and I rely on them every single minute of every single day.
Here’s the thing; I’m learning so much, but even so, I am vastly uncomfortable in my new role. Let me remind you that I have worked as a temp frequently within the last ten years and you would think that I would be comfortable in the not knowing, but I am not. I understand there’s a curve and no one is faulting me for my lack of knowledge, as that’s part of the process. They’ve hired me for my
borderline dysfunctional “outgoing” personality and they say that the skill set can be taught. Well, up until they hired me they certainly thought so.
Let me use an analogy to further explain my situation. Ten years ago I married my husband, who had two young daughters from a previous marriage. I brought with me to our household an older (slightly spoiled) junkyard dog named Mr. Cooper. Mr. Cooper was used to just living with me and although he became quite attached to my husband, the children were a different matter. It wasn’t that he didn’t care for them, he just hadn’t been exposed to that level of noise and chaos in his entire life and had no reference to base his experience on, so. . . for the first two months of our marriage, I swear to you I could see the entire WHITES of his eyes as he skidded from one drafty room in our farmhouse to another, looking for a hiding place and some silent solitude.
He desperately wanted to be part of things, but he just wasn’t sure how to go about that, and he was terrified. This is how I feel pretty much every day before I punch the time clock. I am also a fifty year old woman who has managed to stay alive thus far (even though 2015 was admittedly a little touch-and-go) and have made some solid decisions in my lifetime.
I posted earlier and used a rope bridge analogy about my feelings then and I’m a wee bit chagrined that not only have they NOT dissipated, they seemingly have taken over more of my bandwidth than I anticipated. Yet, I am coping. I am breathing. I am taking one day (or one shift, more like it) at a time. Each and every time I crawl into my raggedy Jeep at the end of the day, I have to chuckle with an all-encompassing relief that I survived . . . again. Sure, that’s a bit dramatic but feelings aren’t facts, are they? Seriously, I am legit shaky at the beginning of every work day. On the plus side of things I have not gone fetal and locked myself in a bathroom stall yet, so I’d say that’s definitely a win.
I’d say that it just all boils down to fear. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, and ultimately, fear of not being enough and I know alcoholics don’t have the market cornered on that specific fear. We all know this, thanks to
my higher power Oprah. I feel like a fake, an imposter, an actress. I imagine that sooner or later they’re going to realize their mistake and the jig will be up and I’ll be back to wallowing in self-pity during the day while perusing terrible receptionist positions in dirty industrial offices with Trump supporters surrounding me disguised as co-workers. Fuuuuck.
My kick-ass co-workers keep telling me “you got this!” and their encouragement is everything. Every time I make a mistake someone will regale me with a tale of their own misstep that leaves us both laughing and cringing at the same time. They’ve all been here, where I am now.
I find it ironic that when I was boozing it up for decades, my approach to these matters was more, say, ‘wrecking ball’ then my approach now. Younger, drunken Jen would just have steamrolled her way in, with an unapologetic devil-may-care attitude, and never mind her actual knowledge base – she’d figure it out. Finding out how to extract some attributes of the ‘old’ me and fuse them with the better attributes of the ‘new’ me will probably take some time, and I have to allow for that. I’m not the same person, and that is not being dramatic.
“I do a weird thing when I am nervous where I tilt my head back like I am super confident. This is my attempt to fake it until I make it, or at the very least make it easier for someone to slit my throat.”
So, I will keep on keeping on. On a scale from one to Beyonce, my confidence level falls somewhere in between, and that’s okay, although one could argue that an electric boa and a glittered codpiece could be what REALLY separates me from the herd in this new role. #careergoals
What do YOU do when met with a challenge? Rise up to meet it headfirst or cower under your covers in crippling self-doubt and anxiety? Or somewhere in between? Lemme hear it! I never could really grasp that ‘moderation’ thing, obvs. Thanks for reading, y’all.