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Ventilation

29 July 2010

Switching jobs blows.

You have to meet new people (and I have [self-diagnosed] social anxiety, so I’m not great at this), you have to establish a new space (such as in a cubicle or office, and since I’m on a nesting high, this can be quite a challenge short of bringing in my bed and dogs to get cozy), you have to adjust your morning routine (which affects your evening routine) to ensure you have enough time to get to work and have everything you need, and you have to… oh, that’s right… learn your new job.

The learning the new job part is the scariest for me.  I place an extreme amount of pressure on myself to succeed.  That pressure got me through my AP classes in high school, through a double-major in college, through a Masters degree immediately after graduation, and through my first full-time job in an industry that wasn’t really for me.

Of course, the reasons for that pressure vary greatly.  (High) School stuff was mostly to please my parents.  I don’t think I realized that at the time, but in my mind and as a result of how I was raised, you did well in school because what else was school for than to do well in?  My parents didn’t discipline me if I didn’t do well or even threaten to discipline me, but I didn’t do poorly, so it never really came down to that.  I’m not so sure how they would have reacted if I had performed poorly for a few quarters in a row, if they would have changed their attitude about school.

The college pressure was more to please myself.  I began to recognize my need to be the best (or among the best, at the very least) and used that recognition to literally shape my own identity.  Instead of being a studen who does well, I became the “does well” who was also a person.

The Masters pressure was also instigated by myself, but part of the reason I thought it was so important to go on with school right away was because I felt less skilled than my peers, than my friends, than my family.  Okay, I double majored and got a college degree, but so?  Tons of other people were saturating the job market that year, a year when hiring was high.  And I stupidly thought it’d stay high.  So I thought, if I don’t pursue a specific skill, at least I can get a Masters, better my education immediately, and not have to worry about it later.

So the Masters degree was a struggle.  While my friends were enjoying their first few years out of school, I was swamped with readings, papers, a 20-hour a week job, and a small bank account.  It seemed my frugal days were nowhere near over.

Then, two years later, as I was ready to celebrate the end of my Masters degree (which, I’ll admit, I was MUCH more pumped up for than my Bachelor’s), the recession was really setting in and companies weren’t hiring.  Now how could I make myself stand out?   Yeah, I had a Masters, but it wasn’t specific and still didn’t provide me with a particular field to target.  Jeeps.

Luckily my bff’s mom gave me the hook-up, and I started working at my first real job.  The one in the industry that didn’t really suit me.  The learning curve was ridiculously high.  I had to learn the industry, learn the mechanics of the system we used, and then learn how to do my actual job.  Looking back I can’t quite remember how frustrating it was, but I can remember how scared I was.  My friend’s mom told me, after a few weeks, that I had a “deer in the headlights” look – exactly the image you want to portray at your shiny new job.

Once I got the hang of those three minijobs within my big job, I became antsy* restless.  I’d only been there six months and began to wonder if that was enough time to record on my resume.  My feelings remind me of how I felt in the fifth grade when I decided I wanted to learn how to play the viola.  There were two classes in my elementary school – the 3rd and 4th grade violin and viola class and the 5th grade violin and viola class.  But because I was a beginner in the 5th grade, I had to learn with the younger kids.  Because I didn’t want to learn with the younger kids and wanted to be with my peers instead, I decided to teach myself how to play so I could switch over.  My mom was rented the viola for me, and I was really dedicated to learning.  Then, as soon as the teacher told me I could advance, I was done.  The thrill of the challenge was gone for me.  And even all these years later, that’s been such a revealing experience about myself.

But back to the job.  Once I decided to finally switch jobs and secured one, I felt pretty confident.  For once, I was switching because I wanted to switch, not because an internship was ending or a schoolyear was starting or my master’s program was beginning.  I was switching because I wanted to and could, because a company wanted to hire me.  And I didn’t have a referral or anything.  And it felt great.

……

All of this brings me to my point.  It’s the ninth day at the new job, and I’m feeling all of those familiar things – anxiety, fear, intimidation, stupidity, disorganization, eagerness.  And now that I think about this industry, I’m thinking about how maybe the previous industry WAS a fit for me.  I’m thinking about how good I was at my old job.  I’m thinking about how the training I received at my old job was such a blessing, because here I’ve got nothing.  I’m thinking I won’t cut it, that I’m not assertive enough, that I’m not enough of a leader or a go-getter, that I like things black and white and here they’re totally grey Moutain Mist**.

Currently the pressure is on from a few sources: myself (of course), my family (to “stick with it”, “grin and bear it”, “wait it out”), and my new house ($$$).  Clearly nine days isn’t long enough to make a decision about something like this.  Or is it?

I think I’m going to wait it out and see how the next two weeks go, especially since the first few weeks are always the hardest.  It doesn’t help that my lunch date and coworker mentioned to me today that she often works from 8 am to 1 am and sometimes sleeps at a hotel near the office.  These revelations make me more scared, not less!

I’m also going to realize that I’m not a super-person and will be given a grace period at my new job to catch up.  The pressure is mostly self-inflicted, as you can see, and my manager believes in me.  Now I just need to believe in myself.****

But seriously – how do you deal with your self-inflicted pressure?  I know a lot of you are Type As to the max who can properly relate.

PS: Sorry for the longest. post. ever.  But now I can see why people say it’s therapeutic to vent on their bloggies.

*My bff and I used to use the word antsy to mean horny.  Not applicable here, ha.

** This is one of the wall colors that J and I picked out.  Why say gray when you can say Mountain Mist?  So sophisticated!  Sike.***
***And yeah, I’m bringin’ it back.
****Cue Full House music here.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. 29 July 2010 10:02 pm

    It’s funny that you crossed off antsy and switched it out, because I instinctively thought of horny right away!lol 😉

    hang in there girl! I know it will all work out 🙂

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