On starting a new job

It’s been 5 weeks since I started my new (and first) design job and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not know what I’m doing. I was in my old job for over 12 years and have been a single mom for even longer and I was quite used to being in control, to being the one who knew how to get things done, to being the expert. Not any more. Some aspects of my new job involve things I’ve done before and that comes fairly easily, but most are completely new despite the fact that I’ve been studying this field for four years in my graduate program. Every day people ask me to undertake tasks I know nothing about with the apparent expectation that I understand how to do whatever it is they need. I can feel my face fade to blank and I feel like a fool having to ask them to explain what is quite clearly, to them, a no-brainer. Shouldn’t I have learned all this in school?

So here I sit, exhausted by all this not-knowing, wondering if I just missed 90% of what I was being taught in school, wondering whether I have the mental capacity to catch up, wondering why this firm hired me in light of all this ignorance. My guess is this is how every person feels when they just start a new complex profession and I am striving to keep this perspective. Ask me again in 6 months.

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