Have you ever felt totally helpless? Like you were drowning and there was nothing you could do about it. That’s how I’ve been feeling about my new job. Tomorrow, I’ll start my third week, and it’s a miracle I’m still there. I talked a mean game in the interview, but I had no idea what I was in for. I assist four professionals and the top two of the four are no joke. The phones ring incessantly and everybody and their mama wants to have meetings with them. I had no idea how rusty I am. I was laid off for eight months and prior to that I had very little to do on my previous job, so my skills are tad bit rusty if you will. At the end of week one I found myself literally crying on my husband’s broad shoulders telling him in between sniffles how stupid and inadequate I feel. He says I’m being too hard on myself and I probably am. It’s nothing worse than starting a new job and having to learn new things. It’s not like I don’t know how to do the work, but with everything coming at me so fast, I’ve made more mistakes than I care to admit—stupid mistakes and folk at my new gig don’t mind telling me. For example I received a reply to an email I sent that went like this:
“What’s 3:45 Park Avenue,” (that doesn’t make any sense).” Okay, I put a colon in between the 3 and the 4. Couldn’t the person tell that what I meant was 345 Park Avenue? Why couldn’t they have said, “Did you mean 345 Park Avenue?” Why use the phrase, ‘It doesn’t make sense.’ So I, already feeling very vulnerable, took it to heart. Okay, I’m not making sense now. I’m crazy. Then someone sent me an email correcting the phone extension I had sent them. To be honest with you I don’t know where I got the extension from. This past Friday, I was feeling a little more on top of my game, but that lasted all of two minutes when I realized I was mixing up calendars. Someone was requesting the availability of “Boss A” and I was giving them the availability for “Boss B.” Luckily it worked out and the only repercussion I suffered with a stomach twisted in more knots than given out at a Boy Scout square knot award ceremony.
It’s like that on this new job. There are times when I feel like I have things under control and then in a matter of minutes all hell breaks loose. Three lines ring at once while several emails are coming in along with instant messages wherein I am being asked to get this and that right now and then. I grab the phone and muster the most professional voice I can and then stammer while trying to repeat the caller’s name, gritting my teeth because I can’t make out what they’re saying which means I’m going to have to ask them to repeat it and spell it, resulting in their hissing and eye rolling. I know I can’t see the rolling eyes, but I can imagine. One caller reminded me with a voiced laced in bitterness that I had just asked him to spell his name an hour ago when he called the first time. Of course I apologized profusely to Mr. Chinsyangaobneoyai, while rolling my own eyes. No that’s not really his name, but it might as well have been.
My husband and BFF’s tell me to take it easy and that I can’t expect to know everything day-one. “It’s going to take time.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I know they’re right, but I’m the one in the chair and it’s not easy to embrace their words of encouragement when I’m hit with that sinking feeling every time I make a stupid mistake. I guess it’s just hard being faced with the fact every day that I’m human, that I’m not perfect, that I’m not God. Deep down, I know it will get better and I’m truly grateful to have a job…a good job…with actually nice people! Anyway, I’m going to look forward to having a good week this week. And the launch party for my new novel “Married in the Nick of Nine” is Saturday, June 9. Wow, that’s something nice to look forward to while I try to get through the ups and downs of my new gig.