What I've learned from a year on the job
Last year I covered multiple stages of the job search — how it’s like dating, the gift of time it can be, and the relief of finally landing one. In my first year there have been ups and downs, and it’s really taken the full time to conquer some impostor syndrome, get used to new people and processes, and feel well in control of my duties and responsibilities. As I get ready for year two, here are a few things I’m reflecting on:
You have to ask for what you need.
About midway through the year, I felt like I wasn’t doing the job I’d been hired to do. In my mind, I’d been hired to write, and I didn’t have a lot in the way of traditional writing to show for it. I was doing what needed to be done, and the feedback was positive, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was falling short in an area that was important to me. After letting this gnaw at me longer than I should have, I asked my manager for their perspective and advice on bringing more of what I wanted to be doing to the role. Since then, I’ve felt more comfortable speaking up, and I have more realistic expectations about the makeup of my day-to-day responsibilities.
People think you know what you’re doing so maybe you really do.
It’s easy to defer to more experienced colleagues when you’re still getting your feet under you, but chances are you were hired for a specific role that adds specific skills to your team. When people ask you for your opinion on these things, they’re assuming you have one. Rather than wonder why they’re asking you, consider why they’d ask you if they didn’t think you had something valuable to share.
If we’re going to be working from home, we can’t continue training for the office.
In New York, where apartments are barely designed to house let alone work, it’s a tall task to fill an office right now, and that makes it harder for new hires to get up to speed. After going through my first remote onboarding, I can admit that the learning curve was longer, and that’s something that employers will need to adapt to and something that you should allow for yourself in your next new opportunity.
It was never going to be exactly what I expected.
There are inherent tradeoffs whether you’re a cog buried in the middle of many or you’re the face of a company of one. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s going to stray from the tidy job description that originally caught your attention, and that’s OK. Even when I walked door to door cold calling small businesses about their phone and internet service (a story for another week), there were small victories and lessons I keep with me to this day. If you can keep stacking those experiences you’ll get closer and closer to where you want to be, and you’ll have a story to tell along the way.