A Week of Confidence and Panic Attacks

This week I started my new job with a brand new company and WOW was it a week of ups and downs. Tomorrow is Monday and I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it, or dreading it. I think both.

Tuesday, my first day, went well. It was basically an orientation day, meeting everyone, and learning the very basics of how they operate from an administrative perspective. We ended the day by diving a bit into the actual work I’ll be doing, but it was a shallow dive into lukewarm water at best.

Wednesday was my day to panic. We did a deep dive into cold water and WOW was it a long, hard day. There is SO much to learn in this new role, and by Wednesday’s end I could only think, “What have I done by leaving my old, cushy job?”

Thursday was a mix of “You’ve got this,” and “I’ll never learn this.” Highs and lows all throughout the day.

By Friday, I hit my knowledge wall. And I hit it hard. At some point my trainer (who had been with me all week, and is the person I’m replacing) said something and I just could not process what she was saying. It was as though she was speaking gibberish. I just stared blankly at her, before finally saying, “I think my brain just turned off.” I could feel face turning red, and struggled to keep back the tears floating in my eyes.

“Are you okay?” she asked, worried.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I think I’ve just reached the limit on how much new information I can take in at the moment. This job has a lot to learn, and I don’t want to mess up, and I’m very much Type A when it comes to my work ethic, so this is tough for me right now to admit that I’m very nervous that I’m not learning everything.”

Her eyes went wide and she exclaimed, “No no no! You are doing GREAT! I just messaged with the home office about how great you are doing!”

She then announced we were going out to lunch. We drove to a little cafe nearby and upon sitting down she assured me that I was doing really well and that I was going to be a great fit.

“Trust me,” she said. “You are picking this up really quickly. I know it’s a lot to take in, but you’ve learned more in 4 days than the other new assistant learned in a month.” She then told me that she had told my boss that she wants me to be the head admin for the office. This head admin will not be in a position of authority over the other admins, per se, but will take the lead on all decisions by/for the administrative staff.

This office has been through a recent restructuring, and so all of the administrative staff is brand new. The woman I’m replacing was not administrative, but took over those tasks when the real administrative staff was all let go this past fall. Every one of them. Apparently they were very dysfunctional, were not doing their jobs (literally – they ignored and refused to do any work) and most times arrived late to work. The home office swept house and let them all go. Very quickly they hired one new admin, and then about a month ago the second one started. I was the last to be hired, and they plan on hiring one more sometime in mid-2018. They had mentioned the “head admin” thing to me on my first day, but I kind of assumed it would go to the first admin they hired, since she’s already doing a lot of things the head admin would be doing. But my trainer told me that no, they likely would ask me to do it based on what I had shown them this week, as well as based on her recommendation.

So clearly she has confidence I can do the job. But, y’all. There is SO. MUCH. to learn. I know I’ll learn it, I will. But I don’t recall ever feeling this overwhelmed in a new job before. I’m truly out of my comfort zone and there is a steep learning curve to the work involved.

In the meantime, I’ll be creating a notebook with how to’s and tip sheets on every single task I’ve learned. Because for every “this is how you do it,” there is an exception to the rule. That’s what has me paranoid – will I remember the exceptions? Or will I forget and cause something majorly bad to happen? I just have to keep telling myself that in six months it’ll seem like I’ve always been there, and always knew how to do the work.

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