An update on my transition back to work…..
If you’re looking for a quick way to deflate any ego you’ve built in adulthood, I highly recommend starting a new job. Five years ago, I was leading a team of writers and producers on breaking stories and major news events. Today I fear picking up the office phone because I won’t know how to help the caller.
The first few days were fine. I wore a dress and heels, met some nice people and got the lay of the land in the office. Then it was time to get serious and figure out what I’m supposed to do. I was assigned to work with various 20-somethings who clicked a mouse so fast my eyes got blurry.
I observed and took copious, disorganized notes, trying to keep up with the how-to’s. Since I’m only a freelancer I don’t have a dedicated desk. I spent several painstaking hours on the phone with the IT department setting up my computer with logins, passwords, shortcuts, and programs, only to be kicked out of my desk by a staffer on the afternoon shift.
This job requires working on 5 separate computer programs simultaneously. Besides logging into Windows and getting Outlook mail, I need a news gathering program, content management system, online chat room with separate portals for video and writing assignments, and various websites for grabbing photos and video.
Dizzy yet? I am.
I persevered through low moments when, feeling like a useless dunce, I wondered why I had temporarily given up my wonderful life of kid whining, dishwasher unloading, and laundry for this.
Everyone has a job to do so it’s been difficult to get someone to sit with me for more than 10 minutes to go through procedures and ask questions. I’m constantly torn between wanting to stop and learn, and letting a colleague complete a task because I understand news has to get out quickly. For several days I felt like my coworkers were feeding me, instead of teaching me how to fish.
Note to self: proper employee training is a lost art. Everyone is in too much of a hurry.
Another problem is my innate fear of computers. I am old enough to remember time before the internet, email, and texting. I’ve used computers since I started working in the 1990’s but they’ve never been my friends. When I hit a stumbling block in the process of creating a story for the web, I freeze. I’m anxious about what to do next and worry that I’ll delete my work or damage the system. These kids training me don’t know life without a computer so their brazen problem solving is more intuitive.
I often spend the night before work tossing and turning, cursing my mistakes and fretting that my co-workers think I’m an idiot. In the office I’m trying to work independently so I don’t have to bother busy colleagues. I clutch my notebook and rifle through the pages, trying to remember my 8 passwords and piece together procedures.
I only work two non-consecutive days a week so it’s been difficult to find my groove. But I’m adapting. The last day I worked was the best yet. I completed a bunch of stories and worked on a slide show. My pace is woefully s l o w, but it’s already getting easier.
I’m sure in 6 weeks I’ll look back and laugh at what a ball of nerves and incompetence I was. Right now, it’s still raw and not yet funny.