Well, I’ve been trying to upload…download…across load another part of my summer vacation but I’m having some difficulty with it. The pictures jump off the bloody post to god only knows where and my writing is moving all around! I don’t want you to think I’ve abandoned the blog again, so just some writing for today until I figure out what is going on.
How long does it take you to get to know people? Are you one of those lucky ones who can assess a person’s character right away and decide who to be friends with and who to avoid? Or are you more like me, where unless it is absolutely obvious, you need to take some time to find out what people are like. Sometimes my first impressions are bang on and that relationship sorts itself out pretty quick. Then, there are others that I know I have to bide my time and just let events flow until I can see some kind of rhyme or reason between myself and the other person.
Then there are the rest. I can spend a lot of time trying to figure out if someone is nice, shady, trustworthy, not reliable…you get my drift? You start out on the wrong foot, catch someone on a bad day, and what should have been an easy rapport takes months to establish. Many years ago, I started a job that overwhelmed me. In the place that I was working, there had never been a secretary. I had never worked as a secretary, only as a clerk. Somehow that place saw my potential (I guess) and picked me to be their first secretary. I was SURE they had made a mistake; how could I set up an office? I hardly knew what a secretary did!
After a month of panic attacks and hyperventilations, my hubby asked me if I had been fired yet. No I answered. He asked if anyone had gotten angry with me or told me I had done something really wrong. No I answered. He asked if they had helped me as much as possible and been nice. I replied they had. He then suggested that they knew I was learning the ropes and were happy to give me help and time to figure it all out.
*POW* Th proverbial lightbulb went on and smacked me on the head. He was right! I was panicking for nothing! Life didn’t run completely smooth after that but I learned an important lesson: give yourself time to learn the ropes, to learn about the people around you….and to decide if you like your job or not.
That certainly applies to the here and present too. Since that time I have always told myself to give anything new from 6 months to a year before pronouncing judgement on a new situation. So here I am, almost up to my first anniversary at my new job. I guess if it is almost a year, then it’s not new anymore but geesh, with the HUGE learning curve not easing up at all, it almost feels as new as the first day I showed up there! So what is my assessment almost a year later and how does it compare to those first weeks?
At first I wondered what I had gotten myself into, to be honest. Everyone was in uniform and I was the only “civvy”. Although it was a situation I understood having worked for the military for so many years, it wasn’t one I wanted to jump right back into! I was quickly taught some stuff and then off I went, on my own. No being micro-managed…no constant eyes peering over my shoulder to correct my mistakes….in fact, not much contact with others at all.
I was very lonely. It seemed everyone there had known everyone else for years and I was the oddball out. Which I certainly was! Coming from a different department, never working for Border Services, never living in this city before let alone work in it…. major readjustment!
The first day I slipped and called one of the Superintendents, “Sir” out of habit. Yup, old habits die hard! I had some new ideas of how to run some office stuff but was frequently reminded by one or two individuals that maybe I should leave well enough alone. I put the brakes on the changes I felt would be beneficial and remembered my 6 month to year rule. How would I feel if someone walked in and started changing everything? Probably suspicious and resentful. So I went very slowly and ruffled feathers smoothed out.
Settling in to work relationships took longer for the most part. I couldn’t tell why one person was crabby and another was happy. Why was this individual complaining so bitterly and this one exasperated by that one? Who was new? Who had the potential to be a work buddy?
It has been almost a year and the kinks are working themselves out. Some people and I who seemed to rub each other the wrong way have relaxed and found our way around each other, cautiously. One individual that raised my hackles now makes me laugh every time I see him…it took some time but we found out we weren’t snotty or bossy. We just were shuffling to find our places in this new order. Other people who I leaned on in those early days are still people I like to be around. Their true colours showed early and their friendship carried me past the lonelier days.
There are a very few that I initially thought were not the kind of people I would ever associate with….but… I was wrong. Situations at the time, shyness on my part led to a few simple misunderstandings. I’m amazed by what I see now and the people I am working with.
I love my job and the people I work with. I am not micro-managed for which I am eternally thankful! I have freedom to improve certain ways of doing things and the support to try it. Every day someone gives me something to laugh about and I am still learning new things all the time.
In another month I will be giving up my priority referral and staying at this level. It is a level down from my last jobs but as I so well know, money does NOT buy happiness; after all my last 2 jobs were killing me, quite literally. The stress, the stress, the STRESS was sending my health into a downward spiral for which I saw no end. My mental health was cracking and everything looked so black and hopeless. What is that old adage…”It is darkest just before the dawn”? Even though I took those words to heart I really didn’t believe it. I didn’t think things could or would, get any better. I was in the pits and couldn’t see any ladder to climb out. I took a chance anyway, and someone took a chance on me.
Flash forward and I can finally, FINALLY feel that I really am better. I am happier. I am laughing again. I enjoy going to work and I love seeing all the people I work with. I love where I live and I am delighted that my son’s school year is so far, going better than any previous year. He has matured a little and the work coop programme lifted him out of his school funk.
Two years ago this would have been absolutely unimagineable. One year ago even…I didn’t know this new adventure was just around the corner and that I was setting off into a new horizon, one with different people than I’ve known for my working career. I didn’t know the first year would be spent cautiously getting to know one another, how each of us works and how we work best together. It’s good though. It’s awesome.
We’ve come a LONG WAY, baby! Yahoooooooooooooooo!!