starting a new job

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday –

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Before I get into this post, I wanted to mention this sweater is from LOFT and it’s sold out, but they’re having a massive 50% off sale – use code FRIENDS at checkout!

Okay, that’s all – let’s get to it.

These past two weeks have been valuable for me to reflect on the year and a half I spent at my last job. While it wasn’t what I saw myself doing in the long run, it was a really important experience for me. I learned a lot about how I handle authority, difficult people, and criticism from those outside of my family and friends.

It taught me about professionalism. To be honest, they don’t teach you very much about professionalism in college, at least not me. Maybe because I wasn’t in the business school. Either way, getting into a professional workplace was very intimidating. I didn’t know how to act around my coworkers and often felt uncomfortable, which I’m sure showed through. I like to be buddy – buddy with everyone, making jokes and being myself. I like to break down walls and not have relationships with people around me feel so formal.

This sounds like a great attribute in theory, but what it actually brings on for me is a whole lot of fear and anxiety and expectation.

It leads to questions like…

Do they like me? Am I doing a good job? Do they enjoy working with me?
Do they think I’m a hard enough worker?
What about taking time off – are they upset with me for doing that? Do they think I’m lazy?
What about my boss – will I get a good review from her? What if she thinks I’m bad at this or I embarrass her? Will she fire me if I miss something?

…that I wake up with and try to answer every day.

All of this unnecessary pressure caused stress and unhappiness.

It took me a few months to adjust to this environment, and it actually took my manager having a discussion with me about it to realize how I needed to act. I was embarrassed about this at the time, thinking I should have known better. How though? Seriously, HOW would I have known?

After my last day of work two weeks ago, I’ve felt these worries go away. I had time to realize how silly they were and work on adjusting my mindset.

I read an article about blogging recently (because I love research) and it said bloggers should write with authority and talk in the “you” tense as if giving advice. But honestly – I don’t like that idea. I don’t want to act like I know everything because I started this blog so I could talk about the things that I’m going through and if I’m struggling with them, I’m not an expert. My goal isn’t to tell people to live like I do or give you all these tips about how to live a more successful life – no. I might give tips on things I know I’m knowledgeable in like picking the right lipstick for your skintone or finding a job in your 20s, but my goal is to let you know it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to not have all the answers and be so nervous about the first day of work that you can’t sleep. It’s okay to not understand professionalism and need to ask your boss what that means.

Anyway, I’ve come to accept that I struggle with needing approval from people and put a lot of energy into making it happen. It makes me snap at my husband and be short with the people I love. It takes all my energy because I obsess. If I’m being honest – it makes me lose sleep. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot the past two weeks and asking myself – How do I want to act at this new place? What do I want to go in with? Confidence? Fear?

I’m going into what I call a “real, big girl job”. I’ll be traveling to San Francisco once a quarter which is awesome, obviously, but it adds to the fear and brings up more questions.

My thought process for you:

How do I act on a work trip? Professional. Lol, DUH. But what does that even mean?! And why do some people seem like they’ve known what that means their entire lives like they came out the womb in a suit and tie. Like come on.
Can I have a drink? I think, but maybe only if other people are and probably just one.
How do you know the level of separation between business and personal? Well, that one you feel out based on other people’s comfort level.
What do I wear? Is the dress code the same as the one at the office? Probably a little more professional but this is a “ask the boss” question for SURE.
Do I pay for my food? Or do they? They probably do, but I plan on playing dumb on this one.

This is an entirely new experience for me. I’m fully prepared to have no idea about a lot of it. I will tell my boss this and ask her these questions – plus a buttload more. Even to the point of asking what I should wear.

If there’s one thing I will say is advice it’s this: don’t worry about having it all together, in any situation. Admit you don’t know. I honestly think that’s more impressive than just trying to figure it out yourself. It shows humility.

Now, as the first day approaches of this new position, I do still feel these worries creeping back in my mind. I want to perform well, be well liked, basically be the perfect employee. It’s exhausting and I know in my heart it’s not the life God wants me to have.

I think God wants me to be confident at work – regardless of what happens or if I make a tiny mistake – because He loves me and that’s enough.

I want to be so secure in who I am in Christ that none of those questions matter to me.

If you looked in my journals (past and present) you’d see that sentence in one form or another. I’ve desired this security of self for years and I still struggle.

It’s my thorn (2 Corinthians 12:7) and it makes me depend on Jesus.

Only God knows how this job will go. Only He knows the struggles I’ll face in it and the ways I’ll handle them. My prayer, the day before I start, is that nothing would shake the identity I have in Jesus. No mistake, or bad review, or embarrassing moment, can change the fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and created for a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).

I pray you know that too, friends.

xoxo,

Erinn

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