Cleaning Out, Starting Over
March 1 was the first official day of my new position within my company. My emotions are very conflicted because I am confident that my background has sufficiently prepared me, yet somehow I feel overwhelmed and stressed out. I feel swamped trying to absorb all of my new responsibilities, but I am also excited because I had become frustrated and tired of dealing with the same issues over and over in my old position. I have been hungering for something new. I finally got it and I am very excited, but I also feel like a mess.
As I sort through the mountains of papers I have held onto for the last six years, I’m feeling very reflective. I’ve found paperwork recording the lofty goals of management regarding initiatives that have since been dropped, 10-year-old notes detailing strategies that are eerily similar to the “new strategy” recently announced, iterative versions of files I’ve worked on with records of feedback received “just in case” someone asks for justification … All of these files, all of these notes — it’s very difficult to determine what’s really important. While I find all this historical data interesting, should it really be maintained? Isn’t my knowledge of this history a key factor in the erosion of my passion?
What I like best about my new job is that I know nothing. I don’t know which people don’t do their jobs. I don’t know what the system problems are. I don’t know how many iterations they’ve gone through trying to make the system more functional. I don’t know which dealers act on our advice and which ones ignore us. I don’t know anything about the product quality, supply, or pricing. I don’t have any ideas about “how things should be.” I am new, I am fresh, I am a sponge, and I love it.
As I pass things on to other members of my current team, I am trying very hard not to contaminate them with my bad attitude. I’m not sure if I’m succeeding, because they ask questions that lead me to delve into history and past decisions. While “realistic perspectives” seem important, they can actually be quite limiting.
All of this cleaning at work is also making me feel bad about some things I’ve been ignoring at my house — especially the garage. The garage is pretty bad, and we’ve been meaning to work on it for two years, but why is the irritation becoming so strong right now? Why do I feel this intensely strong drive to clean the garage during a time period where I literally have less than no time for myself?
Maybe it’s an urge to put order to something I know how to order?
Maybe I want to pile tasks onto myself until I collapse into a worthless heap?
Maybe my brain is so overwhelmed that it is completely unable to focus on one thing?
Prioritization and the passage of time will get me through this. Eventually, all of my current tasks will be finished or delegated. Surely within the next year, my garage will be clean and organized. And I’m also sure I’ll become competent and knowledgeable about the realities of this new job soon enough. While I don’t know how long it will take, I hope I will remember these reflections and take “reality” with a grain of salt. However, most of me cannot believe I’ll be uninfluenced by history as I learn it — this is probably a feeling I’m doomed to repeat.
Copyright 2007, Christine Chase
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