The Weekend of My Discontent

I used to be smart. Not a genius, by any stretch, but of moderate-to-high intelligence in most* things. And yet…

For the better part of the past three days, I’ve walked around feeling like the village idiot and doing my best to prove the point at every turn. NOT how a healthy gal wants to (or should) spend her weekend.

paperworkThe biggest problem was with the new job. Not the work itself–I think I’m pretty good at that, if I do say so myself–but the paperwork and reporting for the past few weeks. Being new, I feel like I’m on another planet. I don’t know the lingo, the systems, or even the purpose of most of it, and I don’t think I did a single report correctly. This means someone else is going to have to spend time getting it straightened out, and because of that, I’ve been feeling sad and embarrassed and stressed. Part of me has wanted to send examples of all the systems and processes I managed in my previous job, where I was one of the experts, just to show I do have skills, while part of me wanted to disconnect my phone and internet and go to bed.

Fortunately, a good night’s sleep and a sunny day today brought clarity. Not to mention better nutrition. (Friday was a disaster!) While I was out for my walk this afternoon, I was thinking about my first days on my previous job (25 years ago–yikes!) and remembering something my friend-ever-since, Jim, told me after I created some problems with a then new-to-me system:


Whether it’s a new job, a new hobby, a new way of eating or exercising, we’re all new at something sometime, and we’re going to make mistakes. If we’re lucky, we learn from those mistakes and even grow from them. I eventually mastered the system that defeated me 25 years ago and went on to become manager of the department responsible for it (where one of my proudest accomplishments was getting rid of that beast).

I’m still a little embarrassed by my errors, but I know that I will grow from this experience. I’ve already learned that my fatigue factor goes way up at the end of a full travel workweek, and that I need to wait until I’m rested before doing paperwork. It will help that I’ll be able to do these reports daily and won’t have a backlog pressuring me when I get home.

Another thing I’ve learned is that I need to find a way to get more exercise into my travel schedule. Even though, I’m on my feet all day on full workdays, I need to move. Only two of the seven hotels I’ve stayed in had exercise rooms, and for one of those I was late coming in and early going out. I’m hoping that with the time change next weekend, I’ll be able to squeeze in at least a short walk every day outside.

Now, I only have to hope that I still have a job to grow IN. :)

If you’re struggling with something new and feeling pressured by mistakes you might be making, I encourage you to remember that at least you’re doing something. Success will either find you, or you’ll decide to try something else. The main thing is to learn and keep trying!

*Discounting spatial intelligence, correct comma usage, and anything science-y

20 thoughts on “The Weekend of My Discontent

  1. I think it’s really important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s how we deal with them that matters. Learning and moving on is the only thing to do. :)

  2. It is funny- because I am always telling my daughter how important her mistakes are. That is how she learns and grows. I need to take that advice! You will get there. And yes- it is embarrassing to make mistakes, but if we didn’t make them…. we wouldn’t have any funny stories to share on our blog!!! :) Hang in there!!!

  3. my husband made a BIG MISTAKE with my child (“mama my heart so so broken”) but the great thing…the silverlining was she learned we all make mistakes no matter how old we get.

    and it’s ok.

  4. Two things:

    1) For those of us in the midst of the weight loss journey, you maintainers are our role models and it keeps it very real when one of you says, “it was a disaster.” We all know better, but still tend to think that once we get THERE, the hard work is over. I have been in maintenance and am well aware that the hard work is just beginning. I am so thankful for my maintaining friends who are willing to admit “disaster” times, but who then MOVE RIGHT PAST THEM back into the healthy habits they’ve established.

    2) After retiring, I immediately delved into volunteer work and the first volunteer “job” I had required so much paperwork and I consistently screwed it up. Such deja vu reading your posts (I even had to smile) because I remember thinking, “My gosh, I was a Senior VP of a bank and in later years wrote training manuals used all over the US” and I can’t even correctly complete a one page report!” About the time I got it all down pat, they changed the format of the report!!

    Hang in there, I know you. You’ll be laughing in a few weeks at how easy it is.

  5. Girl, we are human which mean inadequacy will be present til the day we die. But the good thing is there are lessons to be learned in it all and on the job learning curves soon give way to you being a “key person” for people to turn to. It won’t be forever darlin’! 😉

  6. Cammy – you are amazing! Such a great post with important messages in it for us all – we are human & we may make mistakes but keep on moving & learning! Great message!

    Hope all gets better AND you manage to find a way to get your exercise in! :-)

  7. Being at a new job is a daunting experience no matter how prepared you are skill-wise. It’s emotionally tolling, intellectually tolling, and just plain rough at first. The rule of thumb in some professions is that it takes six months to really get your feet under you and about a year before you really really know what you’re doing. It’s always best to remember that you wouldn’t have the job if you weren’t qualified.

    So glad you pointed this out to people and reminded folks that everyone makes mistakes. Too many people are way too hard on themselves when there isn’t anyone who could’ve done any better.

  8. I was just telling my brother yesterday that the thought of starting a new job, even a ‘simple’ one (I daydream about working at Starbuck’s) is more than I can bear. That whole thing, not knowing the ropes, feeling incompetent…it gives me hot flashes just to think about it. But just remember, if they are not willing to work with you as you ‘learn the ropes,’ there is something very wrong with them, and you wouldn’t want to continue working for a company like that anyway, right?

    And I’m with you on the fitting in activity. The more I stay active, the more I realize how very much I need it to feel my best.

  9. I’ll admit that one of the deterrents to me looking for work has been that I worry it will be hard to learn things! Mostly because my memory is getting so bad. I picture myself having to take lots of notes!

  10. Queen of mistakes here, but that is only because I try a lot of stuff. 😀

    Learning a new job is tough, but you’ll get it soon enough. After all, there is a reason you were hired!

  11. Cammy, darling. They chose you from all the other applicants, because they believe in you and think you can do the job for them. Most jobs have a learning curve and surely your employer and colleagues know that. And it’s not as if you’re an annoying person to work with; au contraire, you’re bunches of fun. BTW loved your comeback upon realizing you’d said KY for K5 during training–oh, that’s another lesson! You can do this. Be easy on yourself.
    I’m betting you’ll find that your eating is right back on track (what Sharon said, above) and the job will smooth out too.

  12. Great post! So often we expect to just do something perfectly for the first time and we seriously berate ourselves when we can’t. That’s insane!

    It’s good to catch up with you again. Loved the road trip posts.

  13. I completely relate to your feelings about mistakes. At my current job they always say – well, you won’t make that one again! And so far they are right.

  14. I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time with this. I totally understand how you’re feeling.
    it’s weird to be in this position especially at our age, isn’t it? I think I’ve discounted certain things because I didn’t want to face that. Because I think I should be past the point of “newness” and fumbling.
    Of course, that’s absurd. While we live and breathe, we *should* be finding ways and places to be new and to experience “beginners mind.”
    It’s even one of the best ways to protect your brain from things like Alzheimers. It’s about doing things that are totally new to you. It doesn’t matter if one is a rocket scientist. What will help their brain is doing something new that they don’t already know.
    You are so much more than the details of getting to know the system. You are worth every correction that someone needs to make while you learn your way around.
    They are so lucky to have you.
    big hugs!!!

  15. Cammy, you are SO intelligent and funny, and dedicated. That’s a pretty darned good package, to me. New jobs always stress me out, no matter how excited I may be about them. Not only does it take patience on everyone’s part but time seems to always be the key in getting more comfortable. They are very lucky to have you.

  16. I think everyone else has said what I would have said if I had been here to leave a comment, but alas, I’ve been away and distracted and am now catching up. I am SURE that no one who matters thinks you’ve screwed up!

  17. Cammy, how did I miss this post. Hope you are feeling better, and that you’d be a robot if you didn’t make a mistake or two. Starting a new job is soooo stressful. Hang in there!!!!! Sending a big hug!!!

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