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Being the New Girl

October 25, 2013

TGIF, because I really needed a weekend. I just finished my first whole week at my two new jobs, and I’m pretty beat. So far most things are going really well with both, but it’s been mentally and physically exhausting adjusting to a new schedule and adapting to my new roles and responsibilities. And I’m really looking forward to getting past the awkward stage of being the new person.

I have always hated starting new jobs. I never know what to expect, and it’s stressful to have to meet so many new people and get a handle on a whole new office/position/organization all at once. In the past, I have had some pretty bad experiences starting new jobs, though all of them turned out fine in the end.

In 2009 I started nannying part-time for a couple of families in Seattle. On my first day with one family, the dad got distracted while talking to me and didn’t see his 10-month-old son leaning precariously over the edge of the porch. The next thing we knew, the poor kid had fallen three feet down onto the concrete. On his head. It wasn’t my fault, of course, but it’s still never fun to show up for your first day of a childcare position and have the child whisked away to the hospital less than an hour into it.

On my first day with a different family, their dog got hit by a car, and I had to rush him to the vet—not exactly the way I envisioned the day going. Even my teaching job last year got off to a bit of a rough start: I had to report to work on about one hour of sleep, since we had just flown in from a vacation the night before at 4 a.m. Like I said, though, things always seem to even out and reach a sense of normalcy eventually…and I’ll be happy when that happens and I’m not the one feeling out of the loop.

My first job, which I go to from 7:30-11 four days a week, is as what the school calls a Shadow Teacher. Essentially, I am a special education aide working specifically with one ninth grade student who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) about six months ago. He nearly died, and since then has made a ton of progress relearning things like walking and speaking in English and Arabic. I now accompany him to his classes and also work with him one-on-one to improve memory, focus, fine motor skills, etc. It’s new territory for me, but it’s been fun to try things out with him and see him get excited about small steps of progress. This job appeals to the teacher in me, and I love being in a school setting. I’m sure there will be some frustrating and tough days ahead, but this week went great. Fingers crossed.

officeMy other position, which goes from 12:30-5 every day, is as a “communications analyst” for one of the administrative departments at a university. It’s an office job, which I’ve never held before and am not sure I really like. I sit at a desk (think cubicle without high walls), fiddle around on a computer, and help more important people with anything involving writing, editing, proofreading, communication, or design. The main problem I have with this job so far, though, is that I haven’t had enough work to do. I don’t really mind doing kind of tedious work, like reading through long documents, or typing up content, but I HATE feeling like a useless slacker. I was given a few things to do in my first two days, but after that, nothing. And, since my desk and computer are completely out in the open, I can’t just be using the time for Pinterest, Facebook, or YouTube. I have to find something to do that makes it LOOK like I am working, and yet doesn’t drive me out of my mind with boredom. So far some solutions I’ve found are online typing exercises, Excel tutorials, and reading through the novel the other princesses and I wrote. Still, these things don’t take too long, so I still spend a lot of time feeling awkward about my lack of productivity. There’s a lot of people to meet in the office, and I wish I could develop a rapport with them. But I’m hesitant to stop by their desks to chat when they seem like they are actually busy with something, and I am clearly not. Basically, I’m self-conscious and shy in these kinds of situations, and I need to build up the courage to take risks, prove my worth, and build relationships.

At least the copier and I have been getting along so far

At least the copier and I have been getting along so far

Having two jobs at once is great in some ways and crazy in others. I really have to shift gears after lunch everyday when I transition from teacher to office minion. That, not having any naps, and the general stress of starting something new has made me exhausted all week. On Wednesday, I walked in the door after work, said hi to my husband, lay down on the couch, and fell asleep. It’s been that kind of week. But, at least I can now say I’m employed, and at least a bit more productive than I was when I was home alone all day. For now, that’s good enough for me.

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