Can you believe it’s already been six months (yesterday to the day!) since I left my job at the Office of the Public Defender for a new workplace? At some point I should stop saying I’m “the new insert job title here” when I professionally introduce myself to people! The past six months have been full of immense growing pains, learning opportunities, stress, and exciting new connections and I’ve developed so much since my first day last August. Six weeks after I started my position I wrote this lengthy post about what I learned through my experience at the time, when I was still completely new and confused about everything related to my workload. Now that I’m a half year in, I feel 40% more comfortable than I was and with 35% more knowledge than I had (fingers crossed no one I work with reads this!)! Every day I feel lucky to work with truly kind people who’ve been welcoming, helpful, and encouraging to me from the moment I was hired last year. I’ve had difficult working experiences in the past, so I’m treasuring the connections I’m building and the knowledge I’m gaining as I advance! Here are the six things I’ve learned in the past six months at my job:
- Be yourself! I’ve recently realized that I’m a naturally extroverted person (I somehow went from a Myers Briggs INFP to ESFJ over the years, not that I believe in those tests anyway!), but it takes me a bit of time to warm up to new people and situations. I like being silly and playful with those I’m most comfortable with, so I’m trying to be as naturally myself with my coworkers especially as I’m feeling more at ease over six months at my job. It’s easy for me to try and appear more mature or serious when I’m first starting at a new place, but I also think it’s important to let my weird personality shine through as much as possible! I hope that people will like me just for me, but if not, that’s okay too! I am not for everyone and sometimes that includes myself, haha!
- Growing pains are natural and shouldn’t be as scary as they appear. Around the one month mark into starting my position I felt extremely lost, uncertain, and uncomfortable since I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was headed. I went from a job as the Community Outreach Court Coordinator where I knew exactly what had to be done every day and who I had to speak with, which felt both empowering and easy. I didn’t ever question what my next steps or assignments were because I was in charge of myself and my workload and I was the expert in my position. Of course getting to that point took some time and I was lucky to have an attorney who showed me the ropes! However, I easily forgot that all jobs—no matter where they are—require an awkward and sometimes difficult transition period and that doesn’t mean I should jump ship and go back to what feels easy and familiar. I’m truly glad I stuck out the challenging earlier times so I could be where I am today—slightly more knowledgable and enjoying my position!
- Every assignment is an opportunity to learn (even if you don’t like it!). I’ve been assigned to more than my fair share of working groups, teams, and assignments over the past six months at my job and I’ve gained a great deal of information and experience from those responsibilities! Although I haven’t fully enjoyed every single duty or practice (but really who does love everything about their work?), I know they are all preparing me to be better at what I do and to hopefully help more people.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I mentioned this point in my six week post and I still agree with it today! I’m always emailing my coworkers or outside contacts questions on assignments, emails, past meetings, and more so I know exactly what I should be doing. I’m thankful to have at least 2-3 people I work with who I truly rely on and feel comfortable enough with to ask real questions and I think it’s important to clarify whenever I’m unsure of something! I never want to assume people’s thoughts or asks, so it’s always better to know I’m on the right path by asking directly.
- If you’re lucky enough, you might find an amazing mentor (or multiple)! My supervisor is incredibly kind, smart, and full of ideas and I truly love working with her! She encourages me and uplifts me to other people, which is an entirely different experience than my most recent one. I’ve had wonderful supervisors and bosses in the past (hence my absolute best friendship with Jonathan and Lo) and I’m lucky to have that moving forward!
- Be kind to everyone you meet! I try to live this motto in my daily life outside of work as well and I believe it only helps to be kind to coworkers and anyone else who works in the building. Since I started my position six months ago I’ve met numerous people who have been warm and welcoming to me, so I try to do the same to others! You never know if someone is having a difficult day, so being nice and friendly is a wonderful way to add light for others.