Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Culture Shock

Before I even get into the "meat" of this post - let me just put a disclaimer right out here in front that this is NOT about politics or anything remotely similar.

This has been an extremely emotional day - primarily at first because of politics, but it only got harder from there.

You see - for the first time in my life, I'm actually struggling to figure out my new company... the bureaucracy is overwhelming to me at times, and it seems like just when you start to figure things out - there is something that you "should" have known to do in the middle of the very process you thought you just learned.

It's very difficult and overly stressful for me to be "average" - I strive to be better than that... we all should, but that's a soapbox for another time. There just are things that you can't possibly know to ask - sometimes you don't know what you don't know, you know? HA! Did you follow that?

The point being that it is extremely hard to know what questions to ask sometimes when you are learning new processes, and at the same time - if it's a process you've been involved in for quite a while, it can be just as difficult to remember each little detail to tell someone you are training.

Even more than that, when you are hired in an office to be the "expert" on a certain field - people don't understand that there is a learning curve that comes with just getting yourself immersed into the culture in order to learn how to change things for the efficiency of the organization as a whole.

I feel like I'm totally rambling, but for yet another ride home with my wonderful husband - he had to deal with my irrational release of emotions... (read crying)

I finally had enough today, and as usual John had to pick up the pieces... and well in his need to help his loved one... he actually has given me some really good ideas on things to try to avoid having this problem pop up again.

For as long as I remember there has always been a joke about saying one thing... the boss saying "no, lets do it this way..." and in reality - they said the EXACT same thing you did. For instance:

You: We need to use pink paper, blue paper clips, and fold the document vertically.
Boss: No
You: Ok, what do you think we should do?
Boss: I think we fold the document vertically, use pink paper, and then blue paper clips.
You (in your head): wow, that really helped! Geez!

I am dealing with this on a daily basis, and honestly I now 100% understand the phrase "my boss knows just enough about the program to be dangerous" - OH let me just tell you... I am INTIMATELY aware of that statement at this point.

Seriously ya'll, it took us 12 (literally - I counted) drafts - read reprintings - to get a set of 10 letters out to some potential donors.... I could have called each of those donors and delivered them a home cooked meal in the time it took us to send them a 1 page letter! (two weeks!)

It just makes me laugh that in the midst such inefficiency - we want to make sure that we're "the best of the best" in our field. Wow - there's a lofty goal!

John could be right - maybe I'm there to help get them to just that goal and my knowledge and experience is just what they need, but I can certainly see a lot of stress, frustration and heart-ache along the way for me.

If we do get to the end of this road and meet that very goal - it'll be such a reward to know how far we've come, but it certainly will be the grace of God that gets me to that point! He's going to have to "meet me where the mountain beats me and carry me through." (to pull an idea from Music Monday's post)


  1. You're right. There is a serious learning curve with any new job, even if you are the expert. Where I used to work in Corporate America, that curve ran about six months.

    Go easy on yourself, pamper yourself when you can and be patient. It will all work out in the end!

  2. My advice to you is to remember this--it's just a job. It's just what you do for money. Don't let it define who you are. Quite often, I have to give myself the same pep talk.


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