I sat on my hands to prevent myself from biting my nails and tried to smile what I imagined to be a calm, pleasant, and not the type of nervous which borders on hysterical smile that I currently felt. I sat up straight in my most professional-looking dress as I gazed across the table at the two faces awaiting my response and thought back over the aspects of the job covered in the interview.
RFP Coordinator — I knew RFP stood for Request for Proposals, but I was only about 50% sure (if that) what the process entailed. I’d never written a proposal before in my life! Technology Company — well, I knew how to use a computer and an iPhone, but I wasn’t sure I could even convert a word doc into a pdf. That’s something people do, right? Just the other day I called a HDMI cord an HTML cord. Not a good sign. I felt my forehead break out in a cold sweat. Transit — I’d only ridden a bus once in my life and I got lost.
So to summarize, I knew zilch about transit, software, or RFPs, but there were two things I did know: 1) how to write and 2) that I desperately wanted a job where I got paid to write. Therefore, I mustered up my best confident smile and responded, “Oh, yes, I am very interested in being a RFP Coordinator, and I believe I have the skills to do a great job.”
Two weeks later, I walked through the doors of DoubleMap and into my new job!
Up to this point, my professional life had been a series of soul-draining retail jobs followed by a four-year stint at a company where my responsibilities capped at checking contracts for accuracy and retyping values into the back-end of a website. The dichotomy between the monotonous fact-checking of my previous job to having to learn transit, software, and proposal vernacular as well as learn and create a new RFP process was, to say the least, overwhelming.
However, this job is the most rewarding job I’ve had, and I will tell you why.
No matter how much I did not know (and rest assured there was and still remains a lot) those that I work with at DoubleMap recognized my desire to learn and succeed, and they, both individually and as a whole, took the time to teach me that which I did not know.
I could point to any of the nearly forty full-time employees and tell you at least one thing each of them has taught me. Reid, the head of operations, has patiently endured my now thousands of questions about how our system works. Ashley has taught me how to print, scan, upload, and manage files. Jake answers my computer and technology questions in a way I can understand.
At work I joke that neither Ilya or Peter (CEO and President, respectively) will ever provide a straight answer to my questions. Instead, they respond with more questions which leads me to work out an answer for myself. In the moment it is not the quickest method (which is why I believe many managers and people in general fail to operate in this manner), but in the long-term, it saves time by empowering the inquirer. It’s the whole “give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish” saying.
By rarely answering my questions directly, they’ve taught me how to problem solve. If they only took the time to answer my questions and then walk away, they’d simply teach me how to become a good question-asker, (which doesn’t take you far).
Working at DoubleMap has shifted my perspective and priorities so that when I am faced with a task or problem I don’t know how to accomplish or solve, I am excited to learn instead of scared about revealing what I don’t know. I am blessed to practice this skill daily at DoubleMap with employees and managers who encourage my learning and take time to shape me into a better writer, leader, and learner.