Starting a new job is exciting, right?
You get a fresh start. You meet new clients, partners, co-workers. You get to re-invent yourself while using all the past skills you’ve acquired.
I started a new chapter at the end of January. My new job would involve working in areas new to me: fund-raising, developing new work, with a small dose of film. Yet, my existing skill set would be used more often: business development, marketing and most of all, leadership.
It wasn’t easy starting over again.
I didn’t sleep most of November and December, as I was wrestling with what to do next. I had been working at a start-up among a team I adored, but ultimately, I had to face the fact that to do what I wanted to do next, I needed to leave that place and that team behind. I was ready for a new challenge. Ready to go out on my own.
“No one cares about your career as much as you”, I was once told, and it’s 100% true.
Whatever career decisions you make will be yours and yours alone and you need to do what’s right for you.
Like most people, I work to make money and to provide for my family. But unlike most, I want to wake up every day passionate about what I do. Like any love affair, passion can fade. I’ve been seeking that true love for a while now. But one thing remains true. I picked the right field. I work in theater.
For me, theater is a drug I need to take in order for my soul to survive. I need to work not far from a stage. Though never a gifted performer, working behind the scenes to get audiences to experience what I love more than anything has remained the key to my continued success. My career has taken many twists and turns but my love for Broadway remains above all else. I could make more money doing other things, but how much would my happiness cost?
So yes, what I do is very specific, but the feelings I am feeling as I start this new job are the same as everyone else. You wonder:
“Will my new team like me?”
“Will I mesh well with those I work for?”
“Can I bring positive changes to the team or project?”
And the biggest question remains, “But what if I fail?”
Here’s the good news, I don’t fear failure as much as I once did.
Worst case scenario, I could start anew and if it didn’t work out, I would be ok.
Here’s what’s hard:
1) Adjusting to an evolving schedule- I’m used to going into an office on a regular basis. The new job is forcing me to figure out how to navigate working with team members in different time zones. My schedule is less predictable. I’ve gone from in-person meetings to more phones calls and Zoom conferences (Zoom is kinda like Skype but pretty amazing, do check it out.)
2) Getting out of my hoodie- The funniest thing has been my wardrobe shifts. On a day when I’m alone, yoga pants and hoodies were becoming the norm. I had to have a friend confront me on the 5th or 6thday of “hoodie-wear” to explain that, “When you are on your own, you need to pretend you’re going to the office. Take a shower. Put on nice clothes. Present yourself in a professional way no matter what.”
3) Carrying my office on my shoulders-I ended up buying a backpack so my constant “on-the-go” could be better organized. I bought an eBag that has a million compartments, and this is making a difference. Whether I need a charging cable, lipstick or a water bottle, I now have a plan and a place for it.
4) Taking care of myself- And I’m scheduling “self-care”. I go to the gym three to four mornings a week and try to hit yoga at least once a week, to control one consistent aspect of my life as the chaos of learning tons on the daily surrounds me. I use my time in my body to try and get out of my head.
I am learning I crave structure. But it doesn’t mean I can’t build that structure myself.
Six weeks into my new life, there are positives too. I’m learning new skills I never had to. I feel more independent and capable than ever. My belief in myself is carrying me through all the rough patches where I mess of EST vs PST, when I rush around near Grand Central to find usable Wi-Fi and a quiet corner to take a call or when I try to balance ten different tasks in an hour.
Remember jobs will change, true friends will always be there. And my friends, all of them, have been there for me during this weird time in ways I never could have anticipated. They are patient when I have to change plans and understanding when I just need to unpack over a glass of wine at the end of the day. My family, who swear they will love me even as I’m failing them in tiny ways every day.
Here’s to the awkward period. Here’s to the time spent in your hoodie. Here’s to the period of transition into a new job and figuring out how to make it all work out. Because it will all be ok in the end, I promise you.
For now, the future is filled with hard work but so much possibility. So, as one of my dearest friends always says, “Onward and upward!”