Sink Or Swim

I think I’ve discovered the first major source of stress in my new job. After last week’s relatively gentle refresher, I’ve suddenly been thrown into it with both feet, and I annoyingly find myself floundering.

I think part of it is being asked to work on projects with which I’m not familiar, without a proper tutorial. So that means I’m looking at complicated drawings and often have no idea what I’m even looking at. Not only am I having to interpret often-vague comments, I’m being asked to do so on a project with which I’m not even passingly familiar. And let me tell you, trying to interpret unfamiliar plans after two years away from your chosen field of study is not the easiest.

Being mentally “on” all the time is also stressful. My coworkers, while nice, spend a lot of time talking about things and people I’m unfamiliar with. So whether I want to or not, a part of me is always trying to keep up and interpret what I’m hearing. Names, projects, jargon; I’m trying desperately to make sure it doesn’t all go over my head. Because while I could just tune it all out, that would probably just cause problems in the long run. And that’s exhausting.

Maybe this is all just part of starting a new job, and coming in at the middle of things. It also doesn’t help that I don’t want to appear too unprepared or underqualified during my post-hire probation period. And I understand that the office has been busy, but it would be nice to get a bit more explaining of what’s going on. I’d really resent having to put in time outside of work to get back up to speed on these things, but that might be what ends up being necessary. I just don’t like the feeling of not knowing something that it seems to be taken for granted I’ll know. But I also don’t like making that lack of knowledge known.

Oh well. Maybe it will get better. It already is: I wasn’t feeling nearly as overwhelmed by the end of the day as I was before lunch, although maybe that was because I was exhausted enough not to care. And maybe this is a valid way of making sure I learn what I need to. It’s still annoying, though. I don’t like not knowing, especially when I barely seem to know what I don’t know.