But Wait, There’s More

One of the most annoying things about my job is how there always seems to be something else to do. I don’t mean that in the “Oh, you finished one project, let’s move you on to another.” That would be the case regardless of where I worked. No, what I mean is the way things have a tendency to snowball: “I have to to X, which means I need to do Y. But that requires A and B to be taken care of. Alright, I think I’m done. Oh crap, what about Z?”

Maybe it’s my lack of experience that’s preventing me from seeing everything that I need to accomplish. Grad school gave me a taste, of course, but actual practice is several steps above even that. And in school, you had a more-knowledgeable professor checking in periodically to make sure you were on the right track, to direct you towards the questions that needed to be answered. In the real world, you don’t even have that. You’ve only got your coworkers, who may be more experience than you, but not necessarily in the things you need help with. Or you may not know who to ask. Or your oversights may not become apparent until the deadline has come and suddenly the goalposts rocket up into the sky and land even further away.

I guess what I’m saying is that I know there’s a lot I don’t know. But I don’t know what that is, or where to find it. It’s a really discouraging place to be. Like I said, I keep getting to a place where I think I’m almost done, but all that does is allow me to see how much is left. It’s like when I went to Great Sand Dunes National Park as a kid. My dad and I decided to hike to the top of the tallest dune we could see. At the time this was quite an accomplishment; I don’t remember how young I was. But I remember being so proud that I had made it to the top! I had set a goal, and achieved it!


And once I got to the top, there were more, larger sand dunes as far as the eye could see. There was no way I was going to make it to “the top of the tallest,” especially with the sun setting. So we started our climb back down, slightly dejected (there’s only so dejected you can be, after all, slipping and sliding barefoot through the sand).

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the more work I do, the more there seems to be. And that seems really counter-intuitive. Maybe it’s lack of experience. Maybe it’s short-sightedness. In any case, I’m trying to not be too hard on myself, but that’s easier said than done.