New Job? 5 Ways To Make Ignorance Work For You

My job consists of three things: build relationships, respond to questions, and have information ready for people before they ever need it.

In the abstract I have a lot of experience at this.

But in the particular it's a daily challenge.

Having started work in a new organization, I am immersed in a completely new and unique organizational culture, as well as working with technical specialists across multiple lines of business.

In order to be helpful I've got to understand the unique cultural language of each office as well as the bigger picture, plus become literate in the subject matter.

It is hard to tolerate my own ignorance. I know that no matter how much I read or observe, or how quickly, there are decades of history to absorb.

I am getting a little bit better at handling it though. It's even becoming like a growing experience: embracing ignorant me. Here are some ideas for others in a similar situation.

1. "Let go and let G-d." Ignorance makes you realize how small you are and how little you control. There is something freeing about that.

2. Enjoy the sheer fun of learning. Talk to people. Interview them. Go to their meetings. Observe and good heartedly participate. Laugh at yourself. It's OK.

3. Commit to running the marathon. Give it your all. It's not about winning or losing. It's about trying your absolute best. It feels great when the wind is at your back as you're on the bike, flying.

4. Take calculated risks. The thrill of the game is why you take on unfamiliar challenges. You are there to solve problems not just do a job. You have to get out of your comfort zone to do that. Meaning they can't give you full direction in advance. I started an internal blog to share what I'm learning. It was scary to do, but the climate feels right for this.

5. Enjoy learning your value - how your skills can help people. Normally most people want to get through the day with low stress and achieve solid results. Find ways that you can help them overcome obstacles, achieve real progress, and look good.

Being new is frightening and risky, but we all go through it again and again. By walking into the fear instead of trying to pretend you know it all, you become better on the job. You also turn the experience into something meaningful for your personal growth.

Good luck!