It’s been two weeks since I started my new position in the Children’s Library, yet it feels like a month or more of separation from my old position as a cataloguer. After my first day I was heavily laden with the notion that I may have made an error in perusing this position. I came home with a splitting headache, feeling completely lost and thinking, “What have I done? This is a major cock-up, and now I’m trapped.” I know what you’re probably thinking, “It was only your first day! You can’t expect to understand everything on the first day.” Of course I knew that; I knew that, but it that knowledge did little to stem the fear that I had put myself into a situation that was way above my comfort zone, if not my abilities. I arrived the next morning to a steady stream of, “So how was your first day” questions. I did my best to sound positive, but I couldn’t stifle my commentary on how overwhelmed I felt. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to sit down with my manager and have a chat about first impressions (mine), expectations (mine and hers), and reassurances (hers). This meeting was exactly what I required to calm my anxieties and refocus my attention so that I could approach my new job one task at a time, instead of feeling like I need to learn every part all at once.
Now here it is, two weeks later and I’m feeling very positive about the decision I made. Each day I’m finding myself more and more comfortable dealing with the children and families that visit us. I am especially loving story time! Public speaking does not come easily for me, but there is something fantastic about connecting with the children though the stories I read. Even when my audience is only two or three I’m not disappointed, because when I see the look of enjoyment on their faces, it makes it all worth while. Conversely, when my audience was slightly larger than I had expected and I needed to quickly clear out a spot for everyone to huddle together because the programme room was in use, as the case happened to be today, I thought nothing of it. I was just excited to get a nice turn out, and I simply wanted them to enjoy themselves. In the past I would have been nervous and flustered, and hesitant to engage the children. Instead I can I feel my confidence grow each day.
In one of my previous posts I spoke of looking forward to a job where I felt I could make a difference. Something happened yesterday that brought this to the fore. A mother came in with two small boys. The mother needed to take care of some very important matters with a staff member, but she would be unable to do so and still watch her children. It fell to a couple of us to team up in order to keep the two boys occupied. I took on the toddler, who was most determined to exit the library. I ended up spending a good half hour corralling, chasing, and mesmerising the little guy with an array of ridiculousness and improvised acrobatics. By the time I was tagged out by a coworker I was exhausted, but felt amazing. All other considerations, including any potential embarrassment as I chased after the tot out into the main foyer leaping around like a demented cross between a frog and some type of ogre, were set aside as I focused on keeping the boy safe and contained and, well, entertained. Afterwards we were told that our efforts were noted and very much appreciated. While I am not out for the recognition, I nonetheless was bolstered by it, if for nothing more than a validation of my decision and an indication that I am on the right track.
I still have a lot to learn in my new position as I take on new programmes and responsibilities, but I no longer feel hopelessly lost; rather I feel as though I’ve found the right place for me; a place where, at the end of the day, I can leave and feel as though I’ve accomplished something. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way about a job.