The breath is finally being caught. The panic is finally subsiding. The heat of the transition is almost through.
I can honestly say that having the person who was supposed to train me pretty much leave because of an emergency right after I started a new job and during some fairly complicated projects is one of the more stressful things I’ve had happen to me in quite a while. The following phone call is an example of how I felt things were for a week or so.
Me: Hello, this is Sarah.
Caller: We had a student come in asking for XYZ documents, but we don’t have them yet. You were supposed to send them to us before the students came in.
Me: I know there have been some problems with the people sending those documents, but my colleague who is handling that is out of the office right now, and I’ve only been here several days and don’t know anything about the process.
Caller: When will he be back?
Me: I don’t know. He had an emergency. He’s working a few hours most days but isn’t in consistently right now. I’ll give him your message though.
Caller: Well, we can’t deal with students until we have them.
Me: I realize that. I’m sorry you don’t have them. We don’t have them either, and I really can’t tell you anything else.
Caller: Can you just tell me why we don’t have the documents?
Me: I really don’t know. There’s been some sort of delay. I can’t tell you more than that. Like I said, I just started here.
Caller: Ok. Have him call me.
Seriously, I think I said, “I don’t know, I’m new here,” and “No, he isn’t around right now” about a million times. Maybe two. It was very odd having people make requests and demands of me about things I had never heard of before and had no idea how to find or what to do with them if I did find them. All in all, it made me wonder if I’d made the right choice in coming here.
But, ah, every day is not like those. Today isn’t. Yesterday wasn’t. Things are caught up, at least for the moment, and I have some space in which to sigh relievedly (this is one of those sentences where the whole “not ending a sentence with a preposition” thing doesn’t work so well).
I don’t know how long it will last. There are some very important things about this job and the situation I find myself in that I didn’t know before I took it, in spite of asking good questions and being pretty cautious about the logistics of the whole situation. I’m not sure that I would have turned it down had I known them, but I would have come in with a very different mindset. So things could become incredibly crazy again starting sometime in January and lasting most of the spring. But they might not. So for now I’m working to be in the present, enjoy learning this job, and will take what comes when it comes, or at least when I can actually see what’s coming with any sort of certainty.
Here’s to deep breaths, counting to 10, and not banging your head on a brick wall.