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  • Writer's picturemayte lisbeth

the little Bronx girl that could

Today was my first day of work. And before I go into the today of it all, I want to offer some context.

Context: I quit my job this past June. Yes, June of this year. During a pandemic. I quit my job during a pandemic without another job lined up. I probably wouldn't recommend that for anyone. However, for me, it made a lot of sense. It was time for something new, and while I didn't know what that was, I had to take the time to figure it out. I deserved that much. After a couple of months of non-stop job searching, I found myself weighing a few opportunities. Ultimately, I ended up where I think I'm supposed to be. Y'all, I am happy.

That being said, today was a day. I can't remember the last time I felt this new. (Note: I refuse to go that long without feeling this new again. Not feeling new means I've been too complacent for too long.) Feeling new is probably one of the most universally shared professional and yet vulnerable experiences. I know we aren't supposed to think of our professional selves as vulnerable but think about it. There we are adults, lost, hoping someone finds us or that we can figure it out sooner rather than later. You feel very exposed. Even if you try to lay low, you meet a question that needs to be asked. And if you want to be successful, you find someone to ask the question to. Then you sprinkle on the top layer of starting a new job remotely and not only are you vulnerable, but you are alone. I told you, today was a day.

I have to remind myself that I am not dumb, I just don't know. I have to remind myself that I belong here, I just don't know how much I belong yet. I have to remind myself of how much I prayed for the opportunity to be excellent. I have to remind myself of these things a million times a day because of the way my anxiety interacts with uncertainty, with possibility, with potential. Uncertainty, possibility, potential and I were close. Well, that is until possibilities became negative, potential got lost somewhere and uncertainty was a lover that wouldn't let me leave. It's really hard not being excellent when you know you could be, if only you would get out of your own way.

So how did I manage to get out of my own way today?

I believe people when they told me to ask them a million questions and that I wasn't a bother. Feeling like a burden is a personal battle for me. If I'm being honest, it'll probably be a lifelong one. But nowadays, I found it easy to just believe people. So if someone said I could ask them for help, then I did. Even if I tried to find ways to get out of asking for help.

I slowed down. Slowing down for me means a combination of the Pomodoro method and not multi-tasking. Not multi-tasking means I had a to-do list and it was detailed. Almost comically so. I took great joy in checking off every single one. Attached to slowing down, I really leaned into technology. Folders, filters, tags, color coding, bookmarks. Organization and routines help me feel safe. It was really important for me to feel like I was setting good habits from the beginning. Sometimes my anxiety does not let me do that.

But today, it felt like my anxiety was holding me accountable. I can tell you what I need for peace because of my anxiety. Today, I was able to see what that professional peace could look like for me. Establishing professional peace means I can follow my ambition without losing my integrity. Pretend that work-life blend, work-life balance and work-life boundaries all got together - that would be professional peace to me. What a gift it was to get a glimpse of that on my first day.

My first day of work.

Overall thoughts? The day was exhilarating. Humbling. It was a little boring. It was a little overwhelming. It was a little familiar.

Sometimes new is hard and sometimes new is just new.

Drink some water. Wear a mask.


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