Hi, I’m Michelle! I’m the managing editor here at Poosh and I’ve been part of the team since mid-February. Prior to joining the Poosh team, I was at Who What Wear, where I started my career straight out of college. I was with WWW for just over six and a half years, so it’s safe to say I was very comfortable—with my role, the team, workflow, all of it. Which leads me to today’s topic, where I’m sharing all the very normal feelings when starting a new job.
With starting a new job comes new responsibilities, new personalities, new workflow, and more. For me, since this is technically only the second company I’ve worked for out of college, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The best way (in my opinion) to handle any pre-onboarding stress is to a) take tons of notes and b) Google the hell out of anything you’re unsure about before responding with “I’m not sure how to do X, Y, or Z.”
This brings me to my next point, self-doubt, which in my case would come in waves. I’d have days where I’d think “OK, I totally have this under control, I WILL meet all my deadlines” and then other days where I’d wake up and just stare at my laptop crippled with anxiety thinking “Shit, I’m in over my head.” The good news? It WAS all just in my head. The sooner I found ways to prioritize and compartmentalize what needed to get done day by day, the sooner I calmed down and realized yes, this is all doable.
Self-doubt can really drain you if you don’t have the right coping tools. For me, that meant a walk around the block and calling my best friends and parents to give me a quick pep talk, or waiting until my roommate got home so we could pour a stiff cocktail and dream about finding him and never having to work again (jk, jk, I love working!). I do remember calling my dad one evening in the midst of a breakdown (over something minor I’m sure). I vividly recall saying “I don’t think I’m capable,” which wasn’t the case at all—it’s crazy how deep you can get into your head when you’re feeling vulnerable. But he, of course, calmed me down and reminded me not to give up and that in a month I’d look back and things would be better. He was right—thanks, dad.
The important thing to take away is to not feel defeated or ashamed to pick up the phone and tell your close circle of friends or family, “Shit, I’m stressed.” The more you open up and share your vulnerabilities, the more you’ll learn you’re not alone and everyone can relate in their own ways. Getting the emotions and thoughts off your chest and out in the universe is half the battle.
Back to life adjusting in a new role … For the first couple weeks, it’s pretty much like you’re speaking a different language until you and your new teammates get on the same page—just be patient, it’ll come. You just have to let the trust build and ultimately start speaking the same lingo. This is where feeling vulnerable comes into play. When you’re learning new expectations and processes, it’s completely normal to feel vulnerable because things are NEW, and those experiences are what ultimately make us grow and learn.
It’s also important to express to your teammates or boss how you’re feeling. They can’t read minds, and it’s easier to work out the kinks when you vocalize what’s overwhelming you or what’s holding you up. Communicating is a two-way street, and even if it feels uncomfortable (hello, vulnerable triggers), it’ll make your work life much smoother after you address it and move toward a productive solution.
When you put yourself in a situation outside your comfort zone, aka feeling vulnerable (friendly reminder this takes time and certainly does not happen overnight), you build confidence by overcoming challenges and prove to yourself that you ARE capable. I remember a few days after I started at Poosh, my old boss, Hillary Kerr, posted this quote from Nancy Silverton on Instagram: “Looking back at how difficult those times were, the flip side is how rewarding it is to say, ‘I figured that out.’” I can’t tell you how many times I made myself read it over and over, and cheesy as it may sound, it always gave me the push (read: poosh) and motivation I needed to get through the day.
So fast-forward to present day, and when I look back on how I felt the first month, I don’t even recognize that version of myself … that’s how much I’ve grown, accomplished, and trusted myself by not letting the self-doubt and vulnerabilities overtake me. Do I still get mini waves of feeling overwhelmed? Of course, I’m human. But I can’t express enough how important it is to not give up and to keep your head up. You won’t know how rewarding something new is until you try it!