“I feel foolish.” I didn’t say it out loud but that thought probably crossed my mind several times a day last week. That’s because I started a new job on January 2 and although there is no expectation from the gals who are training me that I can read their minds and know what to do, it’s hard for me not to feel like a moron when I ask a question that has an obvious answer – or at least I see that the answer was obvious once it’s told to me.

Does anyone start a new job and not go through that awkward stage of having to ask where the paper clips are or finding out that the “hold” button on the phone isn’t in the same place that it was on the phone you’ve used for the past three years? Glad that that person whose call I just disconnected wasn’t a client.

Starting a new job definitely poses a challenge for me – not just in learning new processes – but in learning to manage my expectations of myself. When I was told at the outset that it would take a year to learn this industry, why should I think that I could master it by my sixth day of work?

It’s interesting that I just had a conversation with a friend who was suffering from the same “disease” of impatience with themselves except that their situation isn’t about learning a new job, but is frustration over not being able to bounce back quickly enough after a very significant illness. Both of us, in different circumstances are thinking, “I’ve always been able to do this before, how come not now?”

If I were to give her some advice, it would be to go easy on yourself; you were very, very sick so of course it’s going to take longer to regain your strength and energy. I know it can seem frustrating, but little by little, every day you’re improving. Plus, we’re older now so everything moves a little slower.

And she would remind me that there is really, really a lot to learn in my new job so of course it’s going to take at least a few months before I feel competent. I know it can seem frustrating, but every day you learn a little more and gain more confidence. Plus, we’re not the fresh, young things we once were so don’t expect yourself to be as fast on the uptake as you once were.

Go easy on yourself, remember the reality of who you are and have some patience and faith that things are moving in the right direction…that’s some good advice. I think I’ll listen to it.