Barb’s Journey – Month 7

Don’t give up!

Former radio programmer, Barb Richards, left our business last year and offered to share a monthly note on how that feels, on challenges, victories and defeats in the hope that her experience will help others contemplating this huge life change:

I’ve been working in my new career heading into 8 months and the other day I felt like I actually know what’s going on. About time, right?

The hardest part of changing from radio to a new job was learning it. Guess I figured I was going to waltz right in and just start doing the job. Oops, learning curve, Hello!

I was very tired mentally for the first 3-4 months on the job. I could not anticipate what to do next because I simply didn’t know. There was a lot of, ‘You haven’t started on that project yet?’ Those first few months my job was dictated by everyone else who needed stuff from me. My agenda was changed every day by others.

That made me doubt my abilities in the beginning. I would miss a deadline, forget to put in some expenses, have a misprint on a print piece or in a press release. There were days when I would come home just feeling stupid, thinking my boss was probably regretting hiring me.

After so many year in radio it was like I didn’t have to think anymore in that job. My mind would just automatically kick in on what needed to be done. I knew how long it took for me to get the Christmas music ready to play. I knew when to put out the plan of action for school delays. I scheduled the jocks by October 31 for the holiday season so everyone knew when they had to work. I had a list of duties and I knew them by heart and I would get them done in a timely fashion on my schedule.

At any new job it’s hard to anticipate what you’ve never before done. Due to a staff change when I started my job, I, by default, had to put together our biggest fundraising event, a ‘Festival of Trees’ holiday showcase. Now I’m great at event planning so I wasn’t really worried and the staff was extremely helpful. But things did get missed. Thankfully, I am also the Queen of the Work-around so it all still got done. That’s where my radio experience marched in to help.

Dealing with the unexpected is another skill that radio taught me. One day calm, the next day a 9-11. Fall trip giveaway cancelled, become a CNN affiliate, hand out ribbons and create a fund drive for needy families…I don’t think I left the station for a week. So I prepared myself for a disaster to happen that would require me to work all night, but we were fine. And the event was a monetary success.

Now at this point, almost 8 months in, there is less learning and I am finally feeling in charge of my department. I am having more fun with fewer emergencies because now I have a clear idea of what is expected when.

I’m feeling much more ownership of my job now and that has changed the way I am around the office, almost like I was making the decision that I was going to stay, a sort of sign I was settling in. My predecessor had been at this job for almost 10 years and had accumulated a lot of stuff (as I had at the radio station. Heck, I left them with files dating back to 1984!). The stuff I hadn’t looked at or touched in my first six months got either packed or thrown away. I changed the filing system to something that fit me better and I now find that I am bugging others to get what I need as opposed to the reverse.

Now the job is taking on the ‘flavor of Barb.’ So…word of warning: Expect a dip in your confidence in the beginning but know that it is just temporary as you mold your new job around you and your talents.

Don’t give up! When you get to this point, you will feel great.

To Barb, as I feel every month when she so openly shares of herself, many thanks!