Thanks to years of coaching — starting with my mom reminding my 10-year-old self to sit up straight and maintain eye contact when I applied for my first volunteer position, to professors with years of experience offering tips to classes of soon-to-be graduates — I’ve become very good at interviews. I’ve only landed interviews for a fraction of the jobs I’ve applied for, but I have yet to interview without ultimately receiving a job offer. I’m well-trained and thoroughly practiced in the art of selling my skills, putting a positive spin on my weaknesses, asking the right questions to impress an interviewer, and in the moment, I feel nothing but confidence in my words.
After every interview, however, I find myself almost as worried about getting the job as I do about not getting it. What if I overestimated or oversold myself? What if I show up and fail miserably and they realize they made a huge mistake in hiring me? What if I have no idea what I’m doing?
Previously, after the requisite disorientation that comes with any transition job-related or otherwise, I’ve managed to ease fairly comfortably and quickly into my new roles. Today, though, starting my new job at a magazine publishing company, I found myself thrown for a bit of a loop. Within minutes of arriving, I had four considerably large projects on my plate and no idea where to start with any of them. I barely even understood the jargon flying around the office. I’m far from inexperienced, but my particular experiences were, by and large, not especially applicable to anything I was assigned, and it certainly didn’t help that I was sick. I felt more like a fish out of water than I ever have in a professional setting — funny, since magazine publishing is the setting I’ve been aspiring to since my sophomore year of college. This was exactly the experience I’ve feared.
And yet, while this sort of baptism by fire is unquestionably daunting, what I felt was not discouragement, but exhilaration. Where I expected stress, I experienced near-euphoria. I’m certainly humbled, but I have not lost faith in myself. I’m not dismayed by how little I know; I’m excited about how much I get to learn.
This difference, I suppose, comes from facing these challenges in a context I’ve been pursuing for the last several years, because it means I will find purpose in the hurdles I’ll have to overcome in the upcoming days or weeks or months.
So praise God for opportunity and difficulty alike, for the passion he has given me, and for his grace when my strength is sure to be insufficient. I can’t wait to see what he’ll continue to do in the midst of this new adventure.