After months of complaining I’ve got too much work in the office, I’ve finally been allocated my ‘own’ intern. Which is amazing – not only because he’s a rather good looking, well-educated young man (which doesn’t spoil things) – but because working alongside him has helped me realise quite how much I know about my job.
“Well, that’s reassuring” my boyfriend said, “because you’ve been there five years. You’d have to be pretty stupid not to know how to do it”.
I take his point. But I’m not the most confident person, and I don’t go around patting myself on the back after completing a project. I think how to do the next one better, and look to learn new skills from my talented colleagues.
Besides, I work in a team of one (well, one and a half now with the intern) so it’s not easy to monitor progress. It’s only through working with someone who’s new on the job that I’ve come to know how much I’ve learnt since I started on the job myself.
The thing is, days come and go and we don’t always notice change as it happens; like you might not notice you’re putting on weight because you see yourself everyday, until someday you get a reality check because you can’t close your jeans. Anyway, weeks, months might go by without us feeling we’ve changed much. And if we fail to celebrate our own achievements, we might be the last ones to notice how much we’ve grown.
I remember the first symphonic concert I attended when I first moved to London. Working with musicians was only a distant dream back then, and as I sat in the cheap seats at the back of the hall, I remember how impossible that dream had seemed. Then a few years later, I found myself in that same hall, sitting in the front stalls as a guest of one of the performing soloists, and that felt wonderful. I’ll never forget the first time I went backstage to greet the artists; even now, as I come back to the hall in a professional capacity as part of what are almost routine projects, I have to pinch myself when I see I’m the one who prepared the concert programme.
I think back to that first night of longing for a far fetched future, and think what a long way I have come – little by little, and almost without noticing it.
If you remember your first day at your job, or running a project you’re currently working on, I bet you’ll also realise what a wizz you’ve become at it. There’s so much you know that nobody else does, and so much you’d have to teach to someone who was doing it for the first time.
If you remember the very first time you dared dream the impossible – to get that dream job, to go on that round the world trip, to date that perfect guy, to start a family …
It all started with a longing for something you thought you’d never have. Then everyday you held on to it, and you worked hard, and you learnt, and it was tough. Sometimes you might have hated it, and others you felt like giving up.
But you didn’t, and look at you now.
You’ve come a long way.