Managing ignorance

I remember sitting around a table in 2006, in the opening days of the first secondment of my life as Manager, Recruitment and Communications at Keyano College, feeling unprepared, slightly overwhelmed, and wondering "what the hell am I doing?"  Having moved into the corporate role after seven years as publicist at the Theatre and Arts Centre, I was being exposed to a new language, an unfamiliar flow of information, acronyms and issues that felt beyond my reach.

Now past the veneer of the halcyon first first days in my new role, those wisps of fog, anxiety and uncertainty have returned from the pits of memory.  Thankfully, I've been here before and have become proficient in managing my ignorance and being hyper aware of my anxiety triggers.  Yes, being in a job that allows me to focus on the arts is amazing, but there is a lot of business that needs to happen to build the organization from the ground up.   Administrative and financial things, policies, procedures, and business plans - somewhat foreign territory for me - have to be traversed, explored and developed.

In a lot of ways, I felt similar when I was elected to Council in 2010.  The learning curve was incredibly steep and finding my sea legs and my voice took time.  Thankfully, in this instance, my voice is well developed.  But there is a lot to learn and some difficult work ahead to get Arts Council Wood Buffalo fully operational and sustainable.  And just like I viewed my election to regional council, this is an incredible character-building learning opportunity.

There are a number of people very close to me going through similar experiences, new jobs in unfamiliar places with new systems, expectations, and challenges.

"Are there times when you feel like you don't know what the hell you're doing?" I asked one of them.

"Absolutely," they said.  "All the time.  But you just go with the flow and figure it out."

I felt better after hearing that, and knowing there are some awesome people willing and ready to help me along the way.


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