Grading on the Curve

My no-longer-so-new job is the largest job I’ve ever had. It’s a job I wanted for several years before the opportunity to apply for it came along. I had some ideas about what the job would include, the kinds of work I’d be doing. And I figured there’d be a world of other things I hadn’t imagined. And I knew I’d have a lot to learn.

Right on all counts. Even the familiar things and the things I figured would be part of the job have presented plenty of mountains to climb in the need-to-learn category. I’ve spent the last 18 months on a learning curve with a broader, more sweeping arc than anything I’ve ever taken on.

All that learning, all that needing to learn, has made lots of room for La Impostora to stride in and get all up in my business. (If you are new to this page, La Impostora is my pet name for and personification of impostor syndrome. She and I have a long and unpleasant history.) And she has been riding shotgun with me since the day I accepted this job.

There is a large piece of my job that has been particularly difficult for me. It involves: 1) learning and understanding two sets of rules, 2) overlaying those rules on some moving parts that tend to move in completely non-complementary ways, 3) fitting the whole swirling chaos into a governing system the logic of which I am only made aware of when a) catastrophe is about to strike or b) catastrophe has already been precipitated by me. This piece of my job impacts every other piece of my job. This is where La Impostora comes to play.

This part of the work stresses me out and calls up all my doubts and fears, so of course it’s La Impostora’s favorite place to be. She has done a great job of reminding me of all the ways I don’t understand this critical piece of my job and how I am more likely to burn everything to the ground before actually learning how to do one part of it even passably well. (You can see why La Impostora is not exactly my favorite imaginary friend.)

This week, however, I tackled this aspect of my job in a way that bordered on capable. Because sometimes I can see La Impostora coming and I can shunt her off into a side room and bar the door. I can remember all the things I came into this job knowing and all the things I’ve learned since I got here. I can actually work through messy problems and find solutions and make disparate pieces function as parts of a whole. This week has surprised and pleased me by being full of moments like that, most particularly in this one super-stressful aspect of the work. I didn’t see it coming at the start of the week, and wouldn’t have guessed that it would keep up for the whole week, but here we are.

I have so much to learn in this job (I mean, SO MUCH), and not everything this week went swimmingly. But it always feels good to be able to turn down La Impostora’s loud, resonant voice, to be able to listen to my own voice. It feels good to see that I have been learning all this time, that I’m moving further in and farther up … that I’m on a curve, not a hamster wheel.


It’s the 14th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head on over to Two Writing Teachers
and see what the rest of this year’s slicers are up to!

Original Slicer - GirlGriot

13 thoughts on “Grading on the Curve

  1. Put La Impostora in a corner and tell her to hush. Congratulations on feeling capable this week. I know that’s not an easy thing to feel when faced w/ a switchback-filled road to learning. I wish I’d learned sooner to hush imposter syndrome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. carwilc

    La Impostora! I love it! She rears her ugly head in my life a million times each week. I love how you are locking her away and barring the door. And looking at yourself in terms of how much you have grown, “I used to _______, but now I ________.” I’m always telling my students that the most important word in my classroom is YET, as in, “I don’t know how to do that YET. I need to apply that truth to myself! Thanks for this very important post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘La Impostora’ is the molehill into mountain builder. She shows up when I start to worry at a potential something going wrong. Shutting her up quickly is what keeps a 5 minute problem from becoming, or at least unnecessarily stressing into, a 45 minute one. Good job on keeping your perspective and your La Impostora in check.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I got on a listening to voices kick today and am working on a slice that advises listening to some voices — useful ones — and telling La Impostura to hit the road — or having useful voices tell her for you.

    Like

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