I started a new hourly job a few weeks ago. Then this past week I accepted double the amount of hours I was working at said job. I'm getting the hang of my responsibilities there, but I'm always surprised at what crops up for my psychologically when I'm unsettled in a new situation. For the record I'm stoked I work there and it's a great place with solid community, but I am feeling a lack of guidance: my responsibilities span very wide and typically differ on a case by case basis.
Here are a few of the things that I've noticed: I want to make a good impression, so I care a lot what other people think of me all of a sudden.
I read into my interactions with a heavy bias towards judging myself. Well, judgement is actually a good thing, but I don't need to be tossing it onto myself.
I become really concerned with the "right way" to do things. Some things do have a right way, like how to send an application, but it's not productive to be constantly questioning my own actions.
As you can observe from the Book Nugget Blog, the types of books Jake and I write about are typically non-fiction, marketing, business, self-help, or psychology oriented. Being interested in this type of writing, we also run into more hands-on business management books. I try to take these concepts and apply them to building the project that is The Pizza Bats, but sometimes the ideas are focused on office/work-place politics and just don't apply because the social web is solely Jake and I (and whatever imaginary assistants we dream up for when we're ready to hire them).
So since I'm struggling with my identity when I'm there, I'm looking to people who have experimented with workplace dynamics and could potentially have some super valuable insights for someone who's never worked in a progressive company before. The first stop on my research is Jeff Sutherland's Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.
Scrum is a cross-functional, team-based type of working, and it focuses on leveraging your own strengths and the strengths of others in your team to get work done. Perhaps my struggles would be alleviated if I started focusing on understanding the strengths of those around me and requesting things of them that they would be good at: that way they would feel useful and I would start to understand my place in the environment as well.
All this lack of direction and uncertainty, it turns out, can be a positive for a team as well. Sutherland looked at why certain success stories seemed to soar above the mediocrity in terms of grace and effectiveness. One of the ingredients is autonomy.
"The teams are self-organizing and self-managing, they have the power to make their own decisions about how they do their jobs, and are empowered to make those decisions stick."
So if I look at the bigger picture, I've actually been spending too much time worrying about myself and my own job. Since I am involved in an autonomous group within an ever-expanding company, I can acknowledge the freedom that allows, and focus on my team and learn more about their strengths, and surely I will begin to understand how my strengths align with theirs.
I'll let you know how it turns out.