It’s been nearly six months since I walked into my employer’s office and asked for an internship. I had no formal training in web design, and I forgot the last name of my reference as I walked through the door. I was terrified.
Fortunately, I was invited back for an interview the next day, and started working the following week.
While setting up my laptop in the server closet, I was convinced that my biggest challenge would be learning the ins and outs of programming. I bought books and enrolled in online classes, thinking that I would succeed as long as I educated myself. While I’m glad I did this research, I now realize that the real challenge isn’t learning a programming language; it’s surviving the office culture.
Now, I should say that my office isn’t a bad place. It’s filled with friendly, talented people that love skiing and Youtube videos. However, I’m having a hard time finding my place amongst my peers. Many of my coworkers have been in the industry for years, and have created certain patterns for dealing with clients and projects.
Coming in with fresh eyes, I see quite a few patterns that don’t make sense to me, and leave me confused or upset. I know my place is on the bottom of the totem pole, but I still see myself as a leader and a disruptor. It’s hard for me to sit back and work hard when I feel like I should be pushing to make changes and leave my mark on the company for the better.
So I’m seeking to find the balance between humility and confidence. Between being teachable while still sharing my own knowledge and experiences. I have no idea what this looks like, but I know this aspect of my life is certainly more difficult than any programming language I’ve encountered.