It’s amazing how things you assume you know how to do are actually the most difficult tasks. It’s like when your parents first take the training wheels off your bike. You think you know how to ride solo, but then you learn that it now takes vigorous peddling to stay upright. As soon as my coworkers released their helping hand and I was officially cruising solo, the road began to get bumpy.
I had officially settled into my new position as secretary. I no longer had to constantly refer to the pages and pages of notes that detailed my various tasks. My day was beginning to come together into a predictable schedule of tasks. Get in at 8. Get the reports from the previous day at 9. Get the mail between 10 and 11, and sort through the packages until lunch. Then begins the post lunch countdown until my 4 o’clock freedom.
This emerging pattern of predictability was dangerous. As soon as I thought I knew what was coming, I was completely blind-sided.
Since I had taken over for the vacationing secretary, she had trained me in her daily tasks. However, doing things based on one person’s instructions is not always the as doing them correctly.
After my first week at the front desk, a large shipment of computers arrived. I received them according to the protocol I was taught. When the IT department arrived to pick them up, they examined the packaging slips with confusion. Apparently, the boxes were from an order that was cancelled. My colleagues and the IT office promptly blamed me for the mis-delivered mail. I explained the procedure I had followed and they told me I was misinformed.
The resulting debacle left me in red-faced frustration. Following the faulty instructions had somehow made me look completely incompetent in my new position. The other people in the office knew I had been following the wrong procedure, but instead of telling me, they smiled, waved and let me think that things were fine.
It was like that first time you realize you’re riding that bike solo. You look back and see that no one is behind you helping you ride. Then you hit that first bump. All of a sudden, you’re on the ground. You’ll get back on the bike, but it’ll leave a bit of a bruise.
Stay tuned for the final instalment of “My Corporate Summer” next Tuesday, August 25!