I had a mini Eureka moment at work. And I assure you it rarely happens.
So for all practical purposes, I am a “junior” in my team given that there is a minimum gap of 8 years in terms of work experience with other members. And it has been a tremendous learning and grooming experience! It feels pretty awesome being treated with the same level of respect, authority and expectations. And I have been extremely lucky to have a team that has mentored me during my plunges in unfamiliar waters.
But this awesome senior helped me understand something – do not bow down simply because of your age and lack of experience. My role revolves predominantly on client interactions and being a liaison; there are folks with a gazillion years of experience under their belt but often clueless in certain areas. I am supposed to jump in and steer them towards the right direction.
I had flat-out refused at first… Frankly, I was scared. I simply could not take them to task, review their work and give “constructive feedback”. But slowly I learnt how to handle delicate situations. I did fumble and mumble but all in all I managed to come to terms with the work. But it was difficult to be rid of the block “I am inexperienced – how can I do this!”.
And then came the “Eureka” moments. Our team was expanding and we needed more resources. So lo and behold! I was assigned with conducting preliminary interviews. Pop went “No! No! No!” inside my head. The “junior block” reared its snotty flaming nose very aggressively. But okay! Here goes… I reached out and dialed.
And my doubts melted away. It struck me with the subtlety of a club that intelligence comes from area of expertise – what I lacked in years I made up in expertise. I was warm and cozy in the work while these candidates were still in the blue ocean. In that one moment, I found my confidence and my humility – to acknowledge people for their work and not just years of experience.
Skills. Skills. Skills. The work is what defined me even though the process itself was challenging and annoying. Today, one and half years later, I am entrusted with project management apart from the consulting assignments. I am learning to handle multiple projects and balance priorities driven by my instinct. I am slowly understanding people and significance of the professional relationships in this maze of development. I am allowing myself to make mistakes rather than not do anything at all. And I am thoroughly enjoying being in the driver’s seat with its breaks and accelerators!
So yay! For our work. For our expertise. For our learning….
Okay, let’s be real! The YAY is just for our weekends… The rest is stupid.
What was your defining coming-of-age moment in your professional life?