Learning to Swim

I have never been much of a swimmer, not learning precisely how until I was at the age of twelve. Even then, the most “swimming” I could do was usually in water no more than six feet and was a whole lot more splashing than it was swimming. I never much liked the water, but always enjoy sitting my rump down in the sand at the edge of the ocean, letting the salty water tickle my toes until the tide gradually creeps its way up the shore and I find myself surrounded in no more than half a foot of water. Since growing up, however, I have found myself much more brave when it comes to the ocean and have since been able to wade waist deep into the oncoming waves, however I am easily spooked and one wave that pushes me under is enough to send me to shore.

Have you ever known someone that–knowing you cannot swim–took some great pride out of pushing you into an adequate body of water as being the best method to teach you how to swim? Yes? Now think about this figuratively instead of literally. Has their been times in your life that you feel like you’re being thrown head first into a lake with no knowledge of how to swim?

You may have figured this out by now simply by reading some of my previous posts, but my self confidence is considerably low and it has been for quite a while. It is difficult to explain to someone why I have such low self confidence when they ask. Most of the time, I just shrug it off. No, you can’t “fix” me. I’ll let my God take care of that and so far, he is doing a wonderful job.

Over the past month, I have headed into a new job in the IT (information technology) field coming off of my last bit of experience with the matter being only academia and being over two years ago. At my last job, I learned a great deal about printers and binding equipment, sorting and sending mail, and stocking supplies and tracking inventory (and I loved it), but didn’t really get to use any of the knowledge about computers that I worked my rear end off for in college. The job required a two year degree, that it did, but really the only bit of computer knowledge I actually used that I learned in college was using Microsoft Office software, which I used a great deal of time.

Right now, I am just beginning my first real experience in the industry and I am finding myself feeling like I’m being thrown into a lake with no knowledge of how to swim. I’m drowning.

I was so confident in myself, for the first time in my life. But now, I am overwhelmed. I am afraid. My confidence in myself has come back down to its normal level, if not slighlty lower. It’s especially hard when everyone around you has to move at a faster pace and I am struggling to keep up. I am falling behind in this race I feel like I am running.

The truth is, I am so out of practice. I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. I find myself surrounded by such knowledgeable people in the topic of information technology and listening to them discuss issues that they are sorting out sometimes sounds like Greek to me. I am learning, but rather slowly. I don’t have time to learn. I took this job knowing that the company was growing exponentially and that they needed someone who could keep up with the rate of growth. I was doing great, and I am still being told I am doing well. Receiving criticism and impatience hasn’t motivated me; it has just made me feel worse about myself. I don’t usually take criticism well. I’m receiving that criticism, but at the same time am constantly reminded that I can always ask for help and it shall be received. Drat.

Maybe it’s the anxiety, but I have a difficult time asking for help. I can lift that 80 pound UPS by myself; it’s just from the cart to the floor, and then I only have to move it a couple of feet. I don’t need any help. I can do it. At least, until said box falls on my big toe and a stream of language even my mother would be ashamed of comes out of my mouth. I can figure out how to change out the hard drive and replace it with an SSD. It takes me about thirty minutes (mostly because I second guess myself consistently), but I don’t need any help. If I can’t figure it out, I’m more likely to ask Google than I am to ask a coworker. For some reason, I feel ashamed asking for help. I feel like I should be capable of doing things myself. And I should. I just have to realize that because this is my first chance at real hands-on experience, there are most certainly things that I am not going to know on my own. I don’t have the time to research everything. I am going to have to learn to step outside of my comfort zone and ask for help.

For those of you that don’t believe that anxiety can really control your life, you’re wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s all about learning how to fight back and take the control away. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re drowning and you don’t yet know how to swim.

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