Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

First Job Jitters

I just started my first grown-up job a few months ago. I totally love it, but sometimes I make stupid mistakes that make me want to cry. I always worry my bosses are going to think I can’t do the job and I’ll lose it.

How do I know if I’m doing a good job? --- AFRAID OF SUCKING AT MY JOB

DEAR AFRAID: If you still have a job by the time you’re reading this response, it’s a fairly good indication you don’t suck at it nearly as much as you worry you do.

Think back to your recently completed school days. Did you always ace every quiz or exam? Was each paper you handed in a thing of beauty in the eyes of your teacher or professor? Heck, did you get your driver’s license on the first try?

If you answered yes to all the above, I fear you’ve missed out on two invaluable lessons of school and life: 1) nobody’s perfect, and 2) you can’t learn much if� you already know it all.

Size up your bosses and figure which is the most human and/or humane. Next, chose an aspect of your job you feel rocky about and one with which you’ve grown comfortable. Then sit down with your chosen supervisor and rather than asking the vague question, “How am I doing?” request some specific feedback on the two areas you’ve chosen as fair examples of your perceived weaknesses and strengths.

Pay close attention to the response you get, and learn from your mini-evaluation. It may come as a surprise that you’re not doing as poorly as you believe, and your taking the initiative to have the discussion should demonstrate to your employer that you take your job seriously and are eager to improve and grow.

Then get back to work. Accept you’ll have your share of “well dones” and “oops” as you move through the working world. And always remember that learning from your mistakes is the oldest school of all.

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