New Job - 30 Day Update
Today marks 30 days in my new position as the Primary Care Office Director for the Delaware Division of Public Health. It's been a whirlwind of activity over the past 30 days and I've been learning a lot because of that. It feels very similar to my previous position in that way, with the main difference being that I'm happier than I have been in a long time. As I alluded to in my previous post, I greatly appreciate the knowledge and experience I was able to gain but the work I'm doing now is more in my wheelhouse. That's not to say it hasn't come with its challenges, ones that have taken me outside of my comfort zone. However, at least these new challenges are good for my own personal growth.
I've attended two career fairs in the last month where we had a table advertising the various student loan repayment and scholarship programs my section helps facilitate. Having to talk to 8th and 12th grade students, as well as other members of the public, certainly isn't something I'm comfortable with quite yet. However, it's clear that getting out there and spreading the word about these programs is going to be the best way to get the message out to the people we're trying to reach. I did more of that yesterday at the 27th Annual Delaware Healthcare Forum, where I did some networking by introducing myself to the representatives of various health systems and colleges/universities that were in attendance.
I've been so used to doing behind scenes work for the last 11ish years, that interacting with strangers and having to be the face of my program has been a bit jarring. Talking to people I don't know has never been something I'm comfortable doing. You'd think that wouldn't be the case considering I spent the first half of my working years in retail stores and financial institutions. I think the difference between then and now is that I was was never in a position where I felt like I had to be the subject matter expert. I could always rely on a manager to make decisions or step in when needed. However, now I'm the guy. I do have the chief of our section teaching me how to do this work, but I'm at a level where my peers are going to look to me for information and guidance.
Since I've been with the state for as long as I have, I do have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working for Public Health and the state in general. I sat on my first interview panel, which was for another section, where I was relied upon to give insight on what it's like to work here. Being the most senior person on the panel felt odd because I've routinely been "the baby" in most rooms during my time here. Over the past year or so it's become more and more common that I've been with the state longer than most. Therefore, I tend to just know more about how certain processes work and how work needs to be done. I'll find myself having an out of body experience mid-sentence as I'm explaining something to a coworker or group of people. It feels like I don't know who this person speaking is or how I'm able to articulate the subject matter in a way they'll understand.
There's definitely a level of imposter syndrome that I've experienced and expect to keep experiencing for the foreseeable future. I do need to do a better job of stopping and reminding myself that I'm an adult who really does know what he's talking about. Other than that, I've also been doing some of the behind he scenes work that I'm very comfortable with and find quite interesting. Being in this position now has helped me connect a lot of dots to the work I was doing previously in this section, that I didn't think mattered that much at the time. All in all it's been a very successful transition into this new position. I made the right choice applying for and accepting this position, a fact that gets clearer with each passing day.