I have been working at a new job for 3 weeks…

It is a fairly new company, and I was brought in as a department head. I have no experience in the field, and no managerial experience. That being said, I love my new job, and feel I am fairly good at it. At least as good as I could be in a new job, and position. My problem is, I am starting to feel extremely warn [sic] out and overwhelmed already, and I think that is mostly due to the stress, and I am getting extremely lost in some parts of my position. How would you handle this? I just need suggestions to hold me over until I get comfortable in this position.

Chris:

Ah…yes…I can well relate to the feeling of being the new person in an unfamiliar work environment. This reminds me of the few months I spent as a cardiac surgeon. The first few months of that position, while enjoyable, were spent coping with large amounts of stress, countless screaming patients, multiple malpractice suits, and at least one incident involving townsfolk and pitchforks.

Regardless of whether you are starting a new job in an office, waiting on tables for the first time, or spending several months pretending to be a world renowned heart surgeon with a briefcase of highly suspect and mostly fraudulent documents, the feeling of being lost can be the same. We all share that feeling of disorientation and sinking. The good news is that you can cope with this. The bad news is that you have to rely on me to find out how.

Your first strategy is to identify who the biggest pushover in the office. Personally, I find the easiest way to do this is to walk around screaming a lot at random. The higher someone jumps, the bigger the pushover they are. This will be the person who will now be doing all of your work. Immediately pass over your most daunting tasks to them whilst constantly reminding them how you are now their best friend and would hate to see something happen to their lovely home. This should put them at ease and make them eager to be part of your team. (It is important to have a team name, even if you never share it with anyone. My team is Team Wickenstein. I’m not really sure why I called it that, but I must have had a very good reason).

Once you have your workload dealt with, it is time to deal with the stress. Now…your first step should have eliminated a lot of the stress, but you might have some residual stress kicking around, or perhaps a new type of low level guilt-stress after discovering that you are capable of being a no good lazy workload passer. Fortunately your job has seen to it to provide the means of relieving this. On your desk you should have a computer. This computer probably has some internet access. In fact, you are probably using it RIGHT THIS SECOND TO READ THIS ADVICE! Well…this internet place is FILLED with stress relieving sites. Did you know that there is an entire digital world in here of cute and fluffy cats doing hilarious things? There are cats playing piano, water skiing, pretending to be dogs, watching TV, wearing clothes…the list goes on. Hold on…I gotta go see some more of these cats.

Ha. That was awesome. He thinks he’s people.

Once you have your workload and stress taken care of you’re golden. From this point on it is all about maintenance mode. This means identifying the absolute bare minimum to do and still maintain the illusion of being a valuable employee. For the most part this means answering emails from your boss and reminding them of where they left their glasses, stapler, or stethoscope. I also find walking around the office quickly makes it look like you are busy and a person who is getting things done. This is doubly effective if you remember to make sure that your pants are done up.

Remember, we have all been the new person at a job and we all just want to look like we know what we are doing. Keep calm, keep focused, and keep on piling your stuff on the scapegoat. It’s ok. He’s probably an asshole anyway.

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