Stepping into Big Shoes
When I accepted my job at Viget, I was instantly excited and ready to dive in; but, I also knew I had big shoes to fill. Khanh, my mentor/partner in crime and predecessor, was the office manager for four years prior to my arrival. I knew from blog posts like this one that she rocked at her job and was beloved by all. I thought to myself, “How will I ever fill these shoes?” Six months later, I’ve learned to overcome the fear that I’d be walking around the world in a giant pair of clown shoes. If you’re grappling with a similar situation, here are five tips to get you through.
1. You’re Awesome Too. Remember, you aren’t trying to become this person: you have your own skills, thoughts, and personality traits to bring to the table.
2. Befriend Your Predecessors. Whether they are still with your company or they’ve moved on, I encourage you to reach out and chat with them. In the beginning of my role at Viget, I was lucky enough to spend six weeks under Khanh’s wing learning all the ins and outs of the position. Now, six months later, even though she only works part-time since returning from maternity leave, we talk every day. We bounce ideas off each other and ask for help with projects. We laugh at silly things that only we could understand about our job and we are truly a team. This has been one of the most helpful and best parts of my job at Viget.
3. Be Game. As hard as it is, try not to be apprehensive. Just be ready to go for it, whatever that means. For me, it meant coordinating a huge office move six weeks into my new job, planning our quarterly office event, and, yes, it even meant being game to clean out our smelly office fridge. If you’re in a project manager or developer role, it might mean staying late to help a client or work through some difficult code. Whatever your role, just be ready to give it your all from the get-go.
4. Ask Questions. No one expects you to be a mind-reader. It’s okay if you aren’t sure, so don’t be afraid to speak up and get the information you need to be the best you can be at your job.
5. Accept Constructive Feedback. Let’s face it: you may not be ready to fully fill those shoes right away. It takes time to grow into a role. If you’re in a technical job, you might have the coding chops to kill it from the get go. If you’re in a people job like mine, you likely have a one-of-a-kind personality. But, every job has quirks that take time to learn. As you step into those big shoes, I urge you to seek out, accept, and use constructive feedback to make you better.