A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Changing the Roll

Stop for a moment and picture those public restroom toilet paper dispensers that hold four rolls of toilet paper. These machines allow the maintenance staff to load up the TP once a day, which is of course handy for them. But what about the poor saps using the public restroom? Have you ever been stuck trying to rotate these dispensers and start a new roll?

Moving the new roll into place isn’t really so difficult – the problem is that you have to reach up into the dispenser and try to peel the wrapper off the roll, then try to find where the new roll of paper starts and pull it off from the rest of the roll. Of course, you can’t see what you’re doing very well because the roll is up in the machine, which is made of semi-opaque plastic, so basically you’re sitting there, picking at the toilet paper and hoping desperately that you will be able to find the start of the roll. Eventually, you may get frustrated and decide to just rip at the toilet paper wherever, shredding it and pulling it off in uneven clumps, but at least getting some TP off the darn thing.

It occurred to me today that starting a new job can be a little bit like using one of these dispensers.

At first, things start smoothly. You rotate the new roll into place. You meet people, get an ID badge and a corporate email address and a phone extension. You check your email – only two messages, one from your boss and another from the only co-worker that you know. You are handed a packet of materials to read, in order that you might familiarize yourself with your new duties. You start slowly, wanting to absorb all the information so that you will be fully prepared to do your new job to the best of your ability.

Then you sit through a two day New Employee Orientation, which is a little bit like pulling the wrapping off the new roll. It’s necessary in order to get to what you actually need to get to – the job underneath. (I could say more on NEO, but I will refrain for now. No matter how yawn-worthy, these types of orientations are necessary.)

After orientation is over, you plunge into the world of your new job – you’ve suddenly got a to-do list. Actual responsibilities. But without having performed these duties before, you’re a little unsure of how to go about doing them. The best way to learn, though, is to just do them. This is like picking at the roll of TP, shredding it at times. There will probably be a bit of a mess at first, a few less-than-successful attempts, but hopefully after a bit of picking at it, things will start to unroll properly. You’ll get into a groove. You’ll know what you’re doing.

I am about to begin the picking and the shredding – wish me luck.

1 comment:

Xiaoyan said...

Love the metaphor, you're genius!:-)

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