I got some advice when I transferred from Old Unit to New Unit at work. Just be yourself and you’ll be fine. That’s not exactly sage advice for a dorky goofball who likes to have a healthy freak out every few days and enjoys random acts of dancing just for the heck of it. I’m trying to make a good impression here, not frighten people away!
The fact of the matter is, I’m still the new kid on the block and I don't exactly want people to think I'm a complete Looney Toon in my first month on the job. As much of a dorky goofball as I am, I do take work seriously and I'm working hard on getting my responsibilites down. There’s a lot to learn and it’s very different from what I’m used to. But I’m learning and I’m adjusting. So, that's fine. The bigger adjustment I've had to make is to the culture of the New Unit. It is so different from Old Unit that some days I feel like I wandered to the wrong side, a side where dorky goofballs don't work.
The most striking difference between Old Unit and New Unit is the quietness. Even the hallways are quiet. Sometimes, when I go to the ladies room, I feel like I’m out of class without a hall pass. On the other side of the building, where Old Unit is, the hallways bustle with life. There was always someone on their way to some place, usually a stack to pull or process records. There was always someone to wave to and say, hey, nice Crocs! Office suites were the scenes of lively discourse about archival theory (original order is for hacks), lack of supplies (no legal folders again?!), or actual New Kid on the Block Jonathan Knight’s homosexuality (okay, that was just me…I was clueless!) I don’t know where the discoursing is happening in New Unit. Do they discourse? Do they disco? I don’t know! No one’s in the hallway to ask!
Another huge difference is that many colleagues in New Unit have children. In Old Unit, you were the exception if you had kids (I can count the number of parents on one hand). In New Unit, it seems like you’re the exception if you don’t have kids. I was kinda half-worried that I’d transfer units and all of a sudden a kid would pop out. So far, so good…but I’ll let you know in about nine months. Now, my colleagues aren’t talking about their kids all the time but they do occasionally, and well, it’s hard to relate. I guess I could share stories about my cat. Because everyone wants to hear cat stories. Actually, maybe it’s not that hard to relate. Yesterday, someone was talking about their kid being cranky if she doesn’t take a nap. I know EXACTLY how that little girl feels! I need my naps too. For the record, I’m not adverse to children, I’m just not comfortable around them - I’m always worried that I’ll drop one. My aunt dropped me when I was a baby; well, that actually explains a lot.
A difference that I really like is that New Unit has parties! In the three weeks that I’ve been there, they’ve had two! That never happened in my old unit! At yesterday’s party (for two graduating coworkers), they had Georgetown Cupcakes. How awesome is that? And there’s gonna be another party later in the month for people with birthdays in May. Fun, right?!
While I enjoyed the party yesterday, my feelings of new kid on the blockness made me sad. Not because I was feeling left out or anything. No, it was because something was said that made me want to dance. "Krazy Kabob." Doesn’t that just make you giggly and happy and dancey? And it’s alliteration which just makes you need to dance more! So, there I was, listening to a conversation about Krazy Kabob and all my nerve endings were tingling with the desire to jump up and do a little jig or at least to wave some Sassy Hands. In Old Unit, if someone like TopChef said that within my earshot, I would’ve, for sure, done a little two-step, maybe a hip thrust, or even a little shimmy swivel if I was feeling daring. People would’ve looked at me like I was a dorky goofball (or a goofy dork) and it would’ve been okay because well, that’s who I am.
Yesterday, I suppressed the urge to dance because I'm the new kid on the block and I didn't want people to think I was a dorky goofball. And that's not who I really am.
I can’t wait for the new kid on the block feeling to go away. Because I really like to dance like a dorky goofball.