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I started a new job recently. It’s a great job (so far), and I’m glad to be here. This means that I’m “the new girl”. Perhaps I’m the new “woman”, but I’m still a millennial, so it’s hard to imagine that.

By traditional definitions my first week or so was a disaster:

  1. I was late on my 2nd day.
  2. I got a nasty cold on my 4th day.
  3. Then I almost burned down the library on my 6th day.

Luckily for me, I rarely abide by traditional standards, so I choose to see my successes: I still came to work on the 2nd day. I brought the staff oranges to build their immune systems. I did not actually burn down the library, I just caused some heavy sparking. I’m just telling everyone that I just had a “non-traditional” first week.

 

Each and every one of those “non-traditional” events remind me that I’m the new girl. When I walk into a meeting and realize that I don’t know the names of anyone in the room, I remember that I’m the new girl. When I have to stop someone and say, “which way to my office?” I remember that I’m the new girl. It feels like a lot of pressure. How do I help these staff members? I’m sorry, I need to come up with a budget by when? Was I just overly aggressive in that collection development meeting? At every moment I seem to second guess myself.

Here’s the thing, though, about being the new girl: I’m not hemmed in by the organization’s traditional hang-ups. I can see things that others cannot see. I can build relationships from scratch. I can set tone. I can bribe people into my office with chocolate. Plus, I’m cashing in on my First 90 Days.

For me, my new girl status largely means that I can dream big dreams. What could this building look like? How could we improve staff morale? Can I just remove that sign holder? it’s making me queasy just knowing it’s there. I look at the building, the staff, and the procedures with new eyes and from my own new perspective (for better or worse). I can spend my time daydreaming about how things might be. (My new boss might point out that maybe I should be focusing on my immediate training. Somehow, though, I am rarely swayed by that kind of traditional logic. I am much more likely to be swayed by shiny objects.)

Much like Jess on New Girl, right now is my chance to dream big dreams and come at things from a new angle. I can pull out the glitter and craft my way to making my big dreams a reality! I can wear polka-dots every day! (If those polka dots are black-on-black because all I own is black dresses.) I can use puppies as stress relief! I can use all of the exclamation marks!

Soon I will be bogged down by the reality of the job and its minutiae. But, for right now, I’ll take my status as the new girl and let myself dream.