That Waning Fear…

Been way too long since I’ve done a post here. Need to catch up on things, but getting affairs to balance out — again — has been tricky.

As of Decemeber first, I was no longer a contractor at my place of employment. Instead I was a full-time employee. That’s right, I got an upgrade.

Two days later, I ended up volunteering to act as a project lead for the very project I was brought on to work as a contractor. On top of that, I have one coworker telling me “You’re closer to this project than I am, so I was hoping you’d take it,” while another is signing praises to me and tell me that “this could my chance to shine.” Furthermore, my manager, who talked through most of my second project meeting, sent me an email saying “Good job, this will get easier the more you do it.”

Honestly, I wish I knew what the hell I did to earn that sort of honor…

I’m being trusted to be a run a project that involves millions of dollars of high end computer equipment. I’ve got a team of fellow admins ready and willing to support me and help the project along. In addition, not only is my manager supporting me, I’ve also got the feeling that he’s watching me to make sure that I can handle it, and if I can’t, he can swap me out for someone else before it becomes a problem.

This sense of others’ belief in me is incredible and downright terrifying.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1999, when I joined what was once Mellon Financial. On my first major project, my manager quietly went to everyone else in my group and said “Don’t help him on this…” Ain’t that nice? Thrown to the fucking wolves a month in, and on top of that, I had to learn about High Availability using a product that I wouldn’t wipe my ass with. For about four years, I worked for a manager that didn’t believe one word I said, even when I had evidence to back it up. I had an eighteen month respite from that, but I that interim was spent cleaning up a black spot on my record before my next performance review. Then the reorg hit, my group was further Balkanized and I ended up with a manager who had zero experience in our field of technology… and didn’t believe a word I said.

Even with two years in between that job and this, the shift from that to what I’m experiencing now is…disarming to say the least.

A severe paradigm shift, this job is already forcing me to recognize the bad habits I’ve build up from my last place of employment, the most damning of which is the infamous “not my job” syndrome. It used to be “Hardware? Not my job. Maintenance? Not my job.” How it is my job. I’m in a position where I need to wear a lot of hats, where I need to dive in and look for things to do and look for ways to improve the environment.

It’s on me to step up.

It’s on me to bring my “A” game.

It’s on me to help lead things here in new and innovative directions.

That I’m not alone in this mitigates the fear, but it’s still there in the pit of my gut. The voice of fear nags at me, never telling me I can’t do this, but instead question me and my ability. That voice warns me that my co-workers and my manager will be soooo disappointed when I screw up and fail.

Elsewhere, deep in my soul is another voice. It’s the Paladin. He sees what’s before me, surveys the scene, leans in close and whispers two words in my metaphorical ear:

“Bring it.”

So I will.


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