November 23, 2010
So it's time for me to start job hunting. And there's a lot of really good reasons to do so. I went to a competitor's job fair a few weeks ago and it felt much like going into enemy territory. I expected at any moment someone would point me out and tell me I'm not allowed to even think or talk about the competitor let alone be taken on a tour through their facility. I'm not enormously sentimental especially not about where I'm at or the trials and tribulations I've gone through to get here. But there is one thing that's going to be difficult for me.
Much as I need to move on and do something new it is difficult to start all over. I have spent such a big chunk of my youngish life here. I know so many people, know how things used to be, know the history, and am well connected on the information grapevine. None of this has resulted in real positions of authority or responsibility but it does give me some satisfaction. And wherever I go I will be the newbie. People here know me from way back and even if I got a new area of responsibility enough people knew me from back then that it was not too difficult to earn some level of likeability and get started right away. But somewhere else I'll have to start from scratch. Prove myself every inch. And that scares me. Yes I've done it before, but I've only done it once or twice. And not from some level of experience to a greater level of experience, which is even harder if you're trying to pretend like you're already know something and then deal with your flareups of imposter syndrome.
I feel a little like the characters in Shawshank Redemption. When they get out it is hard for them to adjust to their new life. In prison, even though it was prison, they had achieved a level of respect and authority. Out in the real world they are just ex-cons. And I worry how much of myself I can take with me to a new job. I'm eager for new technical challenges but fear learning everyone's name or how to understand their internal database systems or how to figure out the best contacts along the way. I'm afraid of making new friends all over again. Afraid that what I have here is a sham based only on my personality and not on my skill. That starting somewhere else will be impossible once they all figure out how incompetent I really am. Because it's easy to keep sliding further into the quicksand of home. And it's difficult to grab the rope and step out into the jungle.