19 August 2009

Kindergarten Worries

I don't think we ever grow out of the worries we had as children before we started our first day of school (Will the teacher be nice to me? Will the other kids talk to me? Will I have someone to play with at recess?, etc). In every situation as adults, I think we face these same kindergarten worries to some degree or another, although we may not always recognize it.

This idea came to me yesterday as I was sitting at lunch with three of my new colleagues. I remembered how I felt on my first day of work: I worried if my boss would be nice to me, if my new colleagues would talk to me, and if I would have anyone with whom I could eat my lunch (or if I'd be the "loser" girl who sat alone at the lunch table). The new work environment was dramatically different from the one in which I'd previously worked, and I was quite intimiated by the breadth of knowledge and experience my new colleagues had. (They were experts in their fields and I was just a young upstart with revolutionary ideas who had worked for the competitor, aka The Evil Empire.) I remember going for days at a time when the only contact I had with anyone in our department (aside from my manager) was at our weekly staff meeting.

One would think that a business woman like me, someone capable, independent, and progressive, would not worry what the "other kids at school thought"--but I did and I do. I want to belong just like everyone else does. I want to be liked; I want to have friends; I want the validation that my ideas are acceptable.

During many of my previous "new kid" times (e.g. attending a new ward, moving into a new house, starting a new job), I've usually had someone to go with me. When I started employment at my previous company, I joined a team that my roommate and friend was on. She showed me around and introduced me to her friends...and soon her friends were my friends...and then I branched out on and made friends of my own. There was no built-in social network when I started my new job here; I was completely on my own to make friends--and I wasn't certain that I remembered how to do that.

I am very grateful that Heavenly Father has helped me be brave enough to talk to the "cool kids at school" because it turns out that they are really nice and want to be my friends. And now I have people to sit by in meetings and with whom I can "play" during "recess" (aka lunch).

Being the "new girl" has been a stretching experience. I hope my heart has stretched enough to more quickly embrace the "new kids" in my life (at work, in my ward, etc) and include them in my circle of friendship.

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