One of the great things about being a business analyst was that I knew my job. I knew all the standard ways of gathering requirements, working with business owners and felt confident about how I did it.
Now as a product manager, I totally understand why it took eight interviews to make a decision. I scoffed and wondered why they were putting me through it and I rolled my eyes because I thought it was a slam dunk decision. The reality: It was a risk to hire me.
It has been a particularly tough week. My new boss started on Monday while a coworker got fired. The process the company has in place to approve projects is the equivalent of an elimination panel on a reality show; it is nasty, brutish and long. (ok, hyperbole). I felt like not only did I need to hit the ground running but I also had to get it right. No mistakes. This job isn't one where I walk in and know the ropes. For the first three weeks, a coworker guided me through the process, but no one gave guidance on how to do the job. It has been a constant challenge to figure out what I'm supposed to deliver and I've been feeling like I'm not delivering what's expected.
Then today, I met with my new boss. He gave me some feedback on one of the documents I have to present to the aforementioned elimination panel and while it was useful feedback, I felt defeated, on the verge of tears and I really just wanted to quit. He picked up on my frustration and mentioned that he had to learn all of this stuff and that part of his job was to help me, to teach me. So that's what he's going to do.
I felt instant gratitude, relief and also fear. Will I learn? Can I do it? Am I smart enough? Quick enough? I realized that I'm completely outside of my comfort zone. There's a real chance that I could fail at this job and clearly they will fire anyone who isn't up to their standards.
I can't remember having a job this difficult or working this hard.