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Surviving The Learning Curve

Surviving the Learning Curve

By Renée Cohen
Proposal Manager & Contributing Writer at Quantum

Almost every job, be it a temp or permanent position, involves a learning curve for the new employee. While some jobs require specialized training and skillsets that may take time to acquire, sometimes even long-held positions call for the rapid acquisition of new skills.

For instance, Annabella Cortez* has been working as an Executive Assistant at a law firm for the past six years. Recently, after the company’s computer system was updated, Annabella was required to take a remote computer course.

After her first session, Annabella admitted, “We had to reschedule the session because I couldn’t find the share screen button! I felt terrible!” Embarrassment and a loss of self-confidence were not what she’d bargained for when she’d enrolled in the mandatory course.

Annabella’s minor computer hiccup wasn’t a reflection of her intelligence, or, as she feared, her lack thereof. Most of us can probably empathize with Annabella’s feelings of inadequacy. Ruminating over them, however, is optional.

When battling harsh self-judgement, try to remember the following quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein (albeit, possibly falsely!).

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Annabella has since mastered her company’s new computer system. She was even recruited to help teach it to new hires ─ an impressive proof of her progress, especially given the negative mindset and emotional state that followed her first lesson.

Obviously, we can’t excel at everything right off the bat, nor can we control how fast we pick up new skills. So, when undergoing the requisite learning curve for any job, it’s best to adopt a growth mindset. Put your ego aside, expect the unexpected, and be prepared for some moments of embarrassment.

Lorem Ipsum is not a person.

That was news to me when I first began working as a writer. When tasked with editing a newsletter destined for print, I struggled for hours with the texts beneath the spaces reserved for photos. To my untrained eye, each block of text consisted of gibberish.

When I finally gave up and offered my boss my sincere apologies for being “unable to confirm the correct spelling” for the nonsensical words, she laughed and told me my “joke” was a “good one!”

Sadly, I wasn’t joking.

(Cue my blushing.)

Known as Lorem Ipsum, the “gibberish” in question were simply placeholders and were not in need of editing. The actual text would be inserted later.

Fortunately, along with my embarrassment came the comforting assurance that I would never make that same mistake again! (Additionally, another bit of knowledge was added to my wheelhouse.)

Surviving the learning curve is much easier once you accept that you may at times feel like a fish out of water. Just remember not to judge yourself too harshly when you struggle to climb those trees.

Ready to tackle the learning curve that comes with an exciting new career opportunity? Check out our latest jobs here.

*name changed

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