Today I wrote the letters “LB” on a sticky note as a task reminder. A month ago, that task would have been standing for an hour at one of the viewing windows at Georgia Aquarium, watching the beluga whales chase the harbor seals and answering questions about Imaq the beluga’s extra floppy skin. What once meant “Lower Beluga” now stands as a reminder to grab my lunch box before leaving work. I’ve gone from interacting face-to-face with hundreds of people every day to interacting with the same 10-15 people every day. I’ve had to adjust from the 1:30 to 9:00 PM closing shift to the typical 9 to 5 of an office job in corporate America. It sounds like a big change- and it is- but I’ve been surprised by how easy the transition has been.
Despite the obvious differences, my new experience in the world of corporate marketing is surprisingly similar to my previous experience at Georgia Aquarium. At its core, the interpretive position’s goal is to send a message of conservation to encourage action. The difference working in corporate marketing is that my message has changed from one of conservation to one of cooperation, and I’ve moved behind a screen to send it. In a way, I’m still talking to a few thousand people a day; I just don’t see them face-to-face anymore.
Of course, I’m still facing a pretty big learning curve because the world of IT is so new to me and so different from the aquatic world. My first week full of introductory meetings and foreign tech information and unknown marketing strategies overwhelmed me, but I was somewhat prepared because I experienced the same overwhelming influx of new information in my first week at the aquarium. When my time ended there, I’d grown from the girl who didn’t know coral is an animal into the interpreter educating guests throughout the aquarium. In my time here, I hope to see the same growth in my knowledge and confidence.
I was (and occasionally still am) nervous to dive into this new role. The best thing I have done for myself, though, is ignore that nagging voice of self-doubt and embrace the challenge of the unknown. When you’re new to a job, whether at a new company or in a new field of work, it’s easy to get caught up holding yourself to an unrealistic standard. You’re new! You’re not expected to know the intricacies of the job overnight. It’s important to stay open to new responsibilities and confident in your ability to excel in your new role. My former coworker gave me some great advice in preparation for my first day in my new professional role: They were confident in you enough to hire you, so you should be confident in you, too. Be willing to be uncomfortable and learn, and you’ll find change can be much easier than you expect.