When I start something that’s new to me, I have choices about how to proceed: I can read up on how things are done, I can ask questions, or I can bluff and act like I’m positive I know what I’m doing. (Or some combination of these)
In grad school, I hated to look like I didn’t know what I was doing. Everyone there was so smart and seemed to have come in with some sort of secret handshake so they knew what was expected of them. Everyone but me. And I was so afraid that they’d figure out that I didn’t belong there, I didn’t dare ask questions.
Silly, I know.
But our culture’s weird. We say “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” but then we mock people who ask what we consider simple (or simplistic) questions. Or even if we don’t mock them, we judge them. At least, that’s what I saw in schools growing up, and it’s what I see depicted in various popular media. So I internalized the fear of looking like a fool.
I’m trying to get over that. Part of me thinks I’m too old to worry about appearances. Part of me still worries but knows life is too short to not try. So I ask more questions.
But in a new situation, how many questions are too many? At what point do I cross from looking like someone who wants a little guidance to looking like a clueless person who should never have been put into this position? If every time I turn around, I’m displaying my uncertainty, how long until people totally lose their patience with me and tell me to just go do my best? Or tune me out and don’t listen to anything I say or ask?
Maybe it’s just impostor syndrome. Maybe it’s just part of being human. Yet I worry.
In other news, I managed all of 31 words today. Bleh. More tomorrow. I think tonight, I’ll actually try to sleep early.