No Bodies on the Table

By Megan Reilly

So last week was my second week in my new job. I am settling in well, my co-workers are super nice, and I’m learning lots about my new role. However, part of learning is making mistakes once in awhile and this week I made my first of many.

It wasn’t anything huge, but I was asked to send a mass email to a group of students, I was sent the list of students, and imported it to Constant Contact without checking if there were any hidden rows. There were. My colleague and I ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon answering panicky emails from students who weren’t supposed to get that email and letting them know to ignore it.

There wasn’t much harm done other than some kind of confused grad students and the blame rested on at least three of us who saw the list before it was sent out, but it felt like a major fail on my part as the new kid. When you’re new, you feel like you have to prove yourself. No one knows how reliable you are yet and if they see you make mistakes, they start to not trust you. That terrifies me because I want to be someone that my coworkers can rely on and feel comfortable handling projects. I want them to feel comfortable going on vacation because I will have things under control. But at the end of the day, not everything can go perfectly.

This is when I remind myself of something I was told when I was transitioning for this job. It was a few weeks before I started but after I had been offered the job. The guy who was vacating the position wanted to show me the ropes before his last day so I went in on my lunch break to learn as much as I could on his last day. As he was walking me out, he told me “it’s a fun job, there are some really important parts of it and it’s going to give you a big headache if you drop the ball – but there are no bodies on the table.”

As an eleven-year Grey’s Anatomy fan, I laughed. I knew from my favorite show about the most-accident-prone-hospital-in-the-world that some jobs do mean life or death. There are bodies on the table for some people and your job is to save lives. I work in academic affairs though. The worst day of my job would include a mob of angry faculty members who are unhappy with their room assignments. This can be pretty scary (as those who work with faculty can surely understand), but there are no lives at stake. My email mishap last week didn’t cost anyone their life, their livelihood, or even their education. It just confused a few people, which was quickly remedied by a few emails from our team of amazing program assistants. I’m going to make mistakes, but I can sleep at night with my mistakes. There are no bodies on the table and I think there is still time to build my team’s trust in me. For me, it’s important to keep things in perspective right now.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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