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#DearFlora: Underqualified and Underprepared

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Dear Flora,

So I lucked into a new job a few months ago, which seems great on the surface. The problem is that I was a little under-qualified but that should have been remedied with a bit of on the job training which has been the case with my previous roles. This company, however, offers absolutely no training whatsoever and I think I am in over my head. It takes me forever to figure out how to complete tasks and I am regularly messing things up. I’ve been here for 3 months and I can’t seem to get a handle on things. Can I ask them for training this late into my start? I don’t want to get fired but the lack of a safety net here is terrifying.

-New Job Jitters 

Dear NJJ,

Congratulations on your new position! It's natural to feel uncomfortable in a new job role, especially if you got it by the skin of your teeth, and definitely if you received no training. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve your job performance, and still look like a rockstar employee.

It's okay to ask for help, even in a new job. Do you have a boss or a trusted coworker that could model the things you feel you're struggling with? There's nothing wrong with saying "hey, I'm just not sure exactly how you want this done. Can I ask you to guide me a little?" If it helps, you don't even have to call it 'training:' many companies offer 'professional development,' and bosses like hearing that you're seeking it out. If you feel like your performance is lacking, a great way to avoid too much criticism is to call yourself out, and admitting that you need some professional development is a great way to take out your critics' fangs.

Remember, they hired you for a reason. They know you can do this job, and you can-- even if it takes a little help at the start.

Dear Flora, 

I have been absolutely baby crazy lately despite not being in a position to have kids at this time. I know that it isn’t a great time to have kids, my boyfriend and I don’t own a home yet, neither of us are making enough money to be able to support a child or the time off necessary to have a one, and we are simply too young at this time. But Flora, I want one so badly. How do I handle my biological clock practically screaming at me to have a baby? 

-Baby Crazy

Dear BC,

'Tis the season for baby fever! But, as you recognize, not everyone is ready to support a child. A baby is a huge commitment both financially and personally: many new parents find themselves with almost no time to themselves between work, baby care, and totally normal things like hygiene and  household chores. That's why you see so many parents of babies looking like absolute zombies! But enough about that. Your biology is telling you that you can handle all of this, and there's little way to shut it up. Unfortunately, there's no established cure for baby fever, but I can offer you a few things you can try in order to calm your screaming hormones:

1. Take care of others' babies. This seems a little counter-intuitive, because you'd think that it'll only give your baby fever internal yelling a megaphone. Try putting out an ad for a full day of baby care for a busy parent. You may find that the amount of maintenance a baby needs is exhausting enough that you want to delay.

2. Look seriously at your finances. Do you budget, if not, start now. If you and your boyfriend really want a baby, do some research into what kind of money it would take to pay all of your bills and get all of the things a child needs. Daycare in my area is about $1100 per month, and it's even higher in some places. Even diapers and formula (which I urge you to consider as an expense, because breastfeeding isn't possible for every woman, even if they planned to nurse) can run into big money over time, especially on a small income. Talk with your boyfriend about making a goal before you start trying for a baby. Do you both want a home first? Will you rent? What money will you both need to make? Do you want to marry first, or is that not for you? Make a plan to check in every year about your financial baby goal.

3. Make a list of things you want for your baby. Do you want to have a house in a particular neighborhood? A private school? Their own room? Brand name diapers? Then, considering your financial goal, be honest with yourself: how many of them can you provide right now, realistically?

Really, a dose of honesty will be good for your baby fever. You'll get there, I promise!

That's it for this week! Come back in two weeks for my next round of answers! Don't forget to submit your questions to our Google Form, and see you next time!

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