What 2 Years of Being the Worst in the Room Have Taught Me
And Why We Should Be Okay with It
I still remember when I first got accepted to do the job. The excitement I felt when I saw “I am pleased to offer you the role of ….” on the return email of my job application.
I was buzzing with excitement from then on right until the minute I stepped into the office for the first time.
That excitement very quickly turned into anxiety and fear when I found out that I was the youngest and most inexperienced one on the team.
Thoughts like “What would they hire me if they have so many others who are better than this than me”, “Will my work live up to their expectations?”, “Everyone here is better than me at everything, why am I even here”, “Did I oversell myself on my résumé?”.
Everyone was at least 1–2 years more experienced than I am. I suddenly went from knowing almost everything in my last job to be almost nothing in the current one.
I hate the word “worst”, it feels too aggressive but entirely appropriate to describe what I felt at the time. I truly felt like I didn’t belong there that anything I did was subpar compared to those around me.
Still, I pushed on. As I worked more and more, I learned exceptionally fast and gain a good amount of confidence in my own work but I still remained the worst in the team.
As I learned and grew, so did everyone else. The feeling of being the worst never went away. That feeling sucks, it is defeating and sometimes just feels like you are pushing a boulder against a hill. I managed to ignore it most of the time but on some days — the days where you make the most mistakes — the feeling comes back to bite you.
It wasn’t until about 2 years into the job that I realized I was thinking about this all wrong. This revelation came to me when I took a look at one of the first projects I contributed to at the start of the job.
I saw so many mistakes which told me how far I actually grew as a person in the two years. It was also around this time that I was exposed to the “Growth Mindset”. It is the idea of treating every person you encounter as a possible learning opportunity.
That was the aha-moment for me. Pairing the reflection from looking back at my previous work and the “Growth Mindset” mentality really hit the nail on the head for me.
I should be seeing this as an opportunity to learn from everyone and rapidly grow.
I mean, how often do you get to be the worst person in the room? With a growth mindset, it becomes a great learning opportunity.
With that in mind, I have come to love going to work now. I don’t feel as defeated anymore (I still do on some days) and I find that I am learning a lot each day from the different people around me. No longer am I so focused on how “badly” I am doing, I focus on how I can learn more and apply that learning.
Being the worst in any scenario still sucks though, especially if you are surrounded by really old-school people who look down on you when you don’t know much. I still have to constantly remind myself to take it as a learning opportunity.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading.