Reflecting on Starting a New Job at CASA

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Spotlight

By Carrie Shoesmith, Administrative Manager

Starting a new job, regardless of what it is, can be difficult. It’s a big change! And some of the wisest people I know have told me that even good change can be difficult. The nervousness that I felt heading in for my first day was really all because everything would be new. Add to this that I am a chronic over-thinker, and you can imagine how much sleep I got the night before my first day. I had gone over the ins and outs of everything that I could think of… multiple times! But as is often true, the way I thought things might go is never how things play out. Here’s a run-down of my first day.

I was supposed to arrive at 9am. Another thing to know about me that goes hand in hand with being an over-thinker is that I am also chronically early. Being late – or even the thought of being late – gives me anxiety (just ask my husband). I gave myself ample time to drive into downtown and figure out parking, and to still be early. As it turns out, Stephanie, CASA’s executive director and my new supervisor, was walking in just behind me. It was perfect timing (and kind of a relief!) because I didn’t have to navigate security, elevators, and the halls of the courthouse – which all look alike, in my opinion – alone.

As I settled into my workspace, Stephanie gave me my onboarding schedule for the day. Clare, my predecessor as administrative manager, gave me a tour of the office, which, if you’ve ever been to the CASA office, is kind of funny. It’s pretty small. Navigating the space doesn’t require a tour, but there is a lot of stuff packed into this small space. And knowing what’s in each filing cabinet, where to find supplies, and being able to navigate myself to the lunchroom are all equally important pieces of information!

After my tour, the whole staff met in the lunchroom for a brief “Welcome to CASA” party. It was a nice time to chat and get to know each other a little bit, and donuts are always welcoming! There was a warmth in the room that I appreciated a lot. Even though I didn’t know each staff person well, I could feel that their heart for their work and for each other was strong and genuine. I noted then that I was going to enjoy working here, if for that reason alone.

The rest of the day was spent learning. Clare gave me the run-down of tasks that I would need to know, and I finished the day with Stephanie, learning more about how this role supports her, as well as summing up the first day.

The day went by so quickly, and I can’t tell you how tired I was that night! (It’s amazing how tiring using your brain can be!) Overall, it was a really good first day. The week continued on in similar fashion, with more learning from everyone on the team. My favorite part of my first week was the individual meetings I had with each staff person. It was fun to get to know them better – to learn about who they are both at work and on a personal level.

I have now been at CASA for 3 ½ weeks, and I am continuing to settle into this role. I still encounter new things every single day, which I’m sure will continue for quite some time. I am also discovering all of the little things that were second nature to Clare but aren’t yet to me. I am grateful that everyone is patient with me. I know that I will find a rhythm to my work, as well as confidence in what is expected of me.

Some of the fun and/or quirky things I’ve learned in my first month of working here?

  • This staff likes to celebrate! In less than a month we have had donuts a couple of times, we celebrated Clare’s retirement with lunch and gifts, we threw a little surprise appreciation party for Stephanie, and then she surprised all of the staff with fun gifts for Valentine’s Day. (I think there was a birthday thrown in there, too!) That’s a lot of celebrating in just a few short weeks. I was told that it’s not always like this around the office… but I have to wonder. Only time will tell.
  • This role requires accounts and logins to a bunch of different sites and systems. I think I have 15,000 new username and password combinations. Thank goodness for a notebook to write them all in and websites that remember and autofill password info. Without that, I would be lost in a sea of uppercase, lowercase, special character, and number combinations (that may or may not have to be 15 characters long).
  • Social media is taken seriously around here! Sam, the development & marketing specialist, or Hadley, CASA’s intern, are often taking pictures. This is great for CASA’s presence in the community, increasing people’s awareness of what we do. And Sam and Hadley do a great job with it all! But I have to pay a little more attention to my hair or choice of outfit before I leave my house in the morning. I might have to increase my clothing budget…

I have learned in this first month that CASA does great work and is a great place to work. But the most important thing I have learned is that I have big shoes to fill… Clare is amazing! She is so detailed and organized, and she is also really thoughtful! Everything she did in this office – from paying the bills to buying birthday cards – was done to make sure everyone else could do their job well and that they felt appreciated while doing it. So, there it is – the most important part of my role at CASA. And now that I know that, bring on month two!

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