Massively Consciously Incompetent!


When we start a new job it’s a terrible feeling. We don’t know anyone and we don’t know anything. Even if the job is the role you always wanted, or in an industry you always wanted to work in, it can be very daunting.

Our feelings of confidence that can build up after a few days are quickly shattered when an error we make is uncovered or exposed. We shuffle off home at the end of the day feeling useless and a liability. We will return tomorrow because that is the reality of a new job. You pick yourself up and dust off the mistakes.

There is an idea when it comes to the theory of learning with regards to conscious and unconsciousness. That we are consciously incompetent at the start meaning we don’t know anything and we know it. We then move into unconsciously incompetent (we know some things but are blind to some things we don’t know) which drifts into consciously competent (we have to concentrate on what we are doing but we do know what we are doing). Finally there is unconsciously competent.

In this unconscious state of knowing what we are doing we can also experience the problems of starting a new role especially if our old one changes a lot. It is sometimes why people are seen as resistant to change. They have been doing their jobs so naturally without much thought that, suddenly, their way of coming in and just getting on with it has changed immeasurably and they become agitated and unhappy.

The sad reality of unconsciously being competent is that for most things in our early life it occurs long after the tests we need to do in order to achieve a pass. You are a better driver long after you pass your driving test for example (well ok, in most cases!). We must travel through the three stages to finally arrive at knowing exactly what we are doing and not really having to think about it.

So here I am at work. Sat in this consciously incompetent state that is bordering onto unconsciously incompetent. I screwed up an email this morning to the warehouse. It’s ok though because I just blogged about it and told all of you!


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