Ambiguity and the Power of the Unknown

The universe is full of unknowns. In fact, there is a branch of philosophy which is incredibly bleak, bogged down by the notion that the human mind is barely capable of acquiring a fraction of the potential knowledge available to us, so what’s the point of trying?

This pessimistic outlook could easily spiral: How will I ever know…? What do I even know…? What’s the point of trying to know…?

Where am I going with this starkly disconsolate opening to my first blog post at IW, you ask? Well, my first week here has been a collection of rather significant unknowns. In writing about them, I think I might be able to reveal the incredible power of being in the dark and the alluring nature of enigma.

With the great unknown, comes great possibility

Having made the decision to leave an established teaching career earlier this year, the first significant unknown was for my future. To save you from having to delve too deep into my existential crisis, I’ll skip to the part where I landed an incredible opportunity as a Producer at IW.

When excitedly sharing this news with those around me, I encountered another, quite alarming, unknown: what on earth is the job role? I struggled to explain what I would be doing in my new job because, quite frankly, I didn’t even know myself. This marked a pivotal moment for me. I could either plunge headfirst into the fear of the unknown, paralysed by the insecurities of Imposter Syndrome, or I could open myself up to the possibilities of the unknown: the excitement, the freedom and the boundless potential. You’ll be pleased to know that I chose the latter.

The clarity of reality

Arriving at the office after 6 weeks of summer holiday was quite the shock to the system. But fear not: I had a clear agenda for the day with allocated hourly time slots. Whilst some of this played out true to schedule, most of it dissipated as I got stuck into some projects. Happy to help, I enjoyed the freedom of being trusted to work independently almost immediately. Undeniably, this trust and independence seems to underpin the IW culture. Before I knew it, what I’d previously described as an ambiguous job role was playing out before my very eyes by my own actions. A real feeling of success on the first day.

Fluent in Jargon

FLM, KPI, OKR: OMG there’s a lot of jargon that I don’t yet understand. A huge part of transitioning into a new job role, let alone a new career, is grappling with the language that rolls off the tongue of your colleagues. This could be quite alienating: if I don’t speak the language, how can I understand the discourse? As the week has progressed, and with generous support of my new colleagues, I am beginning to understand the basics. In time, I know I’ll be fluent.

There are plenty more unknowns out there for me to discover (or not, if you’re being picky!)

What I do know, however, is that there’s beauty in ambiguity and there’s opportunity in the elusive. Jonna made an interesting comment about the workplace: “I go to work for what I can bring, not what I can get”: I don’t entirely know what I will get and I’ve only got an abstract sense what I can bring but I know it’ll be an adventure and I am surrendering myself to ambiguity and the power of the unknown.