Find one's bearings:

To recognize or determine one's orientation, position, or abilities relative to one's surroundings or situation:


  • It took me a little while to find my bearings in the new office, but after a week, I felt as if I'd been working there for years. Source

Please let me know which construction is preferred here and why:

  • Why do you insist so much?! I don't want to change my field of work. I think I've paid my dues at this job and I'm just ...................It's time to enjoy all my efforts during these many years.
    a. finding my bearings.
    b. beginning to find my bearings.

They both sound correct to me here, but I need to know how a native speaker thinks on them.

  • Either expression is grammatical, but neither fits the situation. "Finding bearings" is something that happens as one is beginning to do a job, not after "many years". – Jack O'Flaherty Nov 26 '20 at 2:22
  • But here I think "find one's bearings" is something like "find oneself" @Jack O'Flaherty. Am I wrong? – A-friend Nov 26 '20 at 10:33
  • 2
    Yes, I think you are wrong about that. "finding one's bearings" is a short-term process that takes place when one is in a new situation. A googled definition: "figure out one's position or situation relative to one's surroundings." And an example from M-W: "Our course for new employees will help you get/find your bearings at work." – Jack O'Flaherty Nov 26 '20 at 12:09
  • In fact, your own example speaks of "a week". – Jack O'Flaherty Nov 26 '20 at 12:12
  • I think you may be trying to say something more like “Mastering my craft”. – jwpfox Nov 26 '20 at 20:09

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