On Work and Self-Doubt

Self Doubt | An'Drea E Hall

If you follow me on Snapchat, then you might know that I started a new job two weeks ago. This job is one that I was initially happy to take on because it will allow me to start my transition from the social service sector into the corporate world. It’s an entry-level position that doesn’t pay much and the work itself is rather mundane and unchallenging—at least compared to the work that I was doing as a mental health professional. Given my level of education and previous work experience, it’s arguable that I’m way above this position.

Nonetheless, I accepted the job offer aware of the pay rate and job responsibilities because I saw it as an opportunity for upward mobility within a well-known, established company. In fact, the site manager and supervisor have already approached me and told me that they hired me specifically to promote me to a leadership role within a year.

Imagine hearing that from your bosses after only a week at a new job!

And yet, there I was, lying in bed on a Sunday morning riddled with self-doubt. That day, I’d woke up before 7 a.m. with butterflies flitting around in the pit of my stomach. My first week on the job had been an overwhelming one, to say the least. There was so much information to absorb and process, and each day that passed felt more and more like a blur. At one point, I thought my head might explode from information overload.

Don’t get me wrong: the person training me was very thorough and patient in showing me the ropes, but I still left work feeling like no amount of training would ever be enough. I suppose when it comes to certain jobs, you just have to get in there, go for it, and hope that you don’t make a slew of mistakes along the way.

But that’s the thing about me: I don’t like to make mistakes, despite knowing that mistakes are an inevitable part of life.

“When it comes to certain jobs, you just have to get in there and go for it and hope that you don’t make a slew of mistakes…”

I’m so calculated and particular in virtually every aspect of my life and because I have such perfectionist tendencies, the mere thought of f*cking up at my new job stresses me out. Coming to terms with my perfectionist tendencies led me into a state of agonizing panic that lasted the whole weekend because I knew I would have to work solo due to the fact that my trainer would be on vacation. This meant that even though I’d only had one week of training, my boss trusted me enough to do this job and do it well without any more handholding or guidance.

And I admit, the pressure to not f*ck up was immensely suffocating—to the point that that was all I was could think about on Sunday. I just kept thinking that if things didn’t go over well while my trainer was away, I could potentially, single-handedly send the company completely under. Obviously, that last sentence speaks to my unhealthy pessimist way of thinking because surely the stakes at my job are not that high…but still.

When you’re the office rookie, you’re expected to bring your A-game to every task thrown your way because you have to prove yourself to your boss and team. More importantly though, I actually wanted to bring my A-game because deep down, I know that I’m more than competent enough to do this job and do it better than the person who was doing it before me.

“I had to will myself to hold on tight to the part of me that felt so strongly, so passionately in my ability to do my job and nurture that feeling nonstop.”

Instead of feeding into that self-doubt, last week, I had to quell those insecurities and kick myself out of my own head. I had to will myself to hold on tight to the part of me that felt so strongly, so passionately in my ability to do my job and nurture that feeling nonstop so that it wouldn’t slip away halfway through the week. I had to remind myself to stop standing in my own way and to believe in my power to do amazing things. Because no matter what experiences I embark on—be they personal or professional—there will always be accompanying doubts.

Did I work hard enough to deserve this?

Should I be pursuing this instead of that?

Is this the absolute best thing for me?

Is this blog post as perfect as it can be?

Last week at work taught me that the goal shouldn’t be to never experience self-doubt or to feel insecure because that’s just impossible. Rather, I should be striving to prove that it’s quite possible for insecurities to be overcome and for my inner confidence to shine through, even in moments of self-doubt.

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6 Comments

  1. December 27, 2016 / 9:35 am

    Love your closing sentiment that it’s about overcoming and pushing through the self-doubt. It’s crazy because we get the job because we’re obviously capable, then insist on telling ourselves we aren’t once it’s go time, lol.

    • December 27, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Your comment is spot-on. Going into the interview for this job, I had a really good feeling that I’d get it. I knew that I was more than qualified for the position. Then, when my manager and supervisor straight up told me they knew after the interview that they hired me just to promote me to a leadership position in a year or less, I was like, “Huh? Why me? How? Really?” It’s like, I know I’m good at what I do, I just have to fight so hard to believe it. Crazy.

  2. December 28, 2016 / 12:04 am

    All of this is normal. I would be more concerned if you didn’t have these feelings and they are valid. I still freak out about things at work and I been in my job for 9yrs. Another awesome, well written post, booh! 😊

    • January 2, 2017 / 5:55 pm

      The more I talk to people about this, the more I hear that it’s quite normal to feel this way, which is comforting to know. OMG, you’ve been there for nine years?! That’s amazing, really. I seldom hear about people being at their jobs for more than 3-5 years these days. Thanks for reading and commenting, Bobbie! 🙂

  3. January 2, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    I can relate on so many levels. Give yourself time to get adjusted to the new tasks and assignments. You’re such a boss for being strategic about the position. Your work is going to shine through, quickly. Can’t wait to hear about your promotion!

    • January 2, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      Yes, that’s the key: taking my time and being patient with myself. Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Jasmine!

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