Low self-confidence at work

(5 Posts)
lizzieoak Sun 18-Sep-16 16:56:17

I have a degree from 25 years ago & then took time off to raise the kids, got divorced, stopped being SAHM, only work I could find was as admin assistant. This work did not light my world on fire, but I'm not an ambitious person so kept doing it.

Finally a friend recommended me for a job as a researcher. I loved this job, adored my colleagues. Did this for 18 months. All in my dept were on contracts. The boss had, in February and prior said she'd like me to replace the head of our little dept if he left, but then he stayed. Boss (whose workload had been cut in half but salary remained the same) started finding problems with my work. The more she fussed the more anxious I got. She kept hectoring me to "be confident". But the fussing over details was doing my head in (my colleagues say that due to the nature of the work we all made mistakes). Eventually my contract was not renewed & I'm having trouble finding other work. I've applied for loads of things but do tend to now be Eeyoreish & think of all the ways in which I'll fuck up if I got any of these jobs.

Boss has form btw and apparently has driven a couple of other women out of there (voluntarily ran to other jobs or were not renewed). She's fine w men, could be a coincidence, but people note her fussing over female staff's work.

Anyhow, not sure what to do about massive confidence problem. I loved that work so much, felt proud for the First Time Ever of my work/job, and am a bit depressed about it. It's been 3.5 months and although the shock has worn off of going from heir to the throne to not being asked back, I'm just sad and hard on myself, every damn day. Ideas?

tribpot Sun 18-Sep-16 17:12:19

Well, the good news is that you've found an area of work that you really love - research. So you know what kind of jobs to go for.

The bad news is you've been victim to a classic office ploy, a sort of variant on the love bombing that goes on in an abusive relationship. There is someone (a guy) at my old work who has terrible form for doing this - singles someone out from two grades below him, so this person feels very special but without direct expectations of the favouritism resulting in more work or a promotion or whatever. Then he drops this person without any explanation. Sometimes he does it to the same person several times over, after rotating through all the other possible candidates, it's dreadful.

But it isn't personal. It reflects far worse on the person doing the love bombing. It's a shame people didn't warn you beforehand but it's hard as you might think they were just jealous of your special relationship.

So - time to put it behind you and focus on the future. Why are you struggling to find work? The summer months may not be the best time to be looking. I don't know how researchers typically find work, is it a question of networking and word of mouth? Do you use an agency? As this was your first research role, are there qualifications that would increase your chances of getting your next assignment?

RowenaDahl Sun 18-Sep-16 19:35:27

What you have to do is.... Dust yourself off and just get out there. I always imagine I am stepping into a new room and I turn around and close the door behind me and lock it. Behind that locked door is your difficult ex-boss and all those horrid feelings. In the new room, there are lots of fantastic opportunities and lots of lovely supportive people.

Just keep plugging away. The right thing will come up and you only need one job. Just because your ex-boss had ishoos with you it doesn't mean she is right.

lizzieoak Sun 18-Sep-16 23:34:26

Thanks both. Rowena, I like the imagery of the door, that might help. Tribpot, I hadn't thought of it like that, the love-bombing. It was really weird, she was so complimentary, then suddenly it was shite. There are various theories around the office, none of which involve me actually being useless. I wouldn't mind so much but that I loved the job. And felt I was contributing.

I do love this work but there's not a lot of it about & we can't move as I'd miss my just grown-up daughter and ds's dad has technically shared custody (but only has son over once a week, unless a hundred reasons crop up, in which case less), so exh could stop us moving. I'm applying for similarish things, about 6 a week in vaguely related areas + admin jobs. I've been told that I need to rewrite a little each time to parrot their wording as the main employers here use programs to trawl for keywords. So it's time-consuming & depressing. Just worry that if I get a job will be seized w worry & not take in instructions. Each time I start at a new job there's fiendishly complicated in-house software to learn so I have to be on the ball sad

RowenaDahl Mon 19-Sep-16 07:53:07

Lizzie, what you have to remember is that there are plenty of loons in the workplace. You've been fortunate to have 25 years respite!

If I were you, I would write down all your skills with supporting evidence (i.e. good written and verbal communciation skills - handled and sorted all complaints for department in last job dealing with staff at all levels/customers by letter, email, telephone and face to face, etc.). I'm trying to change career at the moment and a friend helped me to approach a job application. She pulled out some nuggets from the current temp job I am doing that I never even thought of!

Also, if admin doesn't light your fire then avoid it. At the moment there are too few jobs and too many candidates. It doesn't pay very well. It can be very stressful (as you often have multiple masters) and it is the road to nowhere. (I'm a disillusioned PA.) Focus on the research jobs. Even if you can't find a job that is 100% research, see if you can find a role where it is included. www.indeed.co.uk is good for searching on keys words.

Also, try to think of this job coming to an end for a reason. Try to think of it as finding 'your thing' and be grateful that it ended before your boss became your nemesis. Idiot bosses can cause a lot of damage. There are plenty of good jobs out there. You just need to find one!

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