I am rubbish at my job(89 Posts)
and so scared about it. My probation period has been extended and I am really stressing.
I just don't seem to be good enough at anything. I really am trying and want to do well but it seems like it isn't enough and I keep getting picked up on things.
I am so scared as I can't afford not to have a job. I don't know what is holding me back from doing well but I need to fix it.
I don't know how to make changes that those above me can see. I feel like I am wrong all the time.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do and what the complaints are?
What feed-back have you had?
Why was your probationary period extended?
What is your employer doing to support you?
Must be v stressful
Yes, tell us a bit more about what you have to do, and we'll see if we can help.
I work as an admin assistant / receptionist.
The complaints are not being quick enough, not forward planning enough and not seeming urgent when I work. The work I do is good but not fast enough. I need to learn how to push myself forward and to learn to be assertive which is totally opposite to my character.
Also that sometimes home stuff is a distraction - I really need to learn how to leave home at home as there is a lot going on there right now. In the 6 months I have been working here there has been cancer / chemo with a family member, the death of another family member, the decline of a terminally ill family member, and a house move.
I am just so scared as I need this job.
It's hard to give you advice if not a colleague, but you sound like your fear is part of the problem.
Obviously, I can't say 'I'm sure you're fine' because maybe you are as rubbish as you think. I'm not saying this to be mean, but because I genuinely don't know.
Is there anyone you can talk to at work? Is there anyone you can copy? Is there any way on benchmarking yourself?
It is also possible that your face doesn't 'fit' and to that extent you'll never be truly happy or successful in that workplace. I have been that person, and thought it was me. Great relief when I worked somewhere else doing the same job and was considered good at it and was liked.
Good luck, and hope it gets better. Sending hugs (wish there was an emoticon for that!)
sorry, cross posted!
Might it be that you get faster as you get more used to it?
Your manager needs to know about your home situation, if he/she doesn't already.
Are you an admin assistant / receptionist at a school? People don't realise how unbelievable demanding that job is. If you are preoccupied with so much personal stuff, it is very very difficult to stay on the ball as you're usually juggling lots of different things at once. You're probably answering the phone whilst trying to finish inputting data somewhere at the same time as you're dealing with a query from a visitor...
Are you finding it difficult to prioritise task?
Could an experienced member of staff become your buddy/mentor to help you learn by example?
I think being a receptionist is a very hard job unless you are confident in your abilities, assertive, yet polite and not easily flustered.
Maybe some general assertiveness training would help?
Yes, you need to find a way to compartmentalise - there's nothing you can do about what goes on at home while at work, so put it in a (mental) box, close the lid and only open that box when you go home. Equally don't take work home.
You sound like you have a lot on your plate
Some good advice here - easy body posture exercise at the end - I won't pretend that 'standing tall' will solve all your problems, but you do need to stop beating yourself up and washing valuable nervous energy being down on yourself.
The first problem is that you are a receptionist/ admin. That means you are always being interrupted by the phone when you are doing admin tasks. So I would write a list of all the admin tasks you need to do each day and add to that list as people put in requests. I would try having a headset rather than traditional phone so you still have both hands free. While they are on hold you can work on the admin task.
If you are new in your job and struggling, then keep in mind that a fundamental issue here is the employer's recruitment, induction, training and mentoring processes. You may have been set up to fail (albeit not intentionally) by poor management.
Did the job require specific training or qualifications? What induction and intial training did you get? Have you been offered any support or mentoring? Is your workload objectively reasonable?
Yes - at a medium sized secondary school. She does know what is going on at home but I need to leave home at home.
I feel like I am really trying to improve but it isn't good enough. Plus the lady above me is efficiency in human form. I can't stay late to catch up as I have commitments outside work but she often stays as she gets a lift later.
Sometimes it just feels like things are just thrown at me and I need to be able to cope better. And to anticipate what people want before they ask.
are you able to go in earlier? And although it's not nice, maybe consider an OCCASIONAL Saturday or going in one day over half term to catch up a bit?
I understand you may have other commitments, but if you're able to "give" a bit extra while you're still new and learning, it would hopefully be appreciated that you're making an effort.
Perhaps you feel intimidated by 'the lady above you' and feel you'll never measure up so it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy?
Do you have thorough and easily accessible notes on all your regular tasks? That will help you to do things quickly.
Do you put things in your calendar? Set your calendar so you get reminders every morning about things that need to be done.
Put things like any events coming up that you'll need to do things for so you're prepared. Check your tasks for the following few days every day so you're on top on everything.
My experience of receptionist/admin work is that you do indeed need to be efficiency in human form.
What sort of jobs have you enjoyed and been good at before? Could you apply any of the thinking from previous jobs into this one?
I agree with fatmomma. Can you spare a Saturday morning or one day a week to come in early or stay a bit later just while you are learning the role and getting in the swing of things? I've been in administration/reception/HR roles since I was 17 so I know what the time pressure is like and the way you get chucked everything, often all at once. The key for me is lists, a telephone log, a very detailed diary and confidence/calmness. If you are confident you exude efficiency. It's awful when you feel panicked inside, but take deep breathes, don't rush and make mistakes and give yourself a break! You have had a rough few months by the sound of it, and you are new to the position. Is the other lady approachable? Can she help you along and give you some hints? Show you how she deals with things?
Part of the role is having things chucked at you throughout the day unfortunately. I get a lot of "can you just" and "when you have a minute". You need to prioritise your workload (where I find lists are very helpful). Being proactive is also very smiled upon -just getting on and doing things without being asked. I also make sure the reception area is tidy and clean with flowers on the front desk (my idea) at the end of the day. It only takes 10 minutes but my boss loves it. Keep all paperwork filed and tidy so you can easily find things quickly. Everyone takes a while to learn a role and settle in. Good luck
Have you done reception work before? If you have been fine in previous roles then there is a possibility that your superior has created unrealistically high expectations for someone in your role. IMO this happens frequently when somone has been in an admin role for a very long time: they know the systems with their eyes closed, become super-efficient and others pale in comparison. It is easy to forget that they weren't like that when they first started.
If you think the expectations are not unreasonable (given your pay grade & level of experience) then perhaps you need training or at least advice in a couple of specific areas? In which case you first need to identify those areas (hopefully your seniors will help) and then work on them.
Whatever you do, try not to panic or feel like you're hopeless, it won't help! Easier said than done I know. Time in role is key for this sort of work: once you know the place and people well it will get a lot easier.
I have been told that the job should be manageable in my set hours. Plus school isn't open much earlier than my start time or weekends.
Maybe it is a self fulfilling prophecy but how can I overcome that? All anyone says is how efficient she is and all that.
I know my routine tasks but some days things take longer eg when there are a lot of children off that need phone calls but I am trying and am much quicker than when I started. It is like I am making progress but slower than I should be. I have notes - I was told not to make my own but to follow the other lady's as they are step by step and can't really be improved on.
I try really hard not to act stressed out but then got told that I needed more urgency. There must be a middle ground that I am just not getting.
It honestly sounds like a combination of unrealistic expectations and poor management, rather than poor performance.
Who is your direct line manager? The efficient lady, or someone else?
She is directly above me and used to do my job but I report to the business manager who is a step above this lady.
She says that she understands that I have a lot going on but just says that she needs more and she doesn't want to have to extend my probation period again.
It scares me as maybe I would be bad in any school and if she thinks I am not performing it isn't like I will get a good reference for another job. I really want to do well at this.
I have come to feel that a lot of doing well at work is acting - this is not easy when you are terrified.
Look around to see how others are behaving - see if your behaviour fits in with theirs, particularly those senior to you. You want to blend in as much as you can in this situation.
I wonder if you are smiling a lot, partly from being new and wanting to be liked, and partly from fear, and partly because you are a smiley person? I find that other people think that people who smile a lot aren't treating the work urgently enough. Answer the phone seriously, keep a serious face on, it genuinely may help.
Don't let anyone give you a new task to do without being exactly clear about its deadline and its importance, so that you don't drop something urgent for something new but less urgent.
I do think as you get to know the notes, you will get faster - I think having to do everything exactly as a past staff member does it would be awful! Slowly that will improve and you will have your own way of doing things.
Code your to-do list carefully. I use handwritten lists alongside my Outlook diary as I find electronic task lists just aren't flexible enough. I use two codes for each item. AAA for stuff I really have to do today, AA for stuff i should definitely try to do today, A for stuff that is urgent but not so important, B for stuff that is important but not so urgent (so longer-term things for example) and C for stuff it would be nice to get done. I then code again for things that are P for phone, I for internet, E for email, R for reading etc. I also keep a personal todo list running alongside (quite carefully written so that it's not obvious that it's personal stuff - e.g. 'call D re appt 2 weeks' would be to remind myself about making a dentist's appointment). That's not so that I can do personal stuff at work, but it's so that if something personal comes into my head, I can write it down then go straight back to work knowing that it's dealt with and I wont' forget it. That can also be for thoughts that aren't exactly actions
Writing your to do list really can help and that's something you can do out of work if you have to - so that you get in to work and hit the ground running - your aim would be to have your manager or supervisor say 'what about X' and to be able to say 'Oh yes I did that first thing'. That will give you a boost of confidence.
Re your difficult times at home, I really feel for you. There's no way round those distressing emotions and they will affect you - you CAN only do your best.
Right I work in a large primary school So know exactly where your are coming from. You don't need to go in earlier or stay later you need reasonable expectations of your job , take no notice of her notes people work in different ways. if like me you have daily jobs that need doing as well as constantly being interuppted by the phone/visitors then I agree a headset is a godsend as you can carry on typing or writing as you answer the phone. Make a list of your daily tasks and get confident and proficient at those, it sounds like you have to phone for first day response, keep a note each day of how many off sick, how many calls made to actually reach a parent. Just a simple tallying next to each name, sims will print the list of pupils for you.
Who is your manager who is telling you she's better, are they actually saying that or is that your interpretation? school office jobs are fecking hard especially when your doing reception as well. If you need help, ask, if someone throws something at you then ask them to prioritise it, tell them what you've got to do, who for and ask them to discuss which you do first, if it's not one of your usual tasks. In my experience teachers think office staff sit doing nothing waiting for them to give your work, you need to speak up, stop being scared.
You can't learn to preempt them until you've been there a while, schools run in cycles and it takes one full year to get to grips with what's coming next. Be kind to yourself ask for help, they gave you the job, you must have been the best person for the job, ask for training and stop thinking super efficient woman is the best, she's probably been doing it years. If you want to PM me specific things you're struggling with I'm happy to help.
PS your business manager sounds rubbish and uncaring.
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