... to get the work-related fear?

(26 Posts)
scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 10:06:59

I quite like my job but every day I get 'the fear.'

I feel like I can't do it, I'm failing at it, it's too hard. Also, I feel as though I'm surrounded by people who are 100% more competent and successful than I am. I am at my worst on Monday morning when I wish the most that I could just chuck it all in. That is not an option financially and also because I do realise that giving it up would make me feel worse.

I work in a very competitive environment which I know makes this worse, but I hate feeling like this. I wish I could feel OK about being ... just OK.

Does anyone else feel like this? How do you deal with it if so?

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Mon 31-Oct-16 10:12:00

I know what you mean. I worked in a high-pressure job where my contemporaries were all graduates whereas I had worked up from a lowly admin position.

I used to feel sick travelling in to work especially on a Monday morning but I have to say that once I was in the swing of the day it all disappeared.

I don't know the answer but you are not alone!

PS I did leave that job and now work for myself, I still get it sometimes especially when I'm about to bid for a contract so I think I'll just have to live with it.

igivein Mon 31-Oct-16 10:19:17

I'm with you on this - feel like a complete fraud, I'm not good enough and it's only a matter of time until I get found out.
Been in the job over 10 years though, so must be really good at bluffing!

scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 10:20:02

Hello Rebecca, glad to know I'm not alone. I have had this pretty much all my life so guess I should accept it as part of me too! And it does get better when I am actually working.

PhantomPringles Mon 31-Oct-16 10:20:59

Me too. It's called imposter syndrome and it's really common in women. I always feel like I'm biding time before I'm found out, even though I am a senior manager with lots of experience.

vulgarbunting Mon 31-Oct-16 10:22:43

Totally with you on this. Just back in after a holiday, have found out a couple of things went wrong while I was away. My boss isn't in so I have no idea of the scale of it and I am freaking out.

So today is particularly bad, but I feel like you do on a daily basis.

ThinkOfTheMice Mon 31-Oct-16 10:25:52

Yup. Even though I know objectively I'm smarter than my boss, nicer than my boss and waaaaay more qualified than my boss.
I live in fear of being fired. It's awful - work is such a huge source of stress.
How have others dealt successfully with this?

sortthetacheoutbernard Mon 31-Oct-16 10:31:11

Apparently lots of women and some men feel like this.
I know I do. It's got better since I realised that lots of my colleagues must feel the same.
I've noticed that it's the best people who feel like this. One guy who I really respect and look up to recently admitted he felt this way. I'd say he's the colleague I most try to emulate and I was amazed.

scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 10:31:11

Oh, lovely to hear from others, though sorry that you're suffering too. The thing is, I recognise imposter syndrome as a syndrome, but of course, I feel like I am the one who genuinely IS the imposter. Although I think that is too part of imposter syndrome!

ThinkOfTheMice Mon 31-Oct-16 10:36:57

Depends on your situation too ... my old boss was great but my new one obviously dislikes me and has shattered my confidence- I genuinely think she's trying to manage me out

scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 10:38:43

That sounds really awful mice. I can't complain about anything like that. Just a general feeling that I should be much more successful than I am.

vulgarbunting Mon 31-Oct-16 10:45:55

Threads like these really help me, especially today when I am extra panicky!

My dad says things to me like 'oh of course your next move will be director'. And I sit there thinking that he has no clue that I freak out at my current level and have no confidence that I will ever be any more senior than I am, plus everyone else is better than me.

thetemptationofchocolate Mon 31-Oct-16 11:00:48

I get this a lot. It's at its worst if I wake in the small hours of the night. I lie in bed thinking about work and feeling very afraid.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has got any coping strategies for this - it's driving me mad.

scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 11:04:33

It drives me mad too because I think I would enjoy life much more and even be a slightly better mother and wife (less distracted, more 'present') if I could handle it better. My job is objectively not that stressful. I make it much worse by punishing myself all the time for poor performance or lack of progression. I used to think that by my age I'd be over it. But I'm not and that makes me think I may have another 20 years of this to go. So any coping strategies gratefully received.

WombOfOnesOwn Mon 31-Oct-16 11:17:10

Awake very very early in the US, too nervous to sleep from exactly the things you mention here.

Seeing all of you here talking about the same thing makes me feel much better. It's likely that it's my head, not the actual job. Breathe. The realization that there are a dozen women feeling this way in a day on one message board somehow makes it easier. I think I'm going to bed. Thanks.

Mindtrope Mon 31-Oct-16 11:22:55

I have had jobs like this in the past- not good for your mental health.

scrambledeggsagain Mon 31-Oct-16 11:53:27

Don't believe anything that you think in the middle of the night. I have got better at controlling that one thank goodness. Good luck Womb, hope you feel better in the morning.

rollonthesummer Mon 31-Oct-16 11:57:31

I get this a lot. It's at its worst if I wake in the small hours of the night. I lie in bed thinking about work and feeling very afraid.

This x 1000.

I thought it was just me. I go from being sound asleep to sitting bolt upright awake with a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach in a split second. I wake up panicking/thinking about something I haven't yet done or a meeting that's up and coming.

It's a horrible feeling.

I've just taken over a new role and it's all to do with that I expect. I'm hoping it'll get easier with time.

Nightofthetentacle Mon 31-Oct-16 12:38:11

You are not alone!

I had/have this. "Fake it til you make it" is a reasonable mantra to get you through, I would also recommend the classic read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. And I'd also say that most of my colleagues (finance industry) live in mild terror of being found out. It does get better with time. I now run my own company and still brick it from time to time- I take it as a good sign that my nervous system is up and running for the task ahead. Although it can fuck right off at 4am

Actually, a massively high profile and rather cocky CEO of a FTSE 100 of my acquaintance said he gets nervous before every single meeting he goes to. So you are definitely not alone!

Do you have good managers? I found getting feedback on how I was doing was really reassuring even when I had areas to improve, because it turned my internal, slightly catastrophised view ("I might be useless and probably can't do this") to a manageable one ("my manager is broadly happy with what I am doing, and I should engage more with team X").

Nurszilla Mon 31-Oct-16 12:41:08

I get this, even though I've studied for this job for years... More qualifications than a lot of my colleagues I always feel like I'm one step away from everyone finding out I'm a fraud and actually have no idea wtf I'm doing.

AnyFucker Mon 31-Oct-16 12:48:43

Yep, massive imposter syndrome here

I have chronic insomnia because of it.

During the day at work I am on top of my profession and on top of my game

Come 2am, I am wide awake....replaying consultations, conversations and scenarios in my head. I often don't sleep again until it's time to get up.

Many sympathies

absolutelynotfabulous Mon 31-Oct-16 12:49:51

Oh yesss!! So glad I'm not the only one. Thankfully only pt at the moment and I'm dreading getting a new job for this very reason.

Yes to the feelings of panic and sickness. Yes to counting down the minutes till Friday. Yes to never going on holiday in case something goes wrong, I'm responsible and found out. sad.

Yet I'm competent, well-qualified, conscientious and experienced. I feel like a numpty, though, at work.

Cobwebbyusername Mon 31-Oct-16 13:10:24

Yep, another one here. It's a terrible feeling. I'm not working at the moment, but I feel an awful dread about when I do have to go back.

It's funny though, because a woman I used to manage once said to me "but you're not scared of anything". And I laughed the biggest laugh ever, as I was petrified constantly that something was going to go wrong or that I was going to mess up etc etc, But that kind of showed me that I must be good at hiding the fear, which I suppose is something!

HazelBite Mon 31-Oct-16 13:20:11

I started my current role in 2005, (felt I had got the job by talking my way into it) always felt someone would find me out.
I am on the verge of retiring and mentioned last week to a few people that I wouldn't be coming back after Xmas.
The reaction was "What a shame, you are one of the few people who really know what they are doing, you're so efficient, and very approachable"
I was so surprised, perhaps we are all so convinced we are no good we try harder?

Wineloffa Mon 31-Oct-16 13:31:49

I feel this way too! I lose sleep over work and constantly replay scenarios and conversations in my head. Despite being very good at my job, I'm so hard on myself and blow the tiniest error out of all proportion. It's very distracting and sometimes my mind can be a million miles away when the kids want my attention. Has anyone overcome this? I'd love to hear how you did it.

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