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To wish I could walk away from my career to avoid exposing what a fuck wit I am?

(90 Posts)
Chocwocdoodah Sun 05-Feb-17 23:18:53

I'm freelance. Posted before in work section about my lack of self confidence as I know I'm crap at my job. Lots of lovely MNers replied to say it was just imposter syndrome and that I wouldn't keep getting renewed contracts if I was that bad. Which was comforting and sweet....but I'm pretty convinced it's not true and I AM actually that person at work who is just shit.

Got an email on Fri from boss (who was WFH) to me and my manager, also WFH. Basically a mistake has been made by me, but it was a mistake approved by my manager so we're both in the wrong (although I'm not looking to shift blame). This mistake potentially ruins a project and means something my boss has been working on for a few weeks is pointless. I replied, after consulting with my manager by email, explaining what went wrong and how we thought it could still all be ok (er not sure that's true). Boss has not replied and I am dreading facing him in person tomorrow. Especially if my manager's not there to back me up. Felt sick all wknd. Despite all my experience, I don't know the best way to remedy things. Plus there are a couple of other situations at work that I really don't know how to handle. And I should. It's what I was hired for.

I'm just no good at what I do. I've just been lucky. I seriously need to find another career but nothing is going to be as well paid and flexible as this. Either that or be a SAHM (would love that! ). Come to think of it, I've always been a bit clueless and scatty in any job I've had. I just want to run away.

Not sure what I'm asking you for here. Think I'm hoping that by venting my fears, the work gods will shine down on me and all will be ok....

PS sorry to be a bit cryptic about my work...don't want to be too outing.

Derlei Sun 05-Feb-17 23:24:14

Do you feel like you get the relevant training from your company to allow you to compete the job to the best of your ability? Maybe you should have an honest discussion with your boss about how you feel and ask if you can be mentored? Knowing that you have someone to turn to for advice or help may help your confidence.

I would definitely address it though; I used to work with a girl who wasn't great at her job and made mistakes all the time. She would own up to them and feel awful, she was lovely, but it did create a bit of cattiness from certain members of the team who were starting to get a little frustrated that they would often have to pick up the pieces

Ohdearducks Sun 05-Feb-17 23:27:19

I'm the same as you, feel totally out of my depth despite being highly qualified in my field. I think low confidence somehow blocks knowledge and skill.
I've made mistakes at work too, in the past it's eaten me up like it's doing to you now. The way I cope is to own it, accept that yes it's my fault and I just apologise and try my best to put it right, I've had a few cross words from superiors at times but my immediate manager said to be a few weeks ago that she has a lot of respect for me because I never try to wriggle out of my mistakes like others do, she knows she can rely on me because I'm so honest and will always take responsibility.
Go in tomorrow with a plan to rectify things as best you can, own the error and apologise and show you've been working on a solution.
Good luck!

Chocwocdoodah Sun 05-Feb-17 23:37:03

Thank you both. I don't get training because I'm a consultant. And the mistake I've made and the things I struggle with are fundamentals of my job that I should just know. I think I've floated through my career and somehow not had much experience of a couple of elements of my role that really should be second nature. I am willing to take responsibility but I don't really know how to explain how I made such a stupid error in the first place. And like I say there are a couple of other projects coming up that I just don't know how to tackle.

Bloody hell, I just wish I could be good at something. I'm educated, I've always been well liked wherever I've worked - I just never seem to be able to 'master' anything. Whether my Saturday jobs at school, or my current career, I've never found myself in a situation where I've thought "Yes, I absolutely know what to do here". It's quite soul-destroying.

tiredofhavingtothinkofnewnames Sun 05-Feb-17 23:40:12

I'm freelance.

On what basis- employee or contractor? If contractor I assume the you have good professional laibility insurance? If is use it.

tiredofhavingtothinkofnewnames Sun 05-Feb-17 23:41:32

Ok - so you are a consultant.

You don't have a boss- you have a client.

Do you want to terminate the contract?

Ohdearducks Sun 05-Feb-17 23:42:11

I can't believe how much you sound like me! I'm exactly the same, I've never found that 'thing' I'm good at.
I'm sure I'm in a self perpetuating cycle of never feeling good enough leading to never being good enough, I guess if you tell yourself enough that you're rubbish at something you'll end up being rubbish at it!

OnceIWas7YearsOld Mon 06-Feb-17 00:13:51

My people are here.

Seren85 Mon 06-Feb-17 00:27:38

I have felt like this many times in my (fairly short thus far) career. It is horrible and eats away at you. I have slowly come to realise that the line "everyone makes mistakes" is absolutely true but not everyone reacts the same way. Other people seem able to acknowledge it and move on without feeling like a mistake means they are incompetent and are going to be sacked and leading to them not sleeping etc. I couldn't and have had to work hard to get to a point where I don't automatically react that way. I still make mistakes occasionally and still have situations where I absolutely don't know what to do. Everyone does, at every level and with all the experience in the world it will still happen.

You made a mistake. As did your manager so it was clearly something that can happen and indeed did. It doesn't mean you are rubbish at your job. It means you are human. It happens. You've acknowledged it, tried to fix it, can't do anything else. It is a learning point for next time and I highly doubt it'll happen again because you will be aware of the possibility and know how to avoid it.

Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername Mon 06-Feb-17 00:31:13

Also found my people ! OP you're not alone !!!

FriendofBill Mon 06-Feb-17 00:35:58

It's a mistake.
Mistakes happen.
Nobody died.
Go in, take the bull by the horns as it were, find the boss, listen to what he has to say.

The fear is worse sometimes that the facing.

When I have to do something like this (voice of experience) I call it eating a frog.
I might have learned that on MN.

Go in tomorrow, eat the frog.
Tomorrow eve, it will be over.

oh yes, if poss, put some kind of plan together to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Go to the boss with this solution.


MontysTiredMummy Mon 06-Feb-17 00:36:53

Another one here OP. I suck at my job (despite doing it for years and years) and live in constant fear of being exposed. Sometimes it seems I fuck up daily and I constantly compare myself unfavorably to others.


MrsMcMoo Mon 06-Feb-17 01:17:18

You DO have imposter syndrome though! If you were that crap, as a contractor, they'd have sacked you ages ago. You're clearly not. You just fuck up sometimes like everyone does. Chin up, you're better than you think.

Destinysdaughter Mon 06-Feb-17 01:23:36

Hey at least you didn't invent a terrorist attack on national television and get ridiculed around the world for it...grin


Now that's what I call a mistake!

Chocwocdoodah Mon 06-Feb-17 08:13:55

You're such a nice bunch, thank you.

I do need to eat the frog. And I'm willing to take blame. But am I willing to carry on in a career where I don't feel competent? I don't know. I'm not sure what other career I would feel competent in - I'm wondering if general incompetence is just a personality trait of mine!

You know how you get people who've been in their jobs for years and could do it standing on their heads, know it inside out etc? I feel like I could do a job for 50 years and still never get to that point - it's like I just have an inability to absorb and retain information and then apply it.

wishiwasacollie Mon 06-Feb-17 08:20:35

This could be me. I feel the same as you all the time . Watching here to see if anyone has a magic wand to make the constant fear go away. All i see are people doing the same job as me but able to smile and relax. For me every email or peice of work is a ticking bomb ie just waiting for someone to spot its wrong and i have messed up.
Sorry am not helping but i search these boards for topics like this to know i am not alone

Chocwocdoodah Mon 06-Feb-17 08:22:32

Yes, yes to the ticking timebomb thing! !!

Am on way to work. Manager has called in sick. Which leaves me to face boss alone. Could cry.

wishiwasacollie Mon 06-Feb-17 08:25:35

Hope it goes well. Virtual hand hold from me

Capricorn76 Mon 06-Feb-17 08:27:26

Well why don't you stop being a consultant or contractor, get a perm job at a lower level and request training and once you are competent you can go back to consultantcy work?

TBH my sympathy is limited. Consultants get paid a fuck ton of cash compared to permies. You are expected to walk through the door knowing your shit that's why you get paid the big bucks. It is unfair for a permie to work alongside someone getting paid 4 times more than them who can't do the job properly. I know because I've been that permie working alongside a consultant who played the part i.e dressed well, spoke well in consultant language etc but couldn't deliver but we're allowed to coast because it was almost emporers clothes in that they must be good because they cost so much. Meanwhile permies are supposed to shuck and jive for every pay rise or bonus.

MimiSunshine Mon 06-Feb-17 08:31:06

Just explain factually what happened I.e. I did A which lead to me believing we needed to do B so I spoke to Manager and we agreed to C was the result.

You're not shifting blame but you're also not overly beating yourself up.

When asked how you'll fix it, just he straight up honest and say you believe only redoing the work which you fully appreciate will have a negative impact on your bosses work is the solution but you aim to have this done in half the time. Otherwise you're willing to take any and all advice from the boss.

That way you show you understand the problem, haveca solution but also are requesting support

wishiwasacollie Mon 06-Feb-17 08:35:38

I think that OP knows what needs to be done and will do tbat but I think there is a wider point ie the Imposter fear which is very hard to overcome and i think thats the main issue. So many of us suffer from it. Its no way to live in constant fear.

Greyponcho Mon 06-Feb-17 08:39:13

At least you've recognised your mistake and are trying to make it right/take responsibility- that's a big thing.
In the multi million contract I'm working on, the same people make these mistakes costing hundreds of thousands. They repeat these mistakes and carry on doing so with no admittance of it nor remorse. Redundancies are happening as the mistakes have cost so much the losses can't be covered any other way.
None of them get any respect.
Those who make a mistake, admit to it and try their hardest to rectify them do get respect as they have integrity.
Mistakes happen, you're only human.
But if you genuinely feel like you aren't sure of what you're doing (read the person requirements for jobs like yours advertised online - do you meet the specification?), then best to re-evaluate what does suit you or invest in some training to up your knowledge base, which as freelance you should be doing yourself anyway.
Re-write your CV but also pull out all of the transferable skills that can be applied to other jobs and look for something based on these.

FoxyRoxy Mon 06-Feb-17 08:44:45

I don't think you're incompetent or you wouldn't have work, you really wouldn't. You have a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities to do your job, and this in turn probably makes you second guess yourself and you may make more mistakes than you need to. Everyone makes mistakes, it's part of being human. Some people are just better at dealing with the mistake and fixing it than others. Perhaps some sort of counselling may help you? I don't think this is something that will go away even if you change career because it's about how you perceive yourself, not about your ability to actually do your job.

Good luck today flowers

IrenetheQuaint Mon 06-Feb-17 08:45:22

Sympathy, making mistakes at work is horrid.

Do you know why the mistake happened? Did you forget something? Did you not know something? Did you not think something through? Can you put together a checklist for early-stage projects to stop this sort of thing happening again?

Littlemissamy Mon 06-Feb-17 08:46:09

Oh OP, I've got no words of advice but just wishing you luck today flowers

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