Advanced search

AIBU to think that I'm just not cut out for work?

(29 Posts)
Rattlemybrain Thu 14-Mar-19 16:19:47

I've come back from yet another interview where I didn't do as well as I wanted. I got flustered under pressure and didn't say everything I should have said. The panel gave me a thorough grilling and I spent the whole of my journey back kicking myself over not saying this that and the other.

I hate my job. I need to leave - but bills must be paid and DP cannot support the both of us.

I don't think I've ever had a "good" job that I have enjoyed. I think it's partly my fault - I am stubborn and get spooked by change, it takes me a while to get used to things, I'm no good at faking things or being nice to people who treat me like shit and pretending that I'm not affected by it.

I get overwhelmed and can't focus towards the end of the day/week and my boss has picked on that and calls me lazy and unprofessional.

I just never feel like I fit in anywhere and I am exhausted thinking about the fact that I have decades of this shit ahead of me but I can't see a way out.

fanfan18 Thu 14-Mar-19 16:22:53

May I ask what kind of work you do? i.e. office or retail or care work?

I wonder if maybe you are just applying for or doing the wrong jobs. I know it isn't everyones pick of jobs out there but it can have a huge impact on your life if you hate your job.

ForOldLandsEye Thu 14-Mar-19 16:24:14

That sounds hard but don't take it personally. flowers Did you rehearse what you were going to say beforehand? Did you do inerview role-play with your dh?

Do you know why you can't focus and what makes you feel overwhelmed or is it dealing with the negativity of others and the stress of your current job?

Can you say what you do enjoy, what your strengths are and what your skills/experience are so that we can help identify what you might be suited too?

Marlena1 Thu 14-Mar-19 16:32:20

Interviews are awful and 99% of people will have a cringe memory/ies of one or more!! I definitely agree with pps about the type of job. I am similar about people being mean etc however maybe go in just thinking that these are not your friends and you only need to be civil/friendly but not best friends or overly helpful. That way you won't get used and then upset. I know easier said than done!

Rattlemybrain Thu 14-Mar-19 16:39:52


Office. I have a physical disability as well so couldn't do retail etc even if I wanted to. So it has to be sedentary type work.


Nothing I prepared for came up! I thought I would be asked competency-based questions but I was not. I haven't practiced questions, it's just the questions that did come up caught me off-guard.

re the focus thing - I'm not sure. I think the noisy open-plan environment definitely doesn't help. I used to come in early and leave early and that helped, but we aren't allowed to do that anymore.

Focussing all day drains me I just don't seem to have the mental stamina to keep going all day. It sounds pathetic. I was the same at school actually, it was only really in college/uni that I flourished when I was allowed to quietly study by myself. But of course I can't quietly work by myself, we're expected to be in our seats every day.

Of my current job I enjoy putting together presentations and reports, I find them interesting. My background is in PA work and audit support.

ForOldLandsEye Thu 14-Mar-19 16:47:03

Ah, right. Then it sounds like you're a sensitive, thoughtful type (I am too) and you'd probably be more suited to a quieter environment.

Have you thought about working in a library? Perhaps even shift work in a library? It'd be very quiet (and think of all the books!) or how about legal work in a small team (so not open plan)?

You could also work as a virtual assistant from home or, as a PA to the MD of a small company so you'd only interact with one or two people but still get to work on presentation prep. and reports and other projects.

It's not easy finding quiet offices to work in, I know.

Babygrey7 Thu 14-Mar-19 16:55:15

You are just not in the right environment, don't beat yourself up, that job was not meant for you.

there are other jobs out there!

Try different kind of companies maybe? With a different culture?

PhoenixBuchanan Thu 14-Mar-19 16:59:23

Everyone hates interviews so it's not just you!

It does sound like perhaps you are in the wrong type of work. I used to work in an office (in publishing) and I never really enjoyed it, I couldn't concentrate all day at a desk based job. I refrained and am so much better and happier in my new career.

Perhaps make a list of the parts of your job you enjoy/your strengths/your interests/what you hope to get out of work, and go from there?

FYI I do think it is a myth that libraries are "quiet" workplaces. They can actually be quite loud and very busy! It really depends what you're doing and what sort of library it is.

Magenta82 Thu 14-Mar-19 17:00:19

I think a lot of the reason people don't do their best in interviews is because they view them as one sided, they see the employer as having the power.

If you can view interviews as a back and forth conversation where you are both seeing if you suit each other you will be more relaxed. You are interviewing them as well.

Stuckforthefourthtime Thu 14-Mar-19 17:05:40

Interviews are so hard! Have you checked if you're eligible for any support for finding jobs? There are some around here that help people with disabilities with job prep - they really helped my friend with severe anxiety.

With PA skills, have you looked at all into virtual PA work? Home based, it won't be a full time salary but can be better paid per hour. Or some smaller companies like the idea of a part time pa, they may also be thrilled to hear if you have extra skills with putting together presentations!

DontCallMeCharlotte Thu 14-Mar-19 17:06:43

I'm no good at faking things or being nice to people who treat me like shit and pretending that I'm not affected by it

Unfortunately, it's part of being grown up and, as much as it's shit to have to fake it, it's what we have to do to get along in the world and the workplace.

Or get a richer husband grin

Chickpea99 Thu 14-Mar-19 17:12:05

What is an office job? Are you in sales, marketing, hr, data, it, merchandising, imports, logistics etc etc? They all are ‘office’ jobs. And they all are massively different.
You need to concentrate on area you like and are good at and get better. I think it is the most hard bit - to actually find what you like in your current role. And when in interviews - don’t just sit and answer questions. Try to be passionate, ask a questions yourself. It is not one way road.

GallicosCats Thu 14-Mar-19 17:16:48

There aren't any jobs in libraries anyway, ForOld. I 'qualified' in librarianship about 20-odd years ago and have never found a professional job.

OP - Interestingly I am also officially disabled (moderate hearing loss) and I do think that this makes it harder, both in terms of the kinds of jobs you are able to do (no call centre work for me; I can just about handle phone calls with equipment and support but couldn't cope with them being my entire job) and, unfortunately, with how likely employers are to choose you. I am cynical enough to believe they gave you a rough ride so that they could have a non-discriminatory reason not to offer you the job. I know that it's no coincidence that nearly all my jobs have been in places with strong diversity policies.

Didiusfalco Thu 14-Mar-19 17:21:13

GallicosCats I thought exactly the same, got an MSc in library/info Science. Haven’t worked in it for years because everyone has been made redundant. Love it when people trot it out as an option confused

ReanimatedSGB Thu 14-Mar-19 17:26:44

Op, are you neurotypical? Have you ever looked into whether you might be on the autism spectrum? If you are, then being aware of it and getting support from appropriate organisations might help you find a job that suits you better - you might need a quiet office or some other accomodations.
Also, do you have skills of the type that could make working from home an option? Translation or copy-editing or research, perhaps?

Blompitude Thu 14-Mar-19 17:37:51

Hi OP, I was in a similar position. Couldn't settle in any job I was in. Would start OK, then get increasingly demoralised, poor time keeping, felt imprisoned, unable to focus, in a state Sunday evenings thinking of having to go through all that again.
Regarding you not able to fake things - I was useless at pretending to be enthusiastic about stuff I didn't give a toss about!
I now work from home in publishing, doing a job I like and which suits my character (I suspect I'm somewhere on the spectrum but haven't been diagnosed).
Hope you find something that suits you better, perhaps virtually as people have been suggesting, it sounds as if you already have the skills and background.

Bertieboyandjojo Thu 14-Mar-19 17:41:45

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MutantDisco Thu 14-Mar-19 17:45:21

I would echo SGB's comments.

Lots of what you describe strikes me as autism/ADHD spectrum. Women present differently to men and it often doesn't get picked up.

Might a diagnosis help work to make reasonable adjustments?

BinaryStar Thu 14-Mar-19 17:55:29

I'm no good at faking things or being nice to people who treat me like shit and pretending that I'm not affected by it

Unfortunately, it's part of being grown up and, as much as it's shit to have to fake it, it's what we have to do to get along in the world and the workplace.

^ this if you are going to be working with/for other people. Your posts do give the suggestion of your possibly not being NT which may make it much more challenging if you are NT I’m afraid you may have to learn to play the game and bite your lip like the rest of us.

Minta85 Thu 14-Mar-19 18:14:58

HI OP, I work in a big open plan office and the noise levels can be distracting. We’re allowed to wear headphones to listen to music, which does help to block things out. Would that be an option for you?

Something I find helpful for retaining mental stamina is pacing and varying the kinds of tasks I do throughout the day. I’m most alert 8-10.30am, so will do the work that requires most energy and concentration then. Then I switch to lighter, quicker tasks. I also try to avoid checking email constantly, as I can’t multi-task, and have turned off the distracting email notification pop up. Maybe this strategy might help you?

WonkoTheSane42 Thu 14-Mar-19 18:24:12

What the hell are you talking about @Bertieboyandjojo?

Rattlemybrain Thu 14-Mar-19 20:11:08


Wow that's exactly how I feel.


My younger brother by 10 years is ASD and at school my teacher thought I was on the spectrum but I've not really had anything since then. I just find life very difficult. When I try to play by the rules as it were I'm accused of being disengaged, having an attitude etc. I just feel like I can't win - I go along with things, it's a problem. I challenge things, it's a problem.


I'm scared to seek a diagnosis of autism, if it is that, on account of my existing disability. I feel like having a shopping list of issues and special adjustments will just make it even harder to find a job?


I hadn't thought of that, although it is entirely possible sad on paper I have experience in all but one of the things listed. At one point one of the panel snapped at me for saying "we" did things instead of specifying what I did. The more I think about the interview the more upset I feel.

Lovestonap Thu 14-Mar-19 20:32:37

Put the interview from your mind. If it wasn't right for you it wasn't right for you.
What sort of work would you LIKE to do - say we had a magic wand and could grant you your perfect job?

BinaryStar Thu 14-Mar-19 20:39:45

OP just to flag that it is very Standard in an interview to want to focus on what you did rather than the “we”. I’ve pulled people up on it numerous times because I am hiring the him/her not the “we”.

Sometimes this is nothing more than phrasing it differently. For example rather than saying
“We delivered the ten reports by the deadline” it is instead
“I coordinated the list of reports needed, ensured each one had an appropriate owner and worked with each of them to make sure they were all clear on the content and timelines. I also authored one of the papers myself. I kept the timelines under review, chased up any slipping deadlines and so was able to ensure that all reports were completed on time. “

Laterthanyouthink Thu 14-Mar-19 20:44:59

Have a look at the STAR technique, lots of interviewers expect this now and it does focus on what you did in a specific situation.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »