Hiding a total meltdown

(34 Posts)
OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 12:15:52

Looking for some rational and helpful guidance. To be honest, I’m desperate and really need help.
I’m at work and realise I have no clue what I am doing. I don’t think I have the skills or knowledge I need and I’m on the tip of being found out.
I’ve recently started in a new job, I haven’t misled on the skills I have or made anything up. I was appointed and have discovered quite quickly what they think I have experience and knowledge wise and what I actually have are worlds apart.
I’m desperately struggling. I am really worried I’m going to lose my job. I’ve approached them about training but they don’t respond. The most I’ve been told is that I should shadow and watch others (but no formal structure here). I’ve also been told as a senior role I should just be ‘getting it’.
I can’t lost my job, I’m the main earner and our lives would fall apart. I feel so much pressure, like I’m going to vomit most of the time. I have tried to talk about it with my boss but they are getting fed up with me. Others in the team seem to be more stand offish too. My DH is fed up hearing about it.
I had a terrible experience in my previous role and my confidence was destroyed. I work extremely hard, for very long hours but I just don’t seem to have the right knowledge. I feel lost and totally alone, I’m too scared to say again that I’m not sure I know what I’m doing for fear of being highlighted as a bad hire.
I do love the job and want to be good at it, it is a dream role. However I’m struggling to see a strategy here or my next steps. Any advice or guidance welcomed.

OP’s posts: |
Expatworkingmum Tue 30-Oct-18 12:31:55

How long have you been doing the job? I’m going through similar but keep being reminded to give myself a break as I’m relatively new.

Mosaic123 Tue 30-Oct-18 12:34:55

You need to ask for a meeting with your boss. Be (fairly) honest and ask about some training, maybe in your own time?

BestZebbie Tue 30-Oct-18 12:37:37

Who are you expected to shadow? Could you approach them and directly ask them to explain how they do things?

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 12:42:28

Thank you. I have been told to shadow the most senior member of the team, but no structure or plan. I am assuming that I will organise this myself.
I’ve been in role for about 5 months.
I have asked about training a few times, it falls on flat ears mostly. I have been trying to do MOOCS and learn as much in my own time.
The items I’m working on are massively strategic and high impact. It seems that my messing up is a case of when not if.
Saying I don’t know what I’m doing could be the end of me in this team. I have explained that I am not an expert in my area and this wasn’t taken so well.

OP’s posts: |
Isleepinahedgefund Tue 30-Oct-18 15:53:58

In those five months, apart from asking them to train you etc, what have you done to get the skills/knowledge you need to complete the task? Are you being proactive?

The way you describe things sounds like you're being a bit passive and helpless, which is understandable if you feel like you can't do your job. But this attitude is probably what will be the end of you.

Can you see your way to making a development for yourself? You've been offered the shadowing - how about you identify what you need to know/learn and then sit down with them to make an arrangement?

swingofthings Tue 30-Oct-18 16:42:25

When you say your boss is fed up with you, fed up with what? Does he rocognise there is a problem and is unhappy with your work or is he fed up because he isn't concerned?

If you feel that bad, you do need to come clean with him. Highlights what it is you feel OK about and do well and it is that you don't, why you think you are not and what you believe would help you specifically. If you can't take control of the tasks that have been assigned to you, take control of the issue and come up with a strategy to help you get there you can get your boss to sign up to and support you through.

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 17:21:14

Thank you. I am keen to pick up on the passive issue as I have reflected on this. To date I have identified areas I’d like to develop, made suggestions on how this could be done and also submitted a structure for a potential team as we grow. None of this has received much comment, in fact I’ve heard nothing back on some items.
However the team and manager etc as very friendly and it is a good environment from that perspective.
I kind of get stuck, worrying that if I say I don’t know so much and at my level I’m really shooting myself in the foot. I have the drive and enthusiasm but just really doubt whether my foundation of knowledge is enough. I have no doubt I have the ability to learn and I have researched, completed online training but find out that the training I’m doing is outdated and then it is back to square 1.

OP’s posts: |
Bluntness100 Tue 30-Oct-18 17:27:06

So why is your boss fed up? Because you can't do it or keep telling him or her uou cant?

And what have you done re the shadowing, have, uou sorted put a schedule?

pitterpatterrain Tue 30-Oct-18 17:32:33

How are you assigned work / plan what you are working on?

Is this aligned with your boss- do you know how your work fits into whatever is being achieved overall for this week / month / quarter / year?

Who gives you feedback and how often?

Knowledge is sometimes overrated - as you can push many things on without being the leading expert - as long as you know who is and get their input at the right time -

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 17:46:02

Some interesting points to pick up on, thank you. Regarding how work is assigned, I’m still waiting on a JD and have asked for this. I am also trying to drive some of the direction of what tasks need to be done, but seem to miss the mark. Or as soon as I think I’m clear the task list I’ve created is correct it has to be revised as doesn’t quite meet what she wants.
I don’t receive much feedback, we are very output orientated . However I am clear on the overall things we need to achieve and how this fits into the next 3 months.
Interesting comment about knowledge, I need to get into that kind of mindset more I think. I worry about what I don’t know too much rather than focusing on what do know.
Sad to admit this but a bit scared to ask about a shadowing plan as feel this may make me look like I am not operating at the level I should be.

OP’s posts: |
Bluntness100 Tue 30-Oct-18 17:49:16

Just say to them you wish to enhance your knowledge to helpmyih develop the strategy, come up with team direction or something, and then do it.

The person will be flattered. You don't need to say it's because you don't know what you're doing.

But saying you need help then refusing to do what they suggest is not a positive.

Do you have a probation period?

Isleepinahedgefund Tue 30-Oct-18 17:56:19

Re the passive element: The key for me is that it sounds like there is a lack of "doing" on your part, more of a sense of things "happening" to you. That can make you feel very vulnerable and powerless.

This is a common thing I come across while I'm coaching at work - a lack of action. You'll never get where you want to be if you don't DO something - anything, something small is a step in the right direction.

Managers are usually very receptive (and relieved!) when you bring a solution to the problem rather than expecting them to come up with something.

You could make your plan as to what you need to do and how you're going to do it, and approach your manager to ask them to help you prioritise, get them on board.

HundredMilesAnHour Tue 30-Oct-18 18:02:51

You do sound a bit passive OP. You've been there 5 months already and you're still saying that you "assume" you'll have to organise the shadowing yourself? Why haven't you done this? Why didn't you do it within your first few weeks?

Is this job a big step up for you? It sounds like it might be? Or is it just that you're used to being 'looked after' more rather than having to drive things forward yourself? I'm not trying to sound harsh but it sounds like you're floundering and expecting someone to rescue you rather than cracking on with things yourself.

Is this the right company for you? I write that a someone who used to work in senior role in a company where you really had to drive success through yourself. The opportunities were there for the taking but no-one was going to spoon feed you and you made your own luck. It was quite entrepreneurial which suited some of us very well but some (quite talented and bright) people really struggled as they were used to more guidance and more structure. Horses for courses and all that. Is this the right environment for you or are you a square peg trying to fit into a round hole? Hope this provides a little food for thought.

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 18:09:03

So by plan, do you mean where I want to to be in 6 months, one year, two etc etc?
I’ve moved from a very different organisation where it was much more dictated to you so I’m keen to take control and develop but accept I need to work on my strategy and approach. I do have a fear of asking, which is stupid and silly but I’m working on it.
Probation is up but as no JD etc no formal recognition made.

OP’s posts: |
RedCoffins Tue 30-Oct-18 18:21:35

What was the job description? Did you read it properly?

Can you compare the job description given and the workload you currently do during a one to one with your manager? Have you had a review/probation review yet? If so, were any concerns raised?

I would also keep an email trail where you are asking for training and the responses, if they do try and dismiss you, at least you have a back up to say you asked for help and was ignored.

If you want to learn and do a good job for your own sake, look into training courses in your own time. Are you part of a professional body? Can you seek help on their website/from others in the industry?

It's an awful situation to be in, but please talk to HR if your line manager won't listen.

RedCoffins Tue 30-Oct-18 18:25:31

If you never received a job description, what was the role advertised as? Did it include job duties?

So you've had a probation, were any concerns raised?

Some companies are actually just rubbish with processes and expect people to just "crack on" and deal with the fall out after, rather than being proactive and minimising risks of the role when they can see an employee is struggling.

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 18:42:04

So by plan, do you mean where I want to to be in 6 months, one year, two etc etc?
I’ve moved from a very different organisation where it was much more dictated to you so I’m keen to take control and develop but accept I need to work on my strategy and approach. I do have a fear of asking, which is stupid and silly but I’m working on it.
Probation is up but as no JD etc no formal recognition made.

OP’s posts: |
pitterpatterrain Tue 30-Oct-18 18:45:19

Fear of asking questions is not stupid or silly

However it’s better to ask for reactions to something, rather than an open ended question - "this is my plan for X,
any comments" or "i need input on Y is Z the right person"

Also you might want to triage the questions- is there anyone who joined 3-6 months before you did who can answer the smaller questions about day to say things like printers or expenses or whatever that crop up?

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 19:37:42

I’ve worked at the company before so I am still aware of all the standard processes, they are all fine. Because of my previous work early on when I worked at company I was slotted in following a head hunt. So no advert and no JD, was told JD available by end of year. Do have a title though.
I’ve raised areas for development that I have assessed and am clear I want to develop to offer the best I can. I am relatively relaxed about the JD as I trust them and believe they will follow this through, bit of an issue If they don’t I suppose but a JD isn’t actually a legal requirement, just a work contract so I can insist.
I will try that approach about asking for reactions, I have tried it a little but the reactions have not been great. A lot about being in a senior position and maybe not looking for reassurance etc. It’s not that I’m looking for that, just confirmation my thinking and direction are aligned as the direction does seem to drift and she will get frustrated if I don’t deliver as she expects. Hard as she’s not the greatest at explaining things and can change her mind- though she is lovely and we get on.

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QuickPollPlease Tue 30-Oct-18 20:45:06

No JD after 5 months is ridiculous. How can you know what you should be doing?

I would be chasing that up as a matter of urgency.

Then you might worry less about what you know.

OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 20:49:45

You are right. I did try to get somewhere with confirming a JD a couple of months ago but was made to feel uncomfortable for asking- was turned into me not trusting them and not being flexible enough to wait etc. I am a little concerned that I don’t want to go into the new year without clarity on this. Also, others in the team are beginning to do tasks I thought would be mine and other team members are clear on what I do. So whilst a great group of people I feel a bit of an outsider without much right to reply when it comes to what I am doing, other than the interpretation of my title.

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OutofDepth1000 Tue 30-Oct-18 20:58:01

That should read other team members are not clear on what I do

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itshappened Tue 30-Oct-18 21:07:59

Can you write your own JD, with an outline of your proposed KPI's? I think you need to take control of this situation and you need to be persistent when asking for feedback. Also have you spoken to HR about this? How can you know what success looks like in the job, if nothing has been discussed?

Also are you having 121's with your manager? You should request them weekly if not. You need to be proactive... tell them what you are doing, write it up in a weekly report, and include your needs for the business and for yourself to enable you to meet your targets.

Bigpizzalover Tue 30-Oct-18 21:20:24

Be proactive - if you’re not getting a JD when you ask your manager, go direct to HR.

How can you shadow the right staff and the correct duties been performed if you do not know anything about what your role involves except the job title?

Your role, and the objectives for you to meet should have been discussed at the interview/signing contract etc if there was no advert.

Tomorrow morning you need to be brave and send an invite request on your calendar for your boss to have an urgent review.
1. What your role is,
2. Xxx is your expertise, xxxx is your weak point and you want xxxx putting in place to improve your knowledge/skill etc.
3. If you’re in a management role schedule a team meeting, as for feedback, what worked well/didn’t work well with previous team manager. What do they expect from you. What you expect from them (this is where you can slide in you will be shadowing various people to improve knowledge coming into a different knowledge area) - you can then use the feedback to set your next goals.

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