I was an arsehole. Now what?

(20 Posts)
ImJustCoddlingAnEgg Mon 19-Aug-19 22:40:30

NC.

I've just had a couple of years out of the workplace, by choice, for family and other reasons. Basically I've done a huge amount of soul searching as to what I want out of life and work particularly, and why it was that I never attained the progression I wanted to in the various sectors I've worked in, despite always making strong starts.

I've come to the conclusion that I was an arsehole to work with, due to anxiety and fear of failure, jealousy, lack of direction, fear of going for the things I really wanted, wanting to be a big fish, etc etc. I never bullied anyone, but I can totally see how I'd have been a pain in the arse to manage and to have as a supervisor. I was bullied a bit at work but reacted badly to the fallout and lost all sympathy, which I can understand.

In essence I have now realised the error of my ways, to an extent. My issue now that I'm going back into the workplace soon (got voluntary work coming up in a couple of months to ease me back in), and I am terrified of falling back into old ways. I am 40, I cannot reinvent myself again; this is it now. I have to make it work, in work.

I am fine outside work, have lovely friends etc, but something about the pressure and competitiveness of the workplace flips a switch for my anxiety and I turn into a dickhead.

Any advice??

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Mon 19-Aug-19 22:43:30

I am 40, I cannot reinvent myself again; this is it now. I have to make it work, in work.

Do you see the irony? What you're describing in your experience, points to a lack of flexibility and open mindedness and there you are again...laying out rules and saying things are rigid.

Being 40 means nothing. People reinvent themselves at 60 OP.

Stop thinking in a do or die type of way. Relax.

Perhaps you could take up yoga? It would probably benefit you.

KatherineJaneway Tue 20-Aug-19 06:29:39

I am 40, I cannot reinvent myself again

Yes you can and you need to. Not only for yourself but for those you work with.

First rule is always be polite and professional to those you work with, whether or not you like them. Secondly, learn coping mechanisms for the things that trigger your negative behaviours. You seem to have identified the things that upset you, you now have to find ways to cope when upset at work, thwarted in your ambitions etc.

Good luck.

Flerkin Tue 20-Aug-19 07:28:22

I agree with pps by saying 'I am 40, i cant reinvent myself', you are putting limits on you changing.

I wasnt and arsehole but had to reinvent myself at 34. I was starting a new job and was fed up. Every place I have worked in, I have allowed people to speak to me like crap, ended up getting upset at home feeling shit all the time. The eventually it gets too much I end up getting angry, losing my shit and crying at work.

What I did was simple. If someone was making me uncomfortable, I told them and said we could resume the converstation later. Taking some time to collect myself, calm myself and decide what I want to say then going back in helped.

Eventually, I didnt need to leave, but I would take a drink of water and sit quietly while forming what I wanted to say. I stopped letting people rush me (they do that to throw you off kilter) and took my time.

This could be in meetings with directors, with staff who worked for me, discisplinaries, general meeting etc. Didnt matter who it was, if people were pushing my buttons or trying to push me before I had chance to think about things, I took a moment.

I also stopped me answering when I was getting angry. I worked in a high stress environment and some people hope to emotionally upset you and trip you up. It takes a degree of control. No one has seen me angry, upset or anything. I am considered very laid back.

Helped my career no end and in 4 years, I haven't cried about work once.

I am now 38 and moving into a very senior role I was head hunted for.

The point is, I needed to change. I sat down and wrote a list of what I wanted to change and came up with coping mechanisms but it's hard to get in the habits first.

Basically, as soon as I could feel a negative emotion building up, I refused to let it make my decisions for me and make me react.

Very hard at first second nature now.

HennyPennyHorror Tue 20-Aug-19 11:30:09

I emigrated at 42! Completely new career and life. .

daisychain01 Tue 20-Aug-19 12:33:28

It can feel overwhelming when going through these epiphany moments in life, recognising points of failure, and trying to move forward from them. Your comment is telling that you can't reinvent yourself. We are all human, so there's nobody on earth who hasn't made mistakes at times, nobody is infallible.

Resilience is a great perspective to focus on. It's all about bouncing back from adversity, being able to take things in your stride, and be willing to move forward and not cling onto past "failings" as if they define you as a person (they do not!).

We probably can't give you solutions here, only signpost you to some RW support, such as a life coach or counsellor to spend some time helping you rebuild from the ground up. Having an objective third-party to talk through things with you can help you to become unstuck.

CmdrCressidaDuck Tue 20-Aug-19 12:36:34

I second PPs with the anxious, inflexible thinking of "I can't reinvent myself". You can.

Have you thought about seeking out a therapist to help surface your anxieties and find better ways to manage them? If it helps you make a success of work now it could pay for itself many times over, no?

ImJustCoddlingAnEgg Thu 22-Aug-19 07:16:02

I want to thank you all for your responses. They have been thoughtful and very helpful. I can and I will make the changes I need to make. The advice for dealing with triggers and real life examples have been particularly helpful, thank you. And, yes, I think therapy is the way to go to resolve much of it.

Thank you smile

OP’s posts: |
Flerkin Thu 22-Aug-19 07:22:07

That's a great update Op. I am glad the responses have helped.

I am going into work to hand my notice in so I can move to my new job, senior job. It's really worth putting the work in. Good luck and co.e back if you need advice or just a hand hold. Or even a lovely brag about small changes you have made. smile

Hotbiscuits Thu 22-Aug-19 07:22:28

Fantastic advice @Flerkin have saved your comment-and very wise/clearsighted of you to work that out.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 22-Aug-19 07:27:08

Have you looked into mindfulness? I don’t do it but I think it’s about recognising triggers and learning a mechanism to help you change your behaviour when faced with such a trigger. Might help?

ImJustCoddlingAnEgg Wed 28-Aug-19 13:36:26

Ooh, @Flerkin! How did it go? When do you start? I'm very happy for you!

@VivaLeBeaver I struggle with it but I know it's going to be useful so I'm going to approach it afresh.

OP’s posts: |
ImJustCoddlingAnEgg Thu 05-Sep-19 16:52:43

First therapy session booked for tomorrow 🤞

OP’s posts: |
Flerkin Thu 05-Sep-19 16:58:58

Hi op, sorry only just seen the post when you posted your update

Started yesterday. Absolutely love it. The people are really nice. So just getting my head round the basics if the business.

It's great to hear you have a session booked in. Let us know how it goes flowers

ChicCroissant Thu 05-Sep-19 16:59:24

Talking to a third party would help, OP. It is a bit of a mystery for you to say that you have spent a long time soul searching yet won't change! Hope the session goes well tomorrow, you sound determined which is a great start.

VictoriaBun Thu 05-Sep-19 17:04:05

Depends on what you mean as an arsehole ?
I've managed people for many years. If I'm new to the post , I would sit with each person to follow their job to see how it is done . I'd ask them if they feel if their job could be simplified in any way and we would discuss if it is feasible. Also ask if their are any aspects of the job they do not enjoy.
Do that with every member of staff you manage, all the way down.
Then you have a staff meeting , you tell them you are firm but fair , you want to work with them , and you would never ask them to do something that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself . You operate as an open door and they can come to you at any time.
Never shout , especially if you are in an environment with working in a public place . I'd also expect to be informed of they are behind in their role, and make myself available to assist.

KatherineJaneway Thu 05-Sep-19 17:55:52

Good luck OP

MrsMozartMkII Thu 05-Sep-19 18:01:46

I am reinventing myself at mid-fifties.

It can be done for sure.

You just need to decide that's what you need and what you want.

Maybe a mentor would help?

ImJustCoddlingAnEgg Fri 06-Sep-19 10:46:37

@Flerkin so pleased for you! grin

And thank you to other posters for well wishes and helpful tips. I am taking it all on board. I knew I had to change but felt very stuck and unable to due to fear and ingrained negative patterns.

I love reading about posters reinventing themselves at different ages, it's great! Thank you for sharing.

I'm nervous for today but know it's another step on the long road to who I want to become.

OP’s posts: |
KatherineJaneway Fri 06-Sep-19 17:14:21

Change is hard. But you've overcome the worst of it, knowing that you want to / have to change. It isn't easy but I think things look really good for you OP.

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