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Think I probably just need a good talking to...

(10 Posts)
Limelight Fri 09-Nov-12 22:22:48

So. I'm two months into my first salaried / in an office job since before my DC arrived (5yrs & 21months). Mostly I feel inadequate, a bit stupid, and like a massive fraud.

Basically I left my last full time job to freelance 2 weeks before I found out that I was (accidentally) pregnant with my DS. I've maintained a reasonably busy part-time freelance career since then with x2 year long periods of maternity leave.

I feel as if I've done nothing really well since i had my DC. I've felt constantly conflicted and have never quite got the balance right. At the same time, we couldn't afford for me to not work and I feel as if being a SAHM isn't for me.

So a job came up in a slightly different part of my sector (think poacher turned game keeper). I decided that a new challenge and a new perspective on things would be great for me and would act as a springboard back into the thick of things. Eventually I want to work full-time again and because I don't intend to have any more DC, this felt like a starting point.

But I'm just lost. I feel stupid. I don't understand what's going on around me, they talk in a language I don't get, I can't get my head around how I should act or be with clients and colleagues. I'm panicking about everything and crisis managing. I can see that this perfectly nice team of people are looking at me trying to work out where the ballsy, professional, confident person they met at interview stage has gone (I always did talk a good game...).

I think that my confidence is shot. My first maternity leave happened at a point where I was about to take a professional step up. This effectively went in hold and I've spent the last nearly 6 years treading water and feeling like I wasn't much cop at that. I've now (sort of) taken the step up and I can't hack it.

I'm surrounded by friends and family (not least my DH) who are successful, have senior roles, and are confident in their abilities. I feel like my chance has gone. I'm mediocre and I don't know what happened and how on earth I let this happen to me.

I told you I needed a good talking to. Apologies for the melancholy and I'm sure I just need to pull myself together. Thank you if you got this far. In case it isn't really obvious I've had a horrible day at work and needed to let off steam. I just don't think there's anyone I can say this to in real life.

Limelight Sat 10-Nov-12 08:51:48


moojie Sat 10-Nov-12 09:01:53

I do feel for you. I work in quite a fast paced environment and it took me 3 months to not dread going into work after my first leave of 7 months. This time I am off for 14 months and really preparing myself for going back with more realistic expectations.

I would talk to your dh. Is there any research, bedtime reading you can do? Any journals you can subscribe to to help you feel more confident about your new role?

Hang on in there. Practice your confident face. I find it hard to be confident in myself if others aren't but I'm a good actress sometimes! Are there any work social events you can attend so colleagues can see you outside of work?

Give yourself a few more weeks to settle in .

Limelight Sat 10-Nov-12 09:45:02

Thank you Moojie. I should talk to my DH you're right. I'm just not sure he understands. He gets that I'm feeling a bit 'new jobish' but not that I feel so left behind I think.

Everyone is really nice at work. I think they just assume I'm better at this than I am. I don't know why I can't get my head around it all.

I think I assumed I'd be able to start this job and that my old confidence would help me to cut through all the management speak and beaurocracy (of which there is a lot), and get to the heart of things. I think that's partly why they gave me the job. Instead I'm just hugely intimidated by it all.

Everything you say is right though. I know I need to tough it out a bit.

mamhaf Sat 10-Nov-12 10:18:08

And you think lots of other people don't feel the same about themselves? I've heard many people, especIally women, think they are frauds and will be found out - it's normal!

Make sure you know what your job description is and how that translates into action.

Ask for a meeting with your boss and get feedback - agree what you're doing well and what needs work.
Good luck!

3littlefrogs Sat 10-Nov-12 10:30:45

IME it takes at least 3 months to get to grips with any new job.

I went back to work after 12 years of being a SAHM. (I ran my own business and did lots of voluntary work during that time, but the learning curve going back to my "proper job" was horrendous).

I had to retrain, basically, which meant an awful lot of bedtime reading, but 13 years on I am an expert in my field, responsible for supervising and training other people.

Hang in there, actively seek out mentoring, training courses, study days, whatever it takes, and give yourself time.

amarylisnightandday Sat 10-Nov-12 10:31:25

Time to take charge then. You are out of touch and a bit rusty but that can be fixed. Ask for advice from your manager about how best to catch up with the industry - ask for some guidance/material to take home. Out a really positive spin in it when you ask so you don't feel like you're telling them you can't cope.
It is a hard adjustment period and I think many of us experience it after having kids but you will get back there. Keep pushing forward smile

Limelight Sat 10-Nov-12 22:32:20

Thank you everyone. You're all absolutely right. I'm very grateful.

I've had a long talk (read as snotty red-faced weep) with DH today who's been very understanding and thinks I'm probably being very hard on myself (no doubt).

I need to take control, stop feeling as if I bluffed my way into the job (they must have seen something they liked?), and do what I do best which is get organised.

I've got 8 projects on the go and I need to make time to get on top of each of them and work out what needs to happen and what I need to do. I was absolutely caught on the back foot on Friday which is what upset me so much. So I need to try not to let that happen again.

DH read through some of the hundreds of emails I've been getting and was reasonably comforting in that he pointed out that a lot of it was a bit silly and irrelevant to what I am actually doing - I've been panicking because there's all this stuff floating around that I feel like I'm supposed to have an opinion on or solution for and most of the time, I don't understand the context. So his advice was to ignore all of this periphery stuff, focus on my actual projects and only get involved with the rest of it when I'm more settled and comfortable. He's also going to give me a terminology crash course which will help. And I need some finance training I think.

So that helps. Lovely DH. And thank you MN too.

amarylisnightandday Sat 10-Nov-12 22:58:57

That's great lime grin filtering out the bumf sounds like a good place to start. I ignore a myriad of work emails now I'm confident they don't have to be auctioned as it were. I'm much too busy and important grin

3littlefrogs Sat 10-Nov-12 23:19:37

email has an awful lot to answer for IMO.

Years ago people had to actually speak to you, or write a letter, then there was an understanding that it might take a little time to respond/action.

Nowadays there is an expectation that any task or request should be completed instantly the minute the "send" button is pressed.

You could spend all day reading, sorting and answering emails, and not actually get any work done.

I always set up an out of office response if I am offsite, so that at least people know they will have to wait a little while for a reply.

I have an old fashioned (write in) diary so that I can list things in order of priority. It helps me to deal with the important stuff first IYSWIM.

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