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feel like I can't do my job anymore - advice/reassurance/stern talking to needed

(11 Posts)
blossombath Wed 08-May-13 19:44:29

I went back to work PT in Jan, after first mat leave. Same company and team as before, but a new role, created for me as they didn't want to make my old role PT. Very similar to old role, just fewer responsibilities.

I wanted to make a good impression in this new role, prove that it was worth them creating it to keep me, and show that I can contribute to the team even part time.

I feel like my work is poorer quality than before, and I keep making mistakes. Nothing sackable, and as I work in publishing no one is going to die. But repeated small mistakes are as bad as one big mistake, I think. I worry that boss will regret creating new role for me, and that I can't do my job any more.

I used to be good at attention to detail, now I'm trying to build in checklists or processes to catch my own mistakes - just not working.

Not sure if I'm struggling because I'm being asked to do/trying to do too much in my hours; because of sleep deprivation (DS, now 14mo, didn't sleep through until 13mo, even now he wakes about 5 or 5/30); or because I don't care quite as much as I used too. Feel bad admitting that last reason; my job still matters to me but I can't motivate myself about it like I could before.

Should also add my new role is a demotion and a colleague was promoted into my old role; doesn't help my confidence to see this colleague doing really well, no matter how many times I tell myself that I brought different strengths to the job and try to be gracious about their success.

Please reassure me I'm not the only one who struggled to get back into swing of things. And any advice on how I can improve my attention to detail and/or manage the tiredness without relying entirely on sugar and caffeine would be very welcome.

trumpfamily Wed 08-May-13 20:36:13

Firstly you need to breath. Are you in a position to be child free for a day/night or weekend to catch up on sleep, jobs, etc.. Recharged batteries will be a godsend, you'll then be in a position to view your situation clearly. A rested Mum is a better Mum.

Secondly, when I went back to work after my first child I had to mentally distance myself from home as I crossed the threshold of work in order to survive. A wandering mind is a really time waster and contributes heavily to the small but easy mistakes that you are making.

Thirdly, lists, lists, lists... are a working Mum's helper, along with a family organiser.

Lastly, delegate at home, make sure that the jobs/childcare are distributed evenly so that the burden is shared.

You mustn't worry about your role before the children and the person doing that job now. You have the best and most important job as Mum. Good luck.

blossombath Wed 08-May-13 22:29:24

Thanks trumpfamily (seems wrong to call you just trump), DH takes DS to a song group every saturday, when I usually do house chores, and I'm sure DM/MIL would have DS for a day, but I have so far resisted being away from him for whole day/night in order to do work, it feels like a waste since I miss him more and more as he gets his own personality. But I can see the value of it, guess I just bite bullet and get on with it

Am already a list fiend, but you're right about wandering mind - I always have home stuff on my mind at work, find it hard to compartmentalise it.

ElectricSheep Thu 09-May-13 07:04:08

You need to make a mental effort to swap hats as you journey to work. Try reassuring yourself all is well at home - there is nothing urgent or critical to be done at home in the next few hours and then giving yourself permission to 'park' home for a bit and mentally put it to one side.

Silly errors can be avoided by focusing on what you are doing and checking. Also leaving enough time to do something else then come back with fresh eyes to check again.

MaitreKarlsson Thu 09-May-13 08:14:04

Hey blossombath,
No great advice to offer but was in same boat and wanted to reassure you that things will get better. It's a huge mental shift after having a baby and I think often underestimated that different people will cope very differently. For me it was going back after mat leave 2 that was the difficult one. First 6 months back at work, dreadful! Brain fog, mistakes, couldn't even remember colleagues' names. Part-time, so it was so easy to miss handing things over or return calls I'd missed while on my days off.
Nearly one year on and it is loads better. I had to tell myself I was doing the best I could, and if it wasn't good enough they would just bloody well have to sack me. That helped. (Also Omega3 fish oils = incredible!)
Good luck, just have faith in your brain, it will all return.

blossombath Thu 09-May-13 18:49:05

Thanks electric, I hadn't thought about the fact that home was/is taking my focus but realise that is a big problem, planning to try and swap roles, as you say, but also will get a pad of paper in handbag and if something is on my mind at work which I need to do at home I will jot down to try and 'park it'.

And maitrek good tip on fish oils, have been planning today (one of my home days) what snacks I can take in to keep blood sugar levels constant and avoid sugar/caffeine related headaches

blossombath Wed 15-May-13 19:12:50

argh! Thought I was doing better this week, trying to be focused, healthy snacks, fish oils, lists and more lists. Get to end of (my working) week and realise I had completely forgotten to do a particular piece of work. Only reminded by boss emailing me to say that I needn't worry about finishing it as we don't need it now. I hadn't even begun, as thought it was for two weeks time.

I used to be so on the ball, I feel so rubbish now, like I'm letting down feminists and other women everywhere by being unable to do things like I used to.

Sorry, just needed to vent really.

MaitreKarlsson Wed 22-May-13 22:30:25

Hi again,
How's this week going for you?

lizzywig Sun 26-May-13 08:00:12

I had to reply to this i ar and my brain was mush for the first 6 months. What really helped me was using my Outlook calander for reminders. Obviously i still have my to do list written down but i use outlook for the things that i wouldn't usually put on a list. For example, check on temp or draft email to teams re x project or give pay slip to x. It's been invaluable. If someone asks me to do something via email i add a reminder to it. I have a project running at the moment where i have sent a spreadsheet out to a working party to complete by 31st may. I put a reminder in outlook which popped up on Thursday gone and reminded me that i needed to check the spreadsheet and remind my colleagues about the deadline if no work had been done. I need tools to be able to do my job these days but i feel hugely better accepting that and a year on things are much better. Out of interest what's your role? If i can I'd like to see if i can come up with any ideas to help you, my role in publishing is to come up with new systems to make the business run more efficiently. I really hope things pick up for you very soon.

MaitreKarlsson Wed 05-Jun-13 08:48:48

Hi Lizzy
Was checking back on this thread and I found your tips very helpful - thanks. Just using more of the technology I've already got has worked better. Thanks.

lizzywig Mon 10-Jun-13 21:24:59

Hurrah that's excellent news. There's nothing worse than feeling hopeless when you're actually not :-)

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