I should be able to handle this. Right?
March 5, 2012 4:21 AM Subscribe
How do I stop panicking about my new responsibilities at work?
posted by guessthis to human relations (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I (female, mid-twenties) have been at my job for the last three years. It is well-paid work in a young, trendy field. The work itself is not how I would ideally spend my time, but it is valuable experience that will eventually help me to net a job that I love in a related field. I have always been anxious about my job performance, but have never received any negative feedback.
Until recently my role and influence has been limited in scope. I had a day-to-day routine, and I liked it. But the company has recently received a big cash injection and is expanding rapidly, particularly in my area. They expensed a trip to an industry event last year, where I met someone who would be interested in organising an event with my company. I mentioned this to my supervisor, who liked the idea and broached it with colleagues from other departments. They were enthusiastic and had lots of ideas about how the event concept could be expanded. What started out as a small workshop has turned into a bilingual half-day conference, including a panel discussion led by yours truly.
I am terrified. I feel like I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I first mentioned this. Now my colleagues are looking for my approval on locations and participants and marketing initiatives. I am not completely clueless - I have ideas and opinions, but I can't guarantee that I know what's best for the company. I agreed to lead a panel because I don't mind public speaking and I think I know how to prepare myself for such a task, but I'm scared that I'm kidding myself and will fail. I feel a lot of pressure for this event to work out, because it will reflect so much on me.
Before each meeting that we have had to organise this event, I have felt sick to my stomach. Afterwards, I have felt great because it usually went well. My colleagues all know I'm inexperienced in this area, and no one seems to think I'm out of my depth. They have welcomed a number of my suggestions. So I feel like my mind is playing tricks on me. On the one hand, I feel like I have the skills to pull this off, and the support of experienced colleagues. On the other hand, I feel terrified that I'm delusional, and that my colleagues' support will wain as we start to realise the project, not just plan it. How am I supposed to know if I can truly handle everything if I don't know exactly what lies ahead?
Does anyone have advice on how to deal with a sudden increase in responsibility at work? How do you quieten that voice of self-doubt? How best to seem confident and in control even when you don't feel it?
In case it's relevant, I have a history of anxiety and OCD, and am currently in classic psychoanalytic therapy to help deal with problems with my parents. I mentioned this work-panic-thing to my therapist, but our discussion was uncharacteristically unhelpful, and I'm not sure how to broach it again.
Many thanks in advance for all your thoughts!