How have you improved job-related self confidence?
June 2, 2014 5:16 PM Subscribe
I've only very recently identified a recurring behavior/thought pattern in myself. In hindsight, I am surprised it's taken me this long to realize what I'm doing. I guess I'd just call it a lack of self confidence when it comes to work, but there may be more at play. I doubt this is totally unique, so I'd appreciate any advice people have had on improving it.
This problem manifests itself in a few ways. For example, in a previous job, I was absolutely sure I was going to get a bad performance review. I could think of numerous things I'd done poorly over the year, and several times that my manager had been annoyed with me. I had slacked off pretty regularly, and not done my best work at several points. Yet, when I got the review, it was very good, and came with a large raise and a hint at more responsibility coming soon. By that point I had already accepted another job anyway, partially because I thought I was doing badly.
Fast forward to my current job. I've had several instances over the last year plus where I was convinced I was on the verge of being fired. Not for criminal misconduct or anything like that, just performance combined with a culture where they'll fire people at the drop of the hat. Even today, I had a couple of emails that I instantly interpreted as being at least partially aimed at "managing me out" or building evidence for dismissal. Yet I'm still here, and haven't even had a conversation along the lines of "you're in danger of being fired." Which leads me to believe that my intuition about this is wrong.
Due in part to my worry over being fired (but also several other serious issues), I've been looking for another job. I've had a few phone calls, and interviewed with two companies. At one of the interviews, I felt that I had absolutely bombed it. I mean, it went really, really badly from my perspective. I've interviewed for a lot of jobs, and I've interviewed a lot of people for similar jobs, so I feel like I have a pretty good amount of experience about what makes for a good or bad interview. Yet the company actually made me an offer for a senior position. So apparently my thought that the interview went badly was mistaken (or at least it didn't go badly enough to counteract other factors).
This kind of thing has been a recurring factor throughout my career, and I think it is really damaging me. Especially since my default reaction when I get into one of these situations is to flee, looking for another job. I've had a lot of great jobs at amazing companies, but I never stick with them as long as I should. In the case of my current job, there are several other unrelated factors that drive me to move on, but even in that case I find that it's hurting my job search. It's certainly not all-consuming, but I'd like to alleviate it.
On one level, I can see that clearly my perception is wrong, because I get promotions, raises, job offers, etc. But on another level, I can point to numerous things that I very clearly and objectively should do much better at, and if someone reporting to me was performing that way, I'd be unhappy about it. These are hard to reconcile even in the face of the evidence that my managers think I'm doing well. I've heard of "impostor syndrome" but I feel like this is different (or maybe just more extreme).
If you've experienced this, how did you handle it?