Great New Job Opportunity but Scared
February 10, 2016 5:24 PM   Subscribe

How do I deal with fear of failure starting a new position and what if I hate it?

Some of you may remember my very first position in HR a bit over 2 years ago. I cried often, I was the scape-goat, I felt like everything I did was wrong, my big boss wasn't very clear and talked to me like he patronized me, manager was out to get me and even though I had "cover your butt" documents it did nothing to make me look better. I was so relieved I got laid off.

Over the past year I've been working as a temp as a recruiter. I gained a lot of experience in this position and met great coworkers although my boss is never around and kind of clueless/denial and avoids confrontation. Not a very good boss but he is somewhat reasonable and I'm not crying at my work like my first job but me and my coworker have been exploited with no benefits and less pay doing the same work as others without being hired on but stringed along with empty promises.

Well anyways, last week he quit. A week after I also accepted an amazing opportunity and put my notice in too! It was perfect timing. This position is at a university, more pay, tons of employee perks, benefits, you name it. They seem nice but so did my boss at my first job.

I keep having flash backs of how horrible it was at my first job. I'm afraid I'll be targeted, I'll hate it, I'm afraid I'll cry, I'm afraid to fail. It makes me think maybe I really did suck at my job at the very first one or maybe they just didn't like me, I don't know. I'm afraid of being miserable. I am afraid of making mistakes and looking stupid, not having them like me, regret hiring me, etc.
posted by Asian_Hunnie to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Relax. Relax relax relax. Go take a bubblebath and listen to Enya if you have to.

Let's start by reflecting on all the POTENTIAL this new job presents. What's amazing about this opportunity to you? Are you looking forward to learning new skills?

For what it's worth, I've worked at a university for a few years and I thought all the admin-type staff were incredibly nice and friendly, especially if you try to warm up to them. The work culture is worth sticking around for.

Tell yourself you will give it your best for 3 months, the typical probationary period where I'm from. Things might seem hard if you're new to it, but a lot of skills take practice and therefore time, so don't give up. It is okay to ask for help when you don't know something, it is okay to have someone check and make sure you did things right while you're still learning. That's not looking stupid, that's actually very smart and admirable. Focus on what you're achieving.

You can do it.
posted by lizbunny at 5:46 PM on February 10, 2016

Do you ever read Ask a Manager? It's like Ask Metafilter for the workplace. There are many, many stories from people who are basically traumatized by a toxic workplace, and who find themselves carrying that experience into their next job. The most common scenario is that your workplace was an abusive or close to abusive situation, where you regularly felt demeaned and started to question your competence and intelligence. And then when you get a new job, you feel incredibly insecure. You're always afraid you're not doing well, you're going to get fired, they secretly hate you. Does that ring a bell? Here's a relevant post: Are You Haunted By Your Last Bad Job?

What you are feeling is so common. Try to keep things in perspective -- talking to a friend or somebody else outside the workplace might be a good idea, so you have somebody giving you a reality check when you're terrified of your last terrible experience repeating itself. Remember that the new place hired you, so they want you to succeed and believe that you will.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:59 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @lizbunny I used to get in trouble for asking questions at my first job and they told me I was questioning authority.

@chickenmagazine I actually just googled that and read it. Reading the comments helps to know there are others going through what I am. This job and it's benefits are a very good opportunity, I know I deserve it and I'm scared to blow it.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 6:27 PM on February 10, 2016

I'm reading a book right now that's teaching me new techniques to deal with fear and anxiety, especially around a new job I just started this week: A Guide To Personal Hapiness, by Dr. Albert Ellis. Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and you may find some use for his techniques. Copies are very cheap if you buy used.
posted by roll away the dew at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2016

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