Job Satisfaction and Fear of Failure

Job Satisfaction and Fear of Failure

For a little over a year, I had a great job. Or rather, the kind of job that looks great on a resume. When I got the job offer in September of 2017, I thought “I would be stupid not to take this offer!” I was making more money than I ever had before. The job came with more vacation days than I could use in a year, and extra perks like free lunches twice a week. It was the kind of job my friends were jealous of. The catch? I wasn’t happy.

“Nobody likes their job!” That was the most common response people gave me over the past few months when I expressed I had grown unhappy at work. I knew in my gut I wanted to leave, but that response made me feel like I should just suck it up. Like maybe I was overreacting and needed to just grow a thicker skin, because everyone else was in the same boat.

“If everyone is right and nobody likes their job, then I guess it’s just something I need to get used to and stop complaining about. Maybe seeking happiness at work is unrealistic. Will I be any happier at a new job? Maybe I’m the problem, and I’m just not fit to be in a 9 to 5 job! Maybe things will get better if I just try harder and stick it out…”

My inner thoughts over the past few months

I let other people’s opinions and comments about how “nobody likes their job” get to me. I decided that if I worked harder, and tried on a “fake it till you make it” attitude, maybe things would magically get better at work. The problem was, I didn’t feel passionate or satisfied with anything I was doing. I was burning myself out on a job I didn’t love. Before too long this started to reflect in my work. I wasn’t performing as well as I could have. Which only made my satisfaction at work plummet even more.

I’ve always been a perfectionist. I seek approval from others, as well as from myself. I so badly wanted to make this job work, to prove I was competent and capable and good enough. I was terrified of failure, of being judged, of what people would think of me if I didn’t succeed. It took me back to the feeling of being a teenager, scared of making anything less than an A in school. Or a 20-something avoiding sharing the news that my relationship had failed.

This blog provides an outlet for me to be vulnerable and talk about things that are difficult to admit. It forces me to share the less-than-perfect parts of my life. Little by little, I’m ridding myself of the notion that I need to appear perfect to everyone in my life. It’s so freeing to let go of that and just be open and honest. So here goes: I lost my job. I tried to make it work, and I failed.

It was a surreal experience because, like I said above, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t actually want to be there. But my fear of failure and of other people’s judgements was stronger than my desire to leave. The silver lining is that I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and changed my perspective on job satisfaction. My opinion is, if you truly are unhappy in your job, don’t ignore that! It’s okay to walk away. Don’t let fear of failure overpower your own happiness. Trying to force yourself to be happy never works. Ignoring those feelings will only backfire, and it will all catch up to you eventually. 

So where am I now? I’m what I like to call “happily unemployed.” I’m taking some time to really think about what I want and need out of my next job. Do I want to continue working in the social media field, or do I want to make a career change? This is the main question I’m asking myself as I assess my options and look for a new job. The main thing I’m feeling right now is excitement for the future. I don’t know where I’ll be a month from now, but I’m ready for a new beginning!

Have you ever felt stuck in a job you didn’t love? Do you agree with the idea that “nobody likes their job”? Let me know in the comments!

Handling Criticism

Handling Criticism

On Friday I got completely blindsided at work. One of our new clients sent us some feedback, and it was vastly negative. Some of it had to do with the work I have been doing specifically. This curveball was totally unexpected, and honestly kind of ruined my Friday.

I have always been a sensitive person, so taking criticism has predictably never been my strong suit. Although to be fair, is it really anyone’s strong suit? If it’s yours, please teach me your coping mechanisms. I think everyone struggles with handling criticism, because although we are all our own worst critics, hearing it from someone else hurts so much more. Especially when you thought you were doing everything right, and hadn’t gotten any hints or warning signs to make you think otherwise.

This blog is more of a rambling than anything else, but I just thought it might help to get my feelings down on (metaphorical) paper. I’m feeling better about the situation now that a few days have passed, but I definitely still have moments where I feel really down on myself and feel like it is all my fault, even though I know that is not the case.

I’m trying to turn that negative energy around and focus on how I can work even harder to not let something like this happen again. I know that to a certain extent it can’t be completely avoided; I am bound to run into more negative criticism of my work at one point or another throughout my career. I’m not vein enough to think otherwise. However, I do think it is a good learning opportunity and allows me to really think about how I can do my best at everything I undertake from now on.

Have any of you ever experienced something similar? How do you cope with receiving negative feedback or criticism at work, school or in your personal life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!