Yesterday I told my boss of 5+ years that I had another job offer and, more than likely, I was going to take it.
I was afraid it was going to become a bad situation. It could have become a bad situation. It started to become a bad situation with my boss going in to his usual defense mode (he is, after all, defending his growing company). I fell in to some of my usual behavior, but not all. And that, I believe saved it from becoming a bad situation. I kept emphasizing his strengths and the company strengths, and that we need to get a transition down so it can continue to succeed.
And then he started asking why: beyond the “I want to grow” and “I am looking for opportunities”. And then I said it: I had become afraid of him. It surprised him, but also made him curious: how and why. And we started to talk. And we listened. And I made sure that I was not making him a villain. He isn’t. It’s a two way street. I was fully aware of what was happening at work, and felt unable to change things: afraid to speak up.
It is easy, in retrospect, to ask, “Why didn’t you talk to me?” my only answer is, when you are afraid you avoid those situations. I hid. I would cringe when he asked to talk to me: who was going to show up? Dr. Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde? Would he try to engage me in a “debate” about anything? I dreaded having to ask questions – wondering if he would help or send me on my way with a quick synopsis with a topic I needed a handbook to resolve and I would feel dumb and too afraid to ask more?
I know my weaknesses (but if you see any please let me know – I can always learn and grow): I lack confidence in the work place. The fact that I state freely that I felt dumb probably speaks volumes on this matter. I am not dumb, but do not do all things well. Some things I do very well. I am human. Enough said. My boss remarked that he was surprised, with all of my marathons and triathlon training that I wasn’t more confident. I thought about that one and realized that, at work, I felt as if I had to hide my personal life. So, it is possible that all that self-esteem building work didn’t come through at work. It remained hidden.
I also tend to project my expectations from someone (likely a reflection of my own fears) on to them before I ever approach them. Kind of like a teenager who gets in to a car accident and only thinks “My parents are going to kill me” when in reality the parents are just relieved their child is OK. I build anxiety when there may have never been a reason. Glorious! I have tried, judged and pronounced myself not worthy before ever speaking with anyone about the true issue. This must be resolved.
A friend of mine once commented that she thought I looked for compliments from others, and asked how can I expect positive remarks from others if I don’t feel confident myself. Although I disagree with her assessment of seeking compliments from others, I agree with her observation of confidence.
And so, aware of my self confidence at work (the lack thereof), that I have been apathetic for two years at work, and that I can immobilize myself by projecting fears on others, I will be starting a new job in most respects soon.
My resolution is to take these lessons I have learned about myself and instead of building a pattern; that I break free and return to my motivated self and bring in that self confidence I have built with my training, and interactions with friends in many spheres of life. I resolve to do this without returning to minimizing myself (physically and emotionally). Ghad zooks. And so I take a deep breath. I take the lessons I have learned. I resolve…because if I waited for the New Year to change – I could put it off another day!