One thing they don’t tell you when you return to work is that the first week is the honeymoon period. You gallop off with your headphones on, absolutely loving that little bit of time just for you. Being able to waltz into a cafe to grab a morning coffee, without worrying that the toddler will kick off and want to run around. You start work again and enjoy talking to adults about things other than sleep, weaning and why she just won’t nap. You’re kind of elated, if not slightly uncomfortable as to why it’s been such a seamless transition…aren’t you supposed to be crying in the toilet on your first day?
And then week two strikes. The adrenaline has worn off a little and was probably left somewhere on the train journey back from work. The realisation that this is it suddenly dawns on you – running from A to B, commuting the shit out of life, and never quite feeling like you’ve given your all at home or at work is becoming the norm already. Work becomes tougher as you have already passed your first week and are expected to be firing on all cylinders. But you feel teary inside…it’s too tough, you should be at home and not here. You miss those mother-daughter moments together, which at the moment seem all too few.
That was this week for me – full of anxiety and a little bit of a struggle if I’m honest. My mind has been filled with self-doubt and inadequacy that I’m not cracking it quick enough; I’m not as up to speed as I should be. As my eyes fill with tears that I’m wishing to just go away, I remind myself that it’s so often like this when I join a company. My job is intense and that feeling of being the new girl, feeling awkward at bothering people with a million questions, are things are totally forgot about. I always see my previous jobs through rose-tinted glasses, I cherry pick the best moments and forget about the bad. I suppose that’s human nature to be optimistic, but this week I was reminded that it can be really tough.
What I’m suffering from is something I read about on Mrs Helicopter Writes Facebook page…it’s called The Imposter Syndrome. As soon as Jess mentioned this, I immediately related to it as something I go through in my job every single time and I don’t know why.
The Imposter Syndrome is when someone can’t internalise their successes and convince themselves they are a fraud and do not deserve their success.
When I started this current job, knowing I am prone to this, I vowed to myself to be more confident and assertive; yet here I am. It’s that feeling of not being good enough at what you do, feeling like you are a fraud and were given the job by accident. This is something that personally always baffles me, as I have worked my way up the tiers of jobs in my field – I’m not at the top, but I’m closer to the top than the bottom. And yet my behaviour doesn’t reflect how far I’ve come. I constantly doubt my abilities, apologise for things that go wrong even when they are not my fault and don’t feel I can input that much into meetings.
I don’t know why I feel like this, I can’t make sense of my anxiety to always be cracking it with my job right from the beginning. But today I drew a line in the sand and told myself off. I’m usually such a positive person and this is all so out of character for me. Where has this girl come from, who doubts every decision that comes her way and feels nervous talking in front of a room of colleagues? I don’t know who she is but I’m determined to put her in the corner. I’m determined to find a little bit of confidence and believe in myself again.
We’re all faced with challenges every day, whether it’s going into the office and showing your colleagues what you’re made of, or being an amazing mum on only 3 hours (or less!) sleep. Or maybe it’s working out those magical foods that your toddler WILL eat. Some days are tough and full of nothing but challenges, and the truth is it’s hard to say “just believe in yourself a bit more”…like you have a magic wand that will make it all better. But I want to start with what I know, before assuming what people think of me and am taking my new positive self into the office this week!