Social Question

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I'm scared to start working, but I really want to. What can I do about this?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6505points) December 25th, 2011

I’m way too much of a perfectionist at times. I’m afraid of messing up. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of being fired. My fears are holding me back and I know that if I get a job, I may end up feeling more confident and these fears might all seem completely silly when I look back. Still, though. Actually getting a job scares me. Interviews are fine. I’m okay with those. I’m just not okay with actually doing the job because I’m scared.

Any advice?

Thank you in advance!

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22 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I am confused at exactly what you are afraid of. It appears you are lacking in self-confidence. There is nothing I can tell you that make you feel any better about yourself, other than look in a mirror and tell youself, “I can do this”.

We all make mistakes in life. I would dare to guess that at least 40% of the population was a mistake, but thats okay.

What is your age? I ask this because my future answer will depend on it.

Pandora's avatar

Don’t look at getting a job as something you must be perfect in. Most employers look for workers to be curtious, on time, consistant, and reliable and willing to learn.
They usually don’t look at someone new to working to be perfect but they will hire if they feel you are eager to learn and to try your best.
A first job is hardly ever your dream job. You should just look at it as new information you will need for your dream job and as a test to your commitment in what you set out to do.
There is no such thing as perfection. But if you can do the stuff I listed above that you will already be a cut above most people.
The thing about failing is that you never really fail if you try. You learn even from your mistakes and failures.. If you don’t try than you instantly fail. And if you do try and fail and don’t bother to learn from it than you also fail.
You don’t want to be a perfectionist in fear, and self doubt. Do you?

Bellatrix's avatar

I think the only way to conquer your fear is to get a job and prove to yourself that you can do this. Why not start with some voluntary work though? There are so many organisations crying out for help. They are also great training grounds though. You mentioned being interested in photojournalism, not quite the same, but see if there are any community media organisations around your way. That would start to give you some understanding of how news stories are crafted.

Also, what about volunteering for a political organisation you value and consider important? Even if it handing out flyers, it’s a start. I remember you said you were interested in studying politics.

Voluntary experience gives you skills and something to write on your resume. The more work you do successfully, the more confident you will become.

We have organisations to search for opportunities here. I did a search to see what there is in the US. I think that’s where you are (sorry if I am wrong).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Move towards fear and watch it vanish before your very eyes.

Nature loves, and rewards courage.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@john65pennington I am 21 years old.

@Pandora No, I don’t. You’re right.

@Bellatrix I think you are confusing me with someone else. Volunteering doesn’t bother me, though. I’ve done that when I was a teenager. It was a lot easier than… well, other things. I don’t feel like as much is expected out of me and I feel freer to be me.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Yeah, those sound like a good mottos to live by. I may just do what you advised.

Bellatrix's avatar

Am I? Sorry… okay.. who out there wants to study politics or photojournalism.? :D Sorry @AnonymousGirl. Good luck with it anyway. Whatever you end up doing. @RealEyesRealizeRealLies is right.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Yes, I think so. I think I know who you are confusing me with as well (if you are). The woman I am thinking of is very similar to me (in my opinion), but we do have our differences. I suppose my screen name doesn’t help, either.

Thank you for the luck! I feel I may need it! :)

I want to work in retail, but I feel like I’ll mess up with the cash register… or with customers.

Bellatrix's avatar

I went and looked and it is another young woman and you are a bit similar I think in your responses :-)

I hope you find something soon and the fact that you care about not stuffing up suggests to me you will take care not to. :-)

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Yeah. I definitely think I know who you mean. :) Now I feel like I should have put this question in the Social Section, though! ^_^

I have other worries, too…

I don’t learn fast all the time. I can learn a website inside and out pretty fast, but when it comes to things outside of the world wide web… I’m not so good with them.. except for maybe books. I can be quite slow and I like doing a thorough job.

How can I make that part of my behaviour sound good instead of having it viewed as a flaw?

FutureMemory's avatar

@AnonymousGirl If you want to have your question moved to Social, flag it and make that request. People have their questions moved to different sections all the time.

Bellatrix's avatar

So you are very good with detail? Great with websites? Very thorough? Those are good skills. Have you thought of finding work that works with those skills? Why not look at designing websites or something like that? There must be work that draws on those skills? I am sure someone here can point out occupations that might work with your strong points.

Nullo's avatar

@AnonymousGirl They make allowances for training-stage mess-ups in retail. Heck, we had one guy who never did a good job, and we never fired him. He left on his own. Granted, we were at a busy time with no prospect of new hires; even in his incompetence, he was better than nobody.
Nobody is born knowing how to work a register, and the stores know it. They can and will train you to do the work that they hire you for. And if they are worth the lint on their socks, they’ll help you course-correct.
That said, I would urge you to work retail only as you look for other things. Retail isn’t Hell, but it’s about as close as you’re going to get in a first-world nation.

The fear of failure is a crippling one; it’s good that you are taking steps to overcome it.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@FutureMemory Thank you for letting me know that for the future. :) @Bellatrix kindly offered to move my thread to Social in a private message, so she made it easy for me. I didn’t know you could do that, so I appreciate you telling me. ^_^

@Bellatrix I wouldn’t say I’m great with designing websites. I find them pretty easy to figure out for the most part, but I don’t really consider it a skill or anything. Every time there is a Facebook change, for example, I am one of the first of my friends to figure everything on the site out without much trouble while others are complaining that they can’t find this or that. Another example is on Answerbag a long time ago when they had that huge overhaul, while several people left grumbling to this site and complained about missing features, I had fun playing with the new layout and was completely happy it finally changed because I was bored of looking at the same old layout over and over again. I adapt to change on websites really easily and even welcome it because I like having something new to figure out after the old and familiar becomes dull to me. Seeing what works and what doesn’t is fun to me and I like suggesting new features when I think one might be good and useful.

@Nullo Thanks for the warning and thanks for your encouragement. Your words are very much appreciated. :)


I feel like something that might be dragging me down is an experience I had when I was 15… or 16… as a young Co Op student. I had my placement at a restaurant across the street. I thought I was doing okay and I even somewhat liked it there. However, my Co Op teacher was told that I was no longer wanted there and I wasn’t what they were looking for. When I was told this, I cried. I don’t know what hurt more – that they felt this way about me after hardly knowing me or that they didn’t tell me this to my face. I ended up dropping out of Co Op and avoiding taking it ever again. To make things worse, I have to walk past this place every single time I go to the mall across the street… so the memories never leave me. I can’t even handle going there to just buy a bagel, even though I used to like their bagels.

halabihazem's avatar

I felt the same before I had my first mini-job. Once you dive into it, you’ll find your way around, and it’ll be easy in no time. The more time you spend working, the easier things will become.

I was reading this yesterday:

I hope it helps.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

^ I’m checking that site out now. Thanks for understanding, @halabihazem. :)

Paradox25's avatar

Experience can erase fears when one is passionate about learning/experiencing something new. I’m kind of going through this right now where my training is about to increase due to getting by my probation period at work. I’m somewhat nervous because it is a completely different job task compared to what I was doing. Unfortunately I can’t at this time find anything related to my normal career field since my last place of employment closed its doors. Also it was a career field that I went to school for and have 16 years of experience performing. Fear does lessen with experience and time but it is only through experience that we can determine what is best for us.

fizzbanger's avatar

“90 percent of life is just showing up.”

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

Great answers here, and hopefully you’re already employed. I’m also in a similar boat, except I’m 41 and going BACK to work after being a stay at home Mom for 8 years plus going through a divorce. I’ve also had to face major fears and haven’t even identified them as such just know that indeed it’s only fear stopping me, certainly not ability or determination. I tell people I’m afraid of where the kids will go while I work. I tell people I’m afraid of seeing my girls even LESS with the divorce once I’m employed outside the home. But sometimes I wonder if these really are the true fears, or simply great excuses to not act. I have had enough life experience (compared to you ) to know that fear is SUCH a time and joy killer, which is not how we’re to live.
Also, in agreeing with the others, it seems you have very good skills, just need to LIST them and MATCH them to a career of interest. Slow, detailed, and thorough is an asset, not a hindrance, you just need to be matched to the right career.
Try a career counselor or head hunter. Also, there is a book called “What Color is My Parachute”...someone here will know, that I believe talks about matching personality to career.
You are possibly comparing yourself to others instead of honing in on your OWN gifts ! Best of luck to both of us, may we be happily emplyed where we belong.
One more thing: when I was 21 I did several temp jobs which I so enjoyed and it gives you a taste of people and careers you’d have never thought of—start with that, just do Something.

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

What about a librarian or book editor? so many great jobs for your skill set, good luck :)

Bellatrix's avatar

How are things going with the career planning @AnonymousGirl? Have you come up with a plan of action or a clear direction even?

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

Yes, I’d love an update here as well, even if it’s not positive. It’s helps all of us…

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Update: I had a goal to look for and find work in February, but I did not meet it. I have taken a step, though, and have contacted people asking for permission to use their names as references. I’m thinking about working in a bookstore or at a place designed for families and others to have a lot fun and enjoy their time there. In that place, people go there for parties, other events, just because, etc. It really looks awesome and it’s a pretty new place in the city I live in. I’m thinking about working in Customer Service. That place does not require prior work experience. They even say so on their application form. If you’re ready and willing to learn and are 16+ years old, that’s enough for them. They seem to take pride in the skills anyone capable of working there can bring them, even if they have never had a paying job before. =] From what I can tell, they also treat their employees extremely well. At least two of my sisters have been there and so have extended relatives of mine and they all seemed to have a good time. Word-of-mouth pretty much says that this place is fantastic! :)

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