Feeling Insecure at Work?

By Mel Sim

You’re not alone. Here are five common work insecurities and how to deal with them.

Whether it is your first month at work or you’ve been there for a while, there will be times when you’ll feel completely insecure about yourself. For example, when you first started, you worry about whether you know what you’re doing. Then a few months into the job, you worry about whether you’re pulling your weight. Fast forward a few years later and you’re in a new role... yups, you’ll probably be worrying whether you’ve got what it takes to be in that senior position.

What you need to do is go easy on yourself and understand that while these insecurities are common, you shouldn’t let them take over your life. Why? Because you’re not alone! The thing is everyone feels insecure at different points of their career – yes, your boss included. It’s human nature after all, to worry and be afraid of the unknown as well as something new. You won’t be the first to deal with your insecurities... nor will you be the last.

But to help you get over your insecurities, here are some common ones and how you can approach them positively.

#1 I’m worried I’ll say something stupid
Most people fear they will say something stupid and others will just look them as if it’s been confirmed that they’ve always known there’s very little going on up there. This doesn’t just happen at work; it happens in almost all social settings. The thing is nobody’s perfect. You will have your bright moments... and then some not so bright ones. But what’s important is you try and share your opinions rather than keep mum and not contribute at all. You never know, what you think sounds stupid can actually lead to something clever after many rounds of brainstorming. That’s how great ideas start in the first place!

#2 I don’t know what’s going on
You’re at a meeting with your boss at a client’s and everyone’s rambling in jargons and buzzwords you don’t get. So you nod your head like you understand what’s going on but deep down inside, you’re thinking “Huh??”

You know what – you may not be the only person in the room having the same thought. The person talking may just be an expert on the matter or have been working in the industry for years. What you could do is jot down notes and research on your own time or maybe even ask your boss privately to further explain things for you. He’ll appreciate the honesty and your willingness in wanting to learn more.

#3 I don’t think I’m pulling my weight around the office
It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing what’s expected of you, especially when it seems like everyone’s so on point and so on cue. Or if you’re in a meeting and everyone’s just firing off ideas and you’re like zipppp.....

Nobody wants to be known as the person who doesn’t add any value but you also don’t want to be known as the person who speaks without thinking. So instead of trying to force ideas out of yourself because of peer pressure, it makes more sense to think about it more, do some research and then approach your boss privately to share these ideas if the good ones come along. And even if they don’t, keep trying. Your next big idea will soon pop up.

#4 Everyone will eventually find out I’m a fraud
That’s probably the biggest insecurity most people have – that their colleagues will find out that they are not as smart, creative, ambitious, outgoing as they may appear to be. The thing is we sometimes put on a front at the office to portray a better version of what we want to be. Nothing wrong with that; it’s always good to aim to better ourselves. But if you’re putting on a front that’s completely opposite of what you are or makes you feel uncomfortable having to wear that mask every day at work, then it’s time to evaluate why you’re doing it. If it is because you’re afraid your colleagues won’t like the real you, ask yourself this – is the real you all that bad? The best way to approach this is to be yourself and genuine. What your colleagues will find out is that you’ve been insincere if you’ve been a fake all these while.

#5 I don’t know how to act around my colleagues or boss
Feeling insecure about social situations at work is common; chances are your colleagues feel the same way too. There’s no need to do a grand gesture to be noticed or go all out for your colleagues and boss to remember you. Start small. Be kind, offer help, be honest and be sincere. Start with easy conversations like what they did over the weekend or what they thought of last night’s game. Then, work your way up to asking your colleagues what they are doing for lunch and eventually, if they would like to check out this new dinner joint after work. It’s the same as making friends – just be yourself!

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

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