Dropping the ball at work


Do you think you ever reach a time in your working life when you are confident in your abilities?

I had the day from hell at work yesterday and it reduced me to a blubbering mess and eroded all my confidence in my ability to do my job.

One of my responsibilities is to proof read and edit my organisation’s publications. I had recently completed a major project against conflicting deadlines and was quite proud of myself for managing my workload so well.

But yesterday when I walked into the office, my colleague met me in the doorway and said these ominous words, “You may want to turn around and go back home.”

Not a great way to start the day, eh?

As I walked in, I saw my manager holding the publication I thought I had done so well with. Her face was stormy and I could tell she was mightily pissed off. She is normally very understanding and laid back, so I knew it was serious.

She told me that I had left out a high level manager in the section that outlined the organisation’s structure. It was one of those mistakes that is so obvious and silly and I had absolutely no excuse as to how it happened.

Well, I DO have excuses, but that’s just what they are – lame excuses.  I have been struggling with a yukky cold/flu for three weeks; we had lost two days at work due to a major event and I had actually relied on the approval of the author of the report to assume it was all correct.

All very viable excuses, but certainly nothing exonerating.

As I was standing there dumbstruck, all I could say was “How did that happen?!”

And my manager’s response through gritted teeth was, “I don’t care HOW it happened, just fix it!  The CEO has noticed the mistake and I am really angry about this.”

And that’s all it took for me to suddenly feel two inches high and like a work experience student.  It wiped out my 10 + years in the communications industry, my previous successful projects and my wealth of experience. I felt like a failure and just wanted to cry.

Luckily the tears held off until my manager went in to a meeting.  There’s nothing worse than crying at your desk at work.  Especially when you are a female.  It makes you look weak and stupid.

Thankfully I have a great team of women who rallied around me and made me feel a lot better.  And they also told me in a caring way, that if I cried again they’d have to slap me!

So I sucked it up and went about correcting the mistake.

But it got me thinking if there does come a time when you can shrug these things off, buckle down and correct the mistakes and move on without feeling like a failure.

I am nearly 40 and get rattled by the way my confidence in my work skills is still so delicate that it can be crushed by an angry look from my manager!

Will I ever grow up?

Luckily I have a day off today, so when I return to work tomorrow, all may be forgotten and forgiven. Until the next time….

Suddenly, being a stay at home Mum looks very appealing!

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