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All around, seems like I'm not good enough

#1
Here's some background: I am attending college, have been for four years. My academics have been all over the place as it seems like one semester can be more difficult than another, which results in lower grades. I went to college straight out of high school and have always felt as though I never gave myself a break. I also work while going to school and my days are long and tiring. I'm only 22.
I was hired by a department already within my field in my third year of college, but upon working there for a year, my performance has seem to gone down. I don't feel close to my bosses and I never get any positive reinforcement for the things I do right. Every time I hear from them, it is because I did something wrong. I am trying my absolute best right now. How can I do better than my best? How can I open up a dialogue with someone who isn't very close to me? How can I show them that I am trying my best when I'm making all these mistakes? I get talked to like I'm stupid sometimes. When filling out some paperwork, I wanted to ensure I wasn't putting in the wrong thing, so I asked "What is my classification?" before writing anything down. And my boss looked at me and said "What IS your classification? C'mon, you should know that." I asked, "What are they referring to?" to which he responded "What is your job title??" in a rather irritated voice. After that I knew what they were talking about.
Here's another example: My boss sent out an email to several people asking them if they could take on another assignment this month. I responded quickly because I though, "Even though I am making mistakes, avoiding work isn't going to make me a better employee. The more I put myself in different situations, the better I can be at protocol." So I was the first to respond to the email. He didn't get back to me until a day later and said "Thanks, but I already have it covered."
These little things build up and it pushes me even further away from being just remotely comfortable around them. It makes me resent my work. My job requires me to follow a very detailed protocol which is around 200 pages long. (You have to read it after you are hired but before you go on assignments). It is one of the hardest manuals to learn within the department.
I'm finding it difficult to process everything my brain is being fed, from school to work to family issues. I also believe I have high functioning anxiety but have never gotten a diagnosis because I don't have any health coverage where I am located. I currently just got another job at a local retail store because finances are very tight, which causes another amount of stress on my life.
My boyfriend is the only support system I have here in my college town, because family is very far away. But sometimes he doesn't really know how to help. I don't have anyone to talk to, and I feel trapped in this job because...
1.) It is a job that relates to my field. Getting any type of experience looks great on future resumes and applications.
2.) It pays better than minimum wage and compensates for personal vehicle usage, which helps with bills tremendously.
3.) If I do a good job, which I was doing well when I started, I can get good references.
4.) This is a small college town and many highly esteemed people, such as my bosses, talk with one another. If I am perceived as a bad employee, people will talk.

Jeez, does anyone have any advice?
 
#2
Hi UnsureHow,

Welcome to SF. Sorry to hear that you are going through this.

When filling out some paperwork, I wanted to ensure I wasn't putting in the wrong thing, so I asked "What is my classification?" before writing anything down. And my boss looked at me and said "What IS your classification? C'mon, you should know that." I asked, "What are they referring to?" to which he responded "What is your job title??" in a rather irritated voice. After that I knew what they were talking about.
Your boss could have just answered, "that just means your job title" in a polite way.

The problem seems to be that your boss is an asshole. It's a very common problem. I don't think you're to blame for this.

When assholes get into positions of power, they tend to become even bigger assholes then they were before, because they can get away with so much more. I bet he would flip out if someone talked to him in the exact same way, and bet if he screwed up, he'd never take the blame himself.

Imho, if your grades are sliding, and the job is making you miserable, it might be better to ditch it, if you can work that out.

If you have an academic or career advisor, they might have something useful to say. It could be that just focusing on your academics would be better for you in the long run.

Could you get financial aid that would allow you to just study?

Could you transfer schools, and maybe live with your family while you study?

I don't know what your living situation is, but it could be that living in school housing, or living with (more?) roommates could be cheaper.

If you are in the US or Canada, you might try calling 211 or visiting www.211.org . They can sometimes help with housing, employment, healthcare, food and other issues. You might be eligible for food programs like food stamps, or getting food from a community pantry, depending on your income level

I hope that something helps
 

BarryW

SF Supporter
#3
Unsure,
Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your story. May I inquire how many hours you are working per week and how many hours of classes you are taking during a semester? When I was 19-23 I was also working for the department of my major. I started out with low 20's hours but gradually increased to 30, 35, then full time. When I was working full time I was only taking 2 classes (6 hours) because that's all I could handle. Even when I was working ~22 hours a week I took only 12 hours of class, certainly not the 15+ hour "full load" that people reccommend to you which is insane unless you are unemployed. Rather than rushing through college, take your time, do a 5 year, 6 year plan, whatever.
Sorry your boss is a jerk, perhaps you can transfer to work under someone else.
How can I open up a dialogue with someone who isn't very close to me? How can I show them that I am trying my best when I'm making all these mistakes?
If you can identify 1 or 2 areas that you are making the most mistakes in at work, you can approach your boss and state that you would like to have one of your coworkers train you on these areas a little bit here and there. This shows your dedication to your job and humility. A smart boss would jump at the chance to improve their employee so easily (especially if they don't have to do anything because they won't be the one training you).
 

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