New Employee Dreads to Go to Work

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about working scared: I’m so afraid of making another mistake that I’m dreading going into work. How do I handle this?

I’m a new employee at a company. I’ve only been at for 3 weeks. My boss’ husband is the warehouse manager. I’m still learning and yes making some mistakes. He came up to my desk today and raised his voice at me and swore saying this is ***&^& ridiculous and something better change soon. He’s got me so upset. My boss, who’s his wife, said nothing when he did that. Other people on my floor I’m sure heard it. I enter orders and send them to him to process. I’m so afraid of making another mistake that I’m dreading going into work. How do I handle this?

Signed, Dread Going To Work

Dear Dread Going To Work:

Making mistakes is normal when learning a new job. Being cussed is not normal or acceptable. You have been cussed. That’s enough. You can allow this incident to cause you to walk on eggs and to not make another mistake. Right? Wrong. You will make another mistake and try to hide it from your manager. Right? Wrong. Or you can talk to your friends and family about how your manager lost his temper and raised his voice and swore. Right? Wrong. You can become a walking case of dread, playing and replaying this incident in your head. Right? Wrong. Or you can get nerves of steel and determine that your manager is just like that and you will have to work and worry that you might displease him again. Right? Wrong.

There must be a better way, and there is. You have some alternatives. Wait until your manager again explodes over a mistake and be ready with, “Mr. Brown, I have dreaded to come to work since you cussed me out once when I made a mistake a few days after I was hired. I’ve tried since to be extra careful not to make mistakes. Learning how to dance perfectly takes practice. I know you want me to dance perfectly, but please don’t blow up and cussing me. I work better when you help me learn this job well. If I can suit you, fire me, but don’t cuss me again.”

That is too long a speech, isn’t it? But something like this in your own words isn’t too long to say if and when you ask for a few minutes to meet with him now. It could begin with, “Mr. Brown, I know what I did wrong made you mad a few days after I was hired. Am I doing better now? If not, can you train me without loud cussing? I’ve dreaded to come to work since that day. I don’t want to upset you. I just want to do good work and help this warehouse run smoothly. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Talk about how we talk to each other is too often what we avoid. Rather we worry about how we are talked to and talked about. Talking with your manager about how he talked with you is an opportunity for you to have a frank talk about how you want to learn your job and how you do and don’t want to be talked to. I predict that if you have the courage to do that that he will respect you for that. One such talk might not completely change the swearing habit, and you might need to check in with him soon again to ask how you are doing.

Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. The payoff of a successful job, work group and company hinges of attitude and frequent communication.

William Gorden