Paranoid?

Question:

I am in a role where I feel very uneasy and uncomfortable at work. I am unsure if I am being paranoid about the work that I’m making errors or whether it is simply that they do not like me. I feel I have done nothing to them. Should I just look for a new job? I have asked on several occasions if I have made errors and performance review went ok as well. They have not told me once that I have made errors etc

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

Obviously you don’t feel that you belong in your workplace. I’m sure it is unpleasant to come to work day after day and to have that feeling from the time you enter until you leave. From what you have said in your question, I am not able to know how long you have been employed in this place, but at least you’ve been there long enough to have had a performance review and that went well. Nor am I able to know if your job entails working with others. But I would assume your job is largely working alone and that a supervisor monitors and evaluates your performance. So far that has been satisfactory.

Are you paranoid, and does that cause you to make errors? Perhaps, but your satisfactory performance review should assure you that if you have made mistakes they haven’t been serious. Are you paranoid thinking that others don’t like you or do they really don’t like you? Possibly your coworkers don’t like you, but more than likely they simply have not the good manners to make you feel wanted. Or perhaps you feel disliked because you have not the personality to become one of the gang in your work group and have struck them as a loner. Some of us fit in easily and are the life of the party. Others of us have not developed social skills. You might fit in this later category. Can you change this feeling “that they do not like me”?

Probably you have fallen into a pattern of not being one of those who share non-work talk. But perhaps with a special effort to be friendly, to smile, and be politely cooperative you will find one or two with whom you can do more than say hello. Since you are lonely, you might find someone there with whom you can frankly disclose that and ask her advice about what you might do to be accepted. Should you allow this feeling of not being liked to force you to look for work elsewhere? Will the grass be greener at another workplace? That is uncertain and now getting work elsewhere is not a sure thing. Should you quit? My advice is No if you are able to do the work and need the job.

I guess from what little you disclose in your question that you think of this as just a job; a way to earn enough to keep the wolf from the door. You probably will see your job that way unless and until you can think of it as a step along a career path. You don’t have to be a professional or a technician to have a career. Ordinary work is a career path for those who bring job skills to it or develop them on the job. I have a niece in California who learned skills on the job so well that her company sent her to one of its plants in England to train workers. So might you look at your life and consider how you might develop job skills that make you able to add value to wherever you are employed? If you do that, I predict you will come to feel you are wanted, and work, no matter how hard or boring it may be, will be meaningful. And a byproduct of that will be that you feel you belong. The hard fact is that some coworkers are not warm. Some gossip about and put down coworkers who don’t easily fit in. That might make them feel superior or simply give them a way to pass the day. You will have to determine if you can keep your chin up and not allow others to make you a victim. Does this make sense? You might find additional guidance in my associate Workplace Doctor Tina Lewis Rowe’s site. Just click on her name on our home page. She is the wisest most business savvy person I know and her site has advice for every kind of situation.

Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that what you need; to feel a part of something good.

William Gorden