Worried About My Work

Question:

Recently, I have been falling behind in my work. I am now starting to catch up, but I feel as though I let my supervisor down. I felt as though I had to tell him that I was falling behind and when I did, he said “No problem”. Finally, last week, he said, “something has to give, here”. I feel terrible and I don’t know what to do.

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

I notice this is the third concern you have mentioned recently that essentially involves you being too hesitant to communicate with your boss about your work–and your work is not as good as it used to be. You have mentioned that you are behind in your work and that you don’t want to ask questions so work isn’t getting done.

I don’t know whether this is the result of a bad experience in the past, a lack of confidence for some other reason or part of your inherent personality. However, without wanting to cause you undue concern I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you that you may well lose your job if you don’t find a way to get past this barrier. As you noticed from your supervisor’s comments, supervisors and others are at first empathetic and understanding about someone who is trying to do well but having problems After awhile the realities of work requirements take over. Work has to be done and salaries have to be earned. At some point the feeling is that no matter how pleasant or committed someone is and no matter how hard they are trying, they are simply not being the employee they were hired to be. They become more trouble than they are worth. You don’t want to be viewed that way, I know.

Consider seeking professional assistance from a counselor or others to whom you can fully explain your situation and concerns and what might be adding to them. If you have a trusted work friend, talk to him or her about it. If you have a trusted resource away from work, discuss this with that person. Those people will know you and may be able to help you pinpoint ways to improve the situation.

One of the first things a professional counselor will ask is, “What have you tried to do to improve things, how consistently did you try and how did it work out?” That is a good question to ask yourself as well. You have mentioned in each message that you feel terrible about some action or inaction of yours. But, feeling terrible doesn’t make it better for you or for your work. You have to DO something to improve the situation.

Changing old habits and developing a new and stronger approach to work requires exercising the mind and the spirit. That takes persistence and determination, but only you can provide those things.

Something has to change, doesn’t it? Will it be your supervisor’s expectations? I doubt it. So, the change will have to involve your willingness to ask for help, to improve your work, to learn to communicate–or perhaps to say that the job you have is not the right one for you.

Best wishes to you as you decide how you want to deal with this and what you are willing to do to bring about the changes that are needed.

Please keep us informed of your progress. We are concerned on your behalf and would like to see a happy resolution to this ongoing situation that is causing you such distress.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.