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Day 9 Why, yes! I have been hyper-critical of myself...

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Layne, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I am always super critical of myself. Most recently, however, is at my job. Now, I am “just” a server but I always try to give 100% to whatever I am doing and right now, I am serving. I see every day as an opportunity to make others happy. I have the power through a smile, an interaction, etc… to make someone’s day better or worse.
    Because of the fatigue and foggy headedness I never really feel “all there.” In fact, I feel like most days I am on auto pilot. Being a server requires fast paced, constant movement, multi-tasking and a good attitude. I work for a company that is well known for hiring exceptionally interesting, eclectic and efficient people. From the very start I have felt somewhat out of place in that I feel like I don’t measure up to my co-workers. Even though people keep telling me they wouldn’t have hired me if I weren’t exceptional – it’s incredibly difficult to get a job with this company as there is hardly any turnover and their standards are just that high. I had to go through 10 interviews! For a serving job! Needless to say, there is quite a bit of pressure for just a serving job.

    Anyway, I have been making quite a few mistakes and have been unintentionally flaky – forgetting in-times and not getting shift changes approved by managers. I have NEVER been this flaky at a job and I care more about this one than any other job I’ve ever had. There is potential to move up within the company itself as well as making amazing contacts, as they have a lot of pull in the hip part of the city. Connections to art galleries and what have you… So whenever I make a mistake I am very, very hard on myself, telling myself that I need to be as good as everyone else. Now, here I intellectually understand that I have only been there 2 months and a lot of the employees have been with the company several years. They do something called group service in that we all do everything rather than just concentrate on our individual sections and pool our tips which keeps us each accountable as we are responsible for our money and the team’s money.

    I have been “talked to” by management a few times and I even got defensive with my manager when she told me that I need to ask for help if I need it. Only problem is, I had no idea I needed help… Again, I intellectually understand the value of immediate feedback; I would rather be told straight up what needs to be fixed but at the same time, I obviously felt attacked. My reasoning was that my feelings were hurt because I felt that I was giving 100%.

    I feel silly even caring this much about a meaningless job – but I believe that it’s “training” for a better job later, as I know that I will encounter the same types of situations no matter where I work so I want to understand workplace dynamics now, in a job that doesn’t really matter, for when I do get my dream job.

    Having been in college for about 9 years, I became very good at accepting criticism in an academic setting but having been out of work while in Grad school, I lack the ability to accept criticism in the workplace.
  2. nanna

    nanna New Member

    Forgive me if im wrong as im very new to this, but sounds like you have the perfect attitude. From what im reading it sounds more like you don't feel like you are contributing to a worthy or real job. Like your ashamed of what you do that it's not good enough. Any job is a worthy job even if it's serving fast food at a drive threw. Mind you this is all just my option, but not just anyone could do your job. I have been in the finance business, retail owner, and office work. The only reason I never did what you do was not because i thought it was a bad job but because i didnt believe it was one i could handle. Sounds to me that you just need to give yourself credit were credit is due. Don't be so hard on yourself it takes time to get a routines down in a new job and im sure everyone has been in your shoes.
    Jilly likes this.
  3. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I appreciate that, thank you! And yes, I do feel like it is somewhat "below" me, as I just graduated with my Masters and I want to be contributing to a greater good.
    Jilly likes this.
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I would agree with Nanna's observations Layne. I think we all have a tendency to assess our own value using societies misconstrued standards. I briefly worked in the service industry and there is nothing easy about it. You don't get to have a "bad" day in that industry. I think you need to give yourself more credit for the service you are performing. As Nanna said, not everyone could do that job, it takes an incredible amount of patience for one thing. You are held responsible for all sorts of things that are completely out of your control simply because you are there (like the fact that the bartender is backed up and the drinks aren't coming as quickly as the consumer would like, or the fact that the parents of the screaming 2 year old at the next table have miraculously tuned him out even thought the rest of the patrons have no such ability). You positively are not JUST a server. The very fact that you are able to perform that job well enough to even be considered for hire by an establishment with the standards you've described is certainly testimony to that fact. My guess is that the majority of patrons come there to escape the stresses and strains of their daily lives...they come there to relax and recharge, without you they have no chance of reaching that goal.

    I wish I could take the credit for this enlightened view, but it has all come from my sister. Ironically, she and I were having a very similar discussion earlier today about the value of a "job" but the players in question were me and my own job. I babysat for extra income when I was in high school (2 decades ago). I had to leave my "good" thankless job when the pain got too bad to continue over a year ago. A few months ago I had to figure out something that I could do to earn some money, relieve some strain from my husband, make ends meet, and not cause myself physical pain. Somehow I came up with the idea of being a nanny. As much as I enjoy children and as important as I think the raising of a child is, in my mind I am stuck on this thought that I am just a baby-sitter. That what I do is somehow less important than the job of the people sitting in the office where I used to work. My sister graciously pointed out all the positive, meaningful aspects of what I do (I'm still not sold but at least I have her voice in my head breaking up my own dialog now) and hopefully some of her message will help you see yourself in a new light too.
    Jilly likes this.
  5. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I absolutely see where you ladies are coming from and I really appreciate the support.
    Jilly likes this.
  6. Dear Lianne

    Dear Lianne Peer Supporter

    Hi Layne - Years ago, I was a waitress full-time after having graduated with a Master's degree in Human Development from Harvard University. I was a waitress at Brigham's Ice Cream Restaurants which was considered a family-friendly diner-like atmosphere. I worked with two other wonderful waitresses who had high school diplomas and lived in the projects where life could be rather challenging for them. They did not really trust me at first, as they knew that I was a college graduate. That was the first count against me; I was not "one of them" and I was viewed as having a silver spoon in my mouth (which definitely was not the case). Still, it took time for me to recognize that this lowly position (in my mind at the time) had the most lessons to teach. I too enjoyed making people feel happy. Fortunately, I had a wonderful manager who made life at work literally "fun" and so did these other two women waitresses. I learned tolerance and patience and compassion in serving clients who were arriving for a soothing cup of coffee, or a cup of soup, or a sympathetic ear. My boss was so humorous that I swear to this day that people came into the restaurant to feel his leavening effect through humor. After nearly 3 years of this restaurant, however, I was losing my energy and enthusiasm for the position. I was young (in my mid-20's) and eager to get a real "meaningful job". I did acquire that meaningful position and spent nearly 24 years at several colleges as an administrator, doing what I loved. I've since left college administration because of personal life choices, but it hasn't been easy giving up my beloved career. Who knows, I may return someday. When I worked at the college, people would often remark that I was able to deal with so many different personalities on campus and that I had an incredible tolerance for difficult behaviors exhibited by students and staff alike (not sure that tolerance is a good thing - could be the beginning of the TMS back pain syndrome - LOL!) Anyway, what I am saying to you is that my menial waitressing job strengthened me to deal with just about anything - that's why I was so capable of handling the challenges of a college campus with all its amazing, diverse personalities. I thrived in academe because of that Brigham's experience. Try not to focus on "status" too much. I detect that that means much to you, and that's okay. Just don't let the title, money, car, boyfriend or girlfriend, home address or any other status symbol rule your life. There is an inner you that knows your highest reason for being and you are where you are for a reason, even if it's rather frustrating to you right now. All will become apparent in time. It might well be time for you to move on to a new position where you feel appreciated and are more included for your worthy contributions. If you did not know that you did not know to ask for help - that is rather telling. Us TMS patients often are perfectionists and frankly, I've not known a perfectionist who is willing to show vulnerability in asking a basic question about how to do something they believe should be self-evident. If you wish to repair your current employee status, I would recommend you speak with your manager and indicate that you've done some soul searching and that you realize that you have a hard time asking for assistance (if this is true for you) and that you did not know you needed to ask for help, or that you could ask for help. It may be that your manager and colleagues in the restaurant have misconstrued your not asking for help as thinking you're "above them". This may be totally untrue, but I found that restaurant personnel were often placed on the defensive when miss college arrived at their doorstep :) You must earn their trust and part of doing so is acknowledging that they are just as worthy as you.

    So consider that you can influence people positively when you are serving them. The pain we all carry around is best soothed by a comforting server with a sincere smile and an intelligent ability to converse. I have no doubt that your education, whether realized of not, is literally serving your customers in ways that you are perhaps unaware.

    You may be sabotaging yourself by forgetting to ask for shift changes, getting defensive to constructive criticism from your manager, and being "flaky" as you say. You might be subconsciously sending a message to the universe that you want "out". If that is the case, you might wish to start looking around for new work. But in the meantime, change your thoughts to change your work experience. Look at your job as meaningful.

    It sounds like 10 interviews is somewhat excessive, but it's obvious that you would have been screened out if you did not show the management that you were a good fit for their restaurant. I wish you the best with your situation. Restaurant work is very challenging and being smart is important. Recalling everyone's order, being the table-side counselor to so many people, taking orders from so many, coping with the chef and dishwasher and accountant, coping with screaming patrons (I once had someone throw pennies at me as a tip - we did not have enough staff there that day, so he was angry that I was slow to get to his table) and dealing with competing co-workers (you compete whether is obvious or not) for ideal shifts, etc. is a good foundation for the world of work, no matter where you go in the future. Good luck!
    Jilly likes this.
  7. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Hi Layne,
    Your story is very revealing. All your TMS personality traits are activated.
    needing to be a perfectionist
    wanting to please others
    hating to be criticized
    being your own worst critic
    having low self-esteem
    having anxiety and fear
    I have all these too. Journaling about your individual personality traits during this program will be so revealing to you.
    Jilly likes this.
  8. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    Eeeew Sandy I feel resistant when you say that lol. I know they're there but to have someone else point them out actually triggers mild anger (I know I can say that to you and I hope you know it's nothing personal). I've actually thought that, per my need to please, I have found serving to be something I absolutely enjoy, even though it's exhausting. I really do want to be a positive force in the world and I do want to do all I can do to avoid being a source of unhappiness for others. I have a hard time believing that my wanting to help and love others is, in all cases, a source for TMS pain. I think that if that were the case then all spiritual seekers would be prone to TMS, yeah? I am not trying to be combative, just engaging in dialogue in order to understand...

    Lianne - I really appreciate your response. It's so thoughtful. I resonate with everything you say, especially learning tolerance and compassion. Also I have found that it is very humbling. And I absolutely agree with it being a good foundation for later positions. I was just telling someone the other day that I believe there are certain "political" and "logistic" aspects of any working environment that one must learn to navigate, that I am learning here.
    Jilly likes this.
  9. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I don't necessarily think your wanting to help and love others is a source for TMS pain in all cases on it's very own, Layne. Both are admirable qualities in themselves. It seems the trouble with those two noble wants actually begins when they clash or join forces with other aspects of your personality. For example, you want to help and love others - then the perfectionist gets on board - so you have to be the absolute best helper or lover imaginable, anything less is simply insufficient. Then there's always the possibility that behaviors you believe to be helpful or loving do not carry that same meaning to the person you're trying to apply them to - the benefactor of your help or love then is not pleased, may even criticize your efforts - triggering a whole new round of self-beating, failure thoughts for you. All of this adds stress, fear, and anger - which of course are all unacceptable and unpleasant to your perfectionist/people-pleaser traits so efforts are made to bury them - end result anxiety and TMS pain.
  10. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Have you looked at the TMS personality traits on the home page? I initially thought I only had a few but I kept going back and reviewing them. After a few weeks I found I had them all.

    Through journaling you will have to decide the role people pleasing plays in your life. As a small child wanting to receive any kind of attention from my Mother, I watched everything about her. I watched every sigh, every fascial expression, every unhappiness cross her face, every shrug, listened to her words, her tone of voice. I watched to see if anything I did made her happy... usually not.

    I carried this into adulthood. Nobody even has to speak. I see and hear all their body language to see if they are happy with what I did. When they are not happy this turns into depression and physical pain for me. Of course, the other personality traits come in to play too.

    Only you can figure out how it all connects for you.
    Jilly likes this.
  11. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Many of the TMS personality traits are wonderful strengths. Each of us have to become aware of also how they can drive pain. Then the awareness will help you manage them.
  12. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    I think these behaviors are built into us as we look to these important parental figures as archetypes for survival in our early development. It's normal to want to pattern ourselves after our mothers and fathers. It's actually quite sweet and enduring for the perpetuation of the human race (in non dysfunctional families, but all families have some form of dysfunction).When I understood this concept it took a lot of the sting out of my behaviors towards wanting to please my mother (the grip she had on me !). And at some point I rejected her example. Accepting and understanding my own motives and behaviors allowed me to have more grace towards them and see them as separate individuals, that much of what they did was not because of me, it was because of their own pain. It paved the way for acceptance and enlightenment which is my pathway to healing. This knowledge also works with many other types relationships, it's quite freeing. * hugs

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