I walked back into work after being off for just over a month and Ohh boy… My colleagues were REALLY happy to see me.
You see my boss had a temper. When something wasn’t perfect his face would turn bright red almost like a cartoon character about ready to explode.
I could see that red face coming from a mile away. I did what every normal professional would do. I snuck out the other side of the cubical and ran to the bathroom. Childishly hiding there for thirty minutes hoping he would calm down or get a phone call or better yet, maybe he would be called to a meeting.
That women’s bathroom was my safe place. It was my way of surviving the workday.
It wasn’t that my boss was a monster, he was just old school. I was his employee and he was the boss. If a mistake was made, he yelled.
My colleagues were happy to see me back because when things go wrong my boss just needed someone to blame and without me there he was yelling at everyone else.
Why were they spared when I was there?
I did a great job but I had ZERO confidence. I was young, quiet, inexperienced, and didn’t stand up for myself. This was my first REAL full-time job.
How could I have built my self-confidence at work?
1.) Be proud of your work: When you work hard on a project be proud of it and take your credit. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.
My Mistake: I didn’t want to be braggy, so I often went unnoticed. It is not braggy to be proud of how hard you worked on a project and to say I’m really happy how this worked out.
2.) Keep a log of successful projects: Create a google doc log of your successful projects. This makes it easy to update and is a great reminder of how valuable you are.
My Mistake: I didn’t keep a list, I often forgot all the wonderful things I did.
3.) Hang out with people that enjoy their jobs: Skip the whinny “I hate my job” lunches. Negativity spreads. If that is all you talk about at lunch it is time to start looking for something that makes you happy.
My Mistake: I had lunch bitch sessions about my job. Sure I blew off steam but then I came back to work miserable.
4.) Ask for a yearly review and write a yearly review of yourself: Yearly reviews often get pushed, make sure you get yours. It is important to know what others feel you are doing well or could improve on. It is also important for you to let the higher up know how you think you are doing… Good thing you have been keeping that list of successful projects you’ve worked on.
My Mistake: If they didn’t bring up a review, I sure as hell didn’t. I was scared of a negative review. I shouldn’t have been because I was awesome.
5.) It is ok to make a mistake if you learn from it: Mistakes happen, don’t be so hard on yourself. Admit you made a mistake, figure out how it won’t happen again, then move on to the next challenge.
My Mistake: I got caught up on my mistakes and it took me forever to forgive myself and move on.
6.) Learn new skills: Take a course or learn new software. Growing your skillsets makes you more valuable at work. Then show your new skills off.
My Mistake: I did learn new skills but I never pushed to use them. It wasn’t until I started working from home where I put those skills to use.
7.) Apply for other jobs: Don’t wait until you don’t have a job. Send out your resume and go on the interviews. You deserve to see what possibilities are around.
My Mistake: I waited until after I quit to start looking for jobs. This made it harder to find a new job. Employers like the idea that you are employed because it shows that you are responsible.
8.) Ask for a raise: You work hard, have a list of successful projects, and have interest from other employers. You are valuable and should have no problem getting a raise.
My Mistake: Title bumps are not raises unless they come with a bump in pay! I took a title bump one year and was promised a raise the following year. If you are taking on more responsibility make sure to get PAID.
9.) Take time off: Vacation days were made for a reason. Everyone needs time off to self reflect. They also give your co-workers some time to miss your awesome help.
My Mistake: I never took vacations. I thought that it showed that I was a hard worker and someone that my work could count on. I needed a break and they never really could see what work would be like without me there.
10.) Stand up for yourself: Don’t let others push you around or yell at you! Simply say, we will talk once you calm down.
My Mistake: I never stood up for myself. I just stood there getting yelled at. If I had stood up for myself I would have been demanding to be respected. Not standing up for myself was my biggest mistake.
Hope you liked my tips on being more self-confident at work.
P.S. Post in the comments some of your tips for gaining self-confidence.