My Biggest Roadblock is Myself

It’s a big thing to say – that you are your own roadblock, getting in your own way. But I am.

More specifically not speaking up in a professional context. I’m terrified that an employer will be angry with me for admitting that I need more stimulation or that something isn’t working.  I usually just silently look for another job rather than face the embarrassment of telling someone that I hate going to work.

I’m generally pretty positive about my job.  I get the warm fuzzies when someone comes into an interaction grumpy but I make them happier by resolving their problems. I love it when you wrestle with a tricky issue for a couple days and finally solve the puzzle.

But lately, not so much. What’s making me unhappy is that feeling that I’m no longer learning anything new.  The only opportunities being made available are the super techy/propellerheady things that not only push me further away from the customer, but just bore me to tears.  So recently I surprised everyone (including myself) by speaking up in my performance review and telling my boss that I’m just not feeling the love right now.

To put it in perspective, this is only the second time in my career that I have asked for what I wanted. The first was returning to work post maternity leave when I asked for and got a little bit of flexibility in my start times so I could be there a little more for Bear. My manager and I debated back and forth about it for a few weeks but in the end I stood firm and got what I wanted.  At the time I was able to stand firm because I knew this was make or break for me. It was get flexibility or leave. No ifs or buts about it.  That negotiation process helped me understand that my work has value. I have value. It’s knowledge I’ve spent over 15 years of my working life just not learning.

So what happened with my performance review you ask? There’s a happy ending to this story! Far from being irritated with me, my manager was ecstatic and a decision was made that I can focus on the software/applications side which made me extremely happy – I’m good at it and it’s something that no-one else is really interested in. Everybody wins!

Once I started speaking up, I realised I’ve spent most of my life bitching about work, and not enough time constructively asking my managers for the assistance I needed. Sometimes it’s not enough to plug away in silence and hope someone notices – you have to be assertive and ask for what you want.

What’s your biggest roadblock at the moment? Confess in the comments or join the linkup over at My Home Truths!

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10 comments

  1. I think that’s fan area that is really hard for some people – I feel like an advantage of having had a lot of contract work is that I have to be able to speak up for myself and express my skills, wants etc. But the downside is that as a contract worker – people don’t care about your long term development.

    1. I remember that from when I was contracting. I actually stopped because I was so bad at negotiating my hourly rate that I’d always end up with less than everyone else.

  2. I think our biggest roadblocks are always ourselves.
    After changes in hours (not wanted by anyone) and the discussions that went with we all discovered yet again how we are not valued and are easily replaceable. For now I’m just going with it until I work out what is next.

  3. The ex real estate agent in me, means I’m fairly competent in negotiating and getting my point across but then again, I suppose I can come across as over bearing. Hubby on the other hand struggles to sell himself in an interview or performance review.

    1. I’m very much like your husband. I’ve been told by a previous manager that I don’t interview well when I really want something, instead I turn into a robot with no social skills because I’m nervous. It’s definitely something I’ve been working on.

  4. Oh that sounds great. I’ve recently restarted work after a couple of years of doing some contract stuff. Before that I worked for 25yrs straight so pretty much knew how to play the game. I’m struggling a bit now but don’t know my boss well enough to talk about how I feel. I’m not sure if it’s just being back in the work force (albeit on a part-time basis), or if it’s the project I’m working on (has a lot of cynicism attached), or if it’s just not challenging enough. I think I’ll hang tight for a little while and see if I settle down a little.

  5. Good on you for speaking up. My last job started out as my “dream job” but within 5 years – thanks to a change in management – became boring as. I would have stayed til I retired because it was close to home, “secure” etc … luckily (!) I got made redundant and forced to do something else instead!!!

  6. That’s a great result. It’s not easy to really be honest with your manager, particularly when it comes to work satisfaction issues but I’m so pleased you spoke up and got what you wanted. Go you!

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