We’re on a mission to provide an affordable channel to boost your mental health. So, each week, we’re checking in with our community to see how they’re working on their mental health and their goal towards happiness. We invited to Theresa Ng, Career Coach to give us some tips and advice on how to get out of a career slump.
Q: “I left a job 2 months ago that I had been in for almost 3 years, I wanted a change, to try something new but I also wanted something that would allow me to follow my passion in my spare time, which is writing. In the last 12 months, I started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks due to pressure from a manager who belittled me and made me feel I wasn’t good enough. She would put me down for the smallest things, even though others told me I was doing a great job. It really got to me and knocked my confidence. So I found a new role which was a complete career change and my anxiety has improved massively, but I worry and overthink things if I make mistakes and wonder if I’m doing a good enough job. I’m also torn as I’m not sure if this is the right career path for me.”
A: “A toxic manager and work environment can take such a toll on your mental health and wellbeing! Having been in that situation myself and seeing others go through similar situations, I understand the impact of and repercussions of anxiety from the workplace.
First of all, congratulations on finding a new role and getting yourself OUT of that negative situation! You took the first step in removing yourself from the toxic environment. What you’re experiencing now is trauma and PTSD from your old boss. Your confidence has been bruised by your one single manager, and you’re second-guessing your every move — even though you’re a highly capable professional, and others believe in your work.
What you need to work on now is getting your confidence BACK to feeling strong and calm in your new work environment. With you being only 2 months into your job, make an effort to set weekly 1:1 touchpoints with your manager. Keep your new manager informed on what you’re doing, and ask for continuous feedback on your projects, and have an open dialogue. I would probe for questions to get her thoughts on your projects and working styles. Your boss should give you positive reinforcement and feedback during these 1:1s, and you can ask about your progress and how you are doing to gain back your confidence.
What you’re also struggling with now is imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you aren’t good enough, you don’t belong, and you don’t deserve the job. To overcome this, you need to work on positive affirmations — start by being kinder to yourself, reminding yourself every morning that you’re a confident, bright young woman. They hired YOU for the role as you are qualified and experienced. They took a chance on you and believe in you and what you do. You need to remind yourself: “I’m strong. I’m confident. My colleagues believe in me. I’m a professional with X years of experience, and I’ve done this many, many times. I believe in myself and I can do this.” In addition to this, make a list of your top 5 biggest professional accomplishments. For instance, launching a campaign, or a successful project, or achieving your targets/sales goals in the past. Write them all down, and remind yourself every day that you’ve achieved all your successes in previous roles and projects, and that you will continue achieving those successes.
Do not let one bad manager ruin your confidence which will affect your career. YOU are in control now. You took control of your next steps in life by getting a new job, now take control of your imposter syndrome and anxiety. Write down your goals of how you will knock your anxiety out of the park, and what steps you’ll take to get there. You’ve already done step 1, which was leaving your job. The next steps are to get your confidence back, which will require positive affirmation, celebrating your accomplishments, and keeping your NEW manager up-to-date on your projects for feedback and positive affirmation. Remember: YOU are in control. YOU are the professional, and your new team hired YOU for your skills and expertise. There’s no one better that can do this job than you!” – Theresa Ng, Career Coach