GRE Jitters

In a frustratingly ironic twist after yesterday’s post, I woke up today feeling stressed out and worried about the coming week. I know that worrying never helps anything; it’s only a hindrance. I try to stay positive and confident, but sometimes my nerves get the best of me.

I bought a book today to help me study for the GRE. I haven’t had time to study for the exam at all, and I really only have today to study (until Friday night after my midterms). I wish my scores still counted (I took the exam six years ago), or that my master’s degree would let me waive the requirement, but no such luck.

My jitters today may have also been compounded by a conversation I had with my brother this morning. He’s having a rough time in medical school, and he feels like his classmates are outperforming him. I told him that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. All that matters is that he tries his best; worrying and comparing himself to others will only make things worse and more difficult. After all the positive advice I was giving to him, I got to thinking about my own upcoming challenges. I need to heed my own advice.

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High Hopes

Most days after work, my friend/boss will sit me down and see how I’m doing. Sometimes it’s just a simple status report on what I’m working on, but sometimes, like today, it’s more of a developmental meeting.

My friend/boss has high hopes for me. He wants me to have more responsibilities, make more decisions, and move beyond my current capacity. He’s always looking for ways to help me grow and learn so that this job can be a valuable opportunity for me.

It’s great that my friend/boss has my best interests in mind, but I’m constantly afraid that I’m not going to do well at what he asks of me. I sometimes already feel overwhelmed by the work I do now, not because it’s difficult but because of the sheer amount that needs to be done. Having responsibilities which require deeper thinking will require even more time and energy, and I’m not sure if I can handle it.

Honestly, the biggest hindrance to my development is my confidence in myself. I often feel anxious and nervous when I think about the various things my friend/boss wants me to do, but I know that I would regret declining the chance.

Even though I’m incredibly hesitant to move forward (being comfortable where I am is safe), I’m still choosing to take on more responsibilities. I know this will be good for me in the long run.

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I Don’t Know

I made another (big) mistake today. I received a phone call from a client asking a question about one of our products. I really can’t think on the spot, especially when I don’t know the answer, so I froze up.

I fumbled my words a little (a lot) and told the client that I would transfer him to someone who knew more, but my friend/boss was busy. I asked a coworker what I should do, but in the end I had to get my friend/boss to answer the call. Unfortunately, the client hung up by then. My friend/boss had to call him back and explain what happened.

I felt terrible. Apparently, the client doesn’t like me and almost definitely thinks I’m an idiot. My friend/boss says it’s inevitable. He said that all of our clients thought he was just a stupid little kid when he first started, but now he makes all the decisions.

Because I’m so incredibly self-conscious, my confidence level is really low. I don’t have the courage to just say “I don’t know” and tell the person that I or someone else will call him back. It sounds easy to say now, but I always get nervous when I’m actually in the siuation.

The funny thing is that I remember telling myself in the morning that I would try to be more confident in my abilities today. That clearly didn’t stick.

No Future

I asked my store team leader about the meeting he had yesterday with my interviewer. He told me that my interviewer thought I came off as very nervous during the interview and suggested that I start as a regular team leader to gain more leadership experience before trying to become an executive team leader.

The team leader position is definitely a step up from my current position, but it’s also a world away from being an executive. Team leaders are paid hourly at about 1.5 times my pay rate (think of cashews instead of peanuts), whereas executive team leaders are paid a (decent) salary.

I’m disappointed in the situation, but mostly I’m frustrated with myself. I really didn’t feel nervous before the interview. I even felt almost confident. But once the interview started, I became a different person. Once I’m in the interview environment, my brain shuts down and my nerves take over. If I consciously know that someone is judging me, my ability to articulate thoughts is thrown out the window.

My fear of failing at interviews causes me to fail at interviews. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m starting to wonder if my fear of being judged stems from being closeted for so long. I’ve been so afraid that people would find out that I’m gay that I get nervous and defensive when all eyes are on me.

The worst part of this whole situation is that my severe lack of interviewing skills will prevent me from getting any job which requires an interview, which is pretty much any job worth getting. My parents tell me that the only way to become comfortable during interviews is to go to a lot of interviews. But that implies that I will fail at interviews countless times before eventually getting my first job. Considering that I’ve never gotten a call back for an interview from any job to which I’ve applied (except Target, which barely counts because I had connections), just getting the “practice” interviews for me to fail at could take years. I really am unemployable.

My store team leader said that I shouldn’t reapply for the executive team leader position for at least six months (to let my name pass through the system). Given that, I don’t know how much longer I should stay at Target. I basically have no future there. I don’t really want to quit without having another job to fall back on, but I can’t just sit on this job forever.

Since my life has no meaning or direction, needless to say I was pretty down all day. My work crush tried to cheer me up a little bit (in his straight guy, arm’s length distant way), but even interaction with him was little solace.

Not My Day

I’ve been having a bad day. I woke up really late (close to 1pm) and it’s all been downhill from there. I’ve been feeling off and nervous all day. I went to the bank to deposit a check for my mom, and I dropped my shiny new cell phone in the parking lot. It still works, luckily, but there are some scratches on it. I’m obsessive about the condition of my stuff (for example, I don’t buy used books), so this is a bigger deal to me than it sounds.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything, so I decided not to study and just came home to try to relax. I still feel anxious for no reason. I feel like something bad could happen at any minute.

To leave you with something a little more uplifting, I found this commercial on YouTube that I used to see on TV: