Friday, 18 June 2010

Confidence Tricks

It's started.

I am officially a consultant.  I've got business cards and everything*.  I'm back on the intranet.

I've just pressed send on my first piece of work.

And I'm terrified.  This wasn't a particularly tricky piece of work. It was for a client I know well (probably better than anyone else in the firm, which is why they want me to do it) and it's the sort of thing I like doing and I know I'm good at.  But what if it's wrong?

Because I've suddenly registered that here, 350 miles from the office, secretary-less, mentor-less, team-less, if something goes wrong, I have only myself to blame.

Now for the moment, this is ok. That work was ok, and I think I've done it, erm, ok.  But I know there's more coming my way.  And there's going to be stuff in there that I won't know how to do.  In an office, that's easy, I'd have popped next door and said something like "I know I should know how to do this but....".  But I can't do that here. Here, there's just me.  And there are only so many stupid questions you can ask someone who's employing you to do something before they start wondering why they're bothering to pay you instead of just doing it themselves.

And the thing is, I know, logically, that I can do this.  I know, realistically, that this is what I'm trained to do. I know I've been doing it well for the last ten years. I know I must be good at it because they keep telling me I am, and honestly, they surely wouldn't be paying me to do it if they didn't think it was worth it.  The problem is, I don't believe them.

I'm not sure I ever trusted that my abilities were as great as others expected them to be, but whether I did or not, I certainly don't now.  It's actually only two months since I was in the office, but it could be twenty years.  I'm rusty, and creaky, and things have changed and are changing and I don't know how, any more, to keep up with them. I don't have time to read the ordinary press, much less the legal version.  I don't know if the stuff I've forgotten is stuff that's changed and therefore I'm right to forget it, or stuff that I still need. And if it has changed, I don't know what's replaced it...

And yet they are paying me to be someone who knows, who reads, who remembers.  And I want to be. I just don't know how to trick myself into believing that I am.

 *Actually, that's a lie, they told me they were going to order some but wanted to check I'd use them, and given I only use the ones I've got already for shopping lists and bookmarks I decided they probably weren't worth the £80.


  1. How exciting, your first piece of work. Sure it will be fantastic. Good luck! I keep thinking I should try and find some work to do from home as I hate relying on the hubby for money, but what can I do-lol.

  2. Good luck with it!
    You must be fabulous if they've hired you, I hope you accept that soon :)

  3. You will be fine. You have been through a masssive change recently and it is understandable that you feel somewhat shaky. You know that you can do this, you are doing this, and you will do it brilliantly - focus on the positive and don't let your inner worries get the better of you. BIG Hug xx

  4. Self belief, it's such an illusive thing at times, isn't it? Your head can 'know' that you can do it but sometimes you still cant help doubting yourself inspite of it. I'm sure it's fine, you'll be super and most bosses would rather be asked how to do something than have you do it all wrong - dont be afraid to ask! xx

  5. Go you! I know about the insecurity, but if your former employers believe in you, you should probably go with what they think.

  6. It's all a massive confidence trick isn't it. Good luck with it, sounds like it has gone well. Sounds brilliant to me! x

  7. Hope you've found your self belief - if they believe in you then you are halfway there!

  8. A Muse Inner Me - that's exactly it isn't it? We're independent women so it feels really odd not to be earning. Am very glad i am actually, even if sometimes it feels like it would be easier not to be.

    Livi - Am trying to! Thank you!

    Sandy - thank you as always.

    Suzanne - thank you for the hug! It helps!

    Heather - it's odd isn't it? You do know something, but somehow your guts don't believe it. You're right though about asking. It's just that from a distance it feels like a bigger deal than just popping your head round the door in a sheepish fashion. Hey ho...

    Mwa - I know! But thank you for reminding me. Sometimes we need to hear these things from other people don't we?

    Pants With Names - Thank you! It's going well so far I think, and I'm really not complaining. Just need to get the balance right somehow

    Diney - I'm getting there. I just think it's going to be hard not having the support of other people around me.

  9. I shifted to working from home from a firm when we got married and moved from the Washington DC area to West Texas. Even after 2 years, I'm convinced (at least once a week) that they're going to realize they don't need me.

    Hoping this working from home thing is doable with kids in the house, too.

  10. Working from home with kids in the house??? I'm totally impressed... I pack mine off to nursery or wait until they're in bed. I can't go to the loo with kids in the house, let alone work!

  11. It's great that you are getting ideas from this piece of writing as well as from our argument made at this place.


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

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