I absolutely hate going in to work the morning after I have been dreaming about getting fired. Something about the office always seems to gnaw at my self-esteem and I assume the worst at every turn. My usual confidence is plagued by a looming cloud of “what if’s”. This would explain why I jumped half way out of my chair when the tech guy leaned into my office to set up my online profile, and why I take the long way ’round through the file room when I need to use the restroom but don’t want to brave my supervisor’s open door.
The fear of failure is quintessentially human ferreting its way into our comfort zone and making us question our conviction. My job could not be more perfect, my co-workers love me and I work my hardest, producing quality work every day, yet a dream, detached from all reality, can turn everything on its head.
This particular dream was not especially entertaining. My boss called me into her office and told me that I wasn’t up to the job they’d given me. She made sure I knew it was their fault for hiring someone they knew wouldn’t have enough experience to fit the position, and said that she wasn’t mad at me, just frustrated that their department had fallen so far behind. My stomach dropped and I the room immediately started spinning out of control as if I were being sucked into a drain or taken up in some tornado of desk chairs and post-its.
I felt miserable in the morning, and almost dreaded the thought of going in. I contemplated taking a sick day, then panicked that maybe if I missed a day that would be it for me. I was on pins and needles all morning, but in the afternoon I got a surprising email. My direct supervisor sent me a little memo saying how happy she was that I was working there, and how well I have been doing since day one. I immediately felt endeared and bubbled over with quiet pride that she would pick this moment to clandestinely pat my back just because. This is why I love my job, and probably why I fear the idea of losing it.