I don’t have a lot going for me. My hair is going grey, I have crooked teeth and I really can’t wear those super skinny jeans (yet, but I’m working on it). I have low self-esteem (although Fb experts would disagree because I don’t post negative status updates that crave attention) and I get so-very anxious in unfamiliar (and sometimes familiar) situations.
I walk past shop windows and upon glancing at my reflection I think ‘whoa, ugly’ so quickly turn my attention to my shoes upon which I think ‘whoa, pretty!’
I’m rubbish at maths, I have no idea if feet and inches are metric or imperial and Blokey delights in telling everybody about the stupid thing I said last night. And the night before. And yes, the night before that, too. I don’t have a bestest friend (and don’t want one), I refrain from looking people in the eye (which makes me untrustworthy) and I ignore friendly strangers. Trains make me panic, but I love travelling on them. I tend to read books written for young adults rather than grow’d up stuff and I shudder at the thought of trying on trousers in charity shops.
I can’t cook, my tea is always too milky (which is fine for me, but if I’m drinking it that way so must everybody else), I can’t always be arsed to shave my legs and I hate crumbley floors.
I shout at my cats, which makes me grateful I don’t have children.
My BIGGEST issue though is with praise. I just can’t bear it; I’d much rather be attacked by humongous spiders the size of kittens (they exist; I came face-to-face with one in a pet shop earlier this year … zoinks!) than have to cope with people telling me how brilliant I am. And of course, people tell me often how brilliant I am.
I had my nine-month probation review this week, eleven months into my new job.
Oh, it won’t take long, gushed my now-ex Line Manager, I only ever hear good things about you.
I am good at my job and given a choice of ‘needs improvement’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘good’, and ‘excellent’ I hit the ‘excellent’ mark each time. Attendance, punctuality, attitude, paperwork, professional development, dedication …
When somebody sits there and praises me, commenting on how everything they ever hear is amazing, it makes me feel uncomfortable; a freak of nature. It isn’t that I desperately want someone to tell me that I’m doing something wrong or need to improve suchandsuch, but it makes me feel slightly insane, slightly imposterish and completely out of my depth. So I told my now-ex and now-new Line Managers that I was late, once. By a whole ten minutes. They just laughed and I shrivelled up inside.
I have nowhere to go.
I’m over-qualified for my position, I’ve had my hours extended and I’m completing a course, with another two lined up for completion before the end of the academic year. I hit all my targets, I work quickly and competently and I don’t need to be supervised or told what to do.
I LOVE my job.
But how can I improve upon ‘excellent’?
It transpires too that at some point on Wednesday my ears should have been tingling … One of the three departments I work for had their staffroom decorated/rejiggled over half-term and instead of having to share a desk I’ve managed to snag my own. This is good as it gives me a base, somewhere to store all my bits and pieces. I like being organised (not so much at home although Blokey would disagree with me) so my desk is super-neat and beautifully labelled, with a home for everything and everything in its place.
Apparently somebody wanted to grab everything on my desk and shove it on the floor.
And the instigator of that conversation? Yep, that woman who is so like me that she could be me, although she doesn’t have a well organised, beautifully neat desk. My initial hunch was correct, obviously.
I’m being observed on Monday afternoon. Knowing that I’m so brilliant means that I’ll have to work extra hard at actually being brilliant when my now-ex Line Manager is in the room being all observe-y.