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  1. #1
    Senior Member Turtledove's Avatar
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    Unhappy Need Help with Confidence on the Job (Communication)

    Since May of 2010, I have been looking for a job in which I am able to use my talents in. I have had many disappointments and sort of gave up looking very hard for one. I got a job September of last year and it was like a temp/part-time wondering whether they were going to keep me or not as an assistant office clerk. Answering the phone was like hell to me. I hated the phone! Impersonal phone calls, asking for something which I would forget off the bat what they said, and then the boss breathing down my neck while I was afraid at messing up at something in front of her (She took MBTI and she's an ENTJ.) It was at a real estate agency, mind you. The real estate agents are very direct and demanding of your time for you to do this or that. You basically had to multi-task at the job I was at, which was more of an SJ job more than anything. Later, my boss sat me down and suggested to diagnose me with CAPD-a hearing disorder that has to do with parts of the brain not being able to develop to pick up on commands people ask. She said she was willing to pay to get my hearing tested, but I turned it down because something didn't seem right about being disabled to get money from the government to go back to school, which is a motive of mine to work for a year and then go back to school to get a master's.

    I'm an artist...as irritating as it sounds, I try to consider myself to be. Since after college, I became more of an internet junkie and really don't have that much of an attention span to draw or paint that much because of my moods and distractions. I think since nobody has commissioned me or certain things didn't come up, I just kinda lost my touch. I'm a little bit on the lonely side since many friends are either gone or busy with work. I'm stuck with my pets 6 to 8 hours a day wishing I had somewhere to go or do with somebody I'm close to.

    Most of the information I have lost about drawing and painting, which I'm relearning through old sheets from school I've kept. This leads me to this story. I have recently gotten a job at an arts and crafts store I believe I will be starting the Monday after. I will be doing matting and framing. What is my biggest weakness are my communication skills. I'm worried about not being able to help customers because of shyness and not good at starting up conversations or with people who will come in angry and upset. I'm concerned about me not being able to handle that side of the job because I rather stay in the back and work.

    I'm an only child and I would say I was fairly outgoing only with my mother, and never really enjoyed talking with new people, and here lately I never enjoyed being alone and going spontaneously anywhere without someone. I still have problems with shyness and communicating with strangers even in my late 20's. It's not cute anymore. When in church, we go to greet other people, I cringe and sit down and try to look busy like digging in my bag. I'm trying to set up an appointment with a counselor and it seems being put off for people in serious crisis, which I understand since they need to talk to the psychologist more than I do.

    I really think the last job, my job hunting, and my goals really chipped away at my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and my self worth. I'm hoping that while I'm waiting for trying to talk to the counselor that maybe some of you guys might be able to give me some sound advice on what to do.
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  2. #2
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I hope that the counselling works out as I think there is a very good chance it will be helpful if you approach it with a positive attitude. If I may say so, it also sounds like you may be slightly depressed on top of shyness etc issues, so I hope it all helps with that. Circumstances can easily lead to at least a low-level depression...I have a bit of experience with that.

    It's great that you got this job. It sounds like it is at least in the ballpark of your interests, as you are an artist.

    I am sure that there are others who will give you much more useful advice, but one thing at least; I think/hope that this type of job will be a good way to ease you in with your shyness/communication issues. My first job after uni (and my first non-freelance job) was in a bookshop. Most of the time it wasn't terribly busy - or quite manageable - and it was an environment I liked because I love books (and had studied literature). I had never done tills, customer service etc before, but it eased me in. I've done call centre jobs too, and though I've had a lot of training throughout my life in being professional and looking more confident and less nervous than I actually am (!), taking call after call kind of wrecked me.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your manager would rather you ask for help than make a dumb mistake.

    Best wishes with it all...I hope things go well.


    EDIT: Oh, and if you are partly a freelance artist, try to see if you can do a little networking/liaising if you meet some nice people and clients. I know that sounds daunting but all you really have to do is mention that you are an artist yourself. It might just lead on to something...a commission, or at least an invite to someone's opening night show or something!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Turtledove's Avatar
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    @SilkRoad Thankyou for your encouraging comment. I am going to try to take the counseling in with a good attitude about it. Three people suggested I do, and the counselor has been playing phone calling. I do believe I did have my ups and downs as far as being depressed, which I do think I need help with. It was a couple of other things that led to my "lowness" this week and the last.

    Your edit does sound like a convenient idea. I do have business cards I printed out. I will take that into consideration.
    Save Thundercats 2011 petition. Because we do what we can. HO!!!:
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  4. #4
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtledove View Post
    I have recently gotten a job at an arts and crafts store I believe I will be starting the Monday after. I will be doing matting and framing. What is my biggest weakness are my communication skills. I'm worried about not being able to help customers because of shyness and not good at starting up conversations or with people who will come in angry and upset. I'm concerned about me not being able to handle that side of the job because I rather stay in the back and work.
    Seeing a counselor is a good idea, as is speaking with your supervisor, if he/she is reasonable and understanding. I can sympathize as I have never liked the phone, and prefer working "in the back" than dealing with customers. Somehow, I never had as much actual difficulty with it. Some practical tips that may help:

    1. Keep a post-it pad handy. For any phone calls, or in-person requests that start to get detailed, write it down as they tell you. I had to answer phones in a busy mortgage office on a temp job once, and the ONLY way I could keep track of who was on hold on line 3 and what I should tell Mr. X was to write it down. Sometimes I would even tell the person, "I'm writing this down so I get all the details" so they wouldn't worry about the brief silence.

    2. Slow down and take a deep breath. Customer interaction takes place in real-time. No time to consider a phone message, or tweak an email response. This has always made it seem faster than it really is to me, and I feel I can't keep up. Repeat what they say back to them, as in "have I understood correctly? You want x, y, and z and want to use your 20% off coupon?"

    3. Develop short scripts if it will help. What will you say to a customer coming into the shop? (Hi! Welcome to the frame shop. What can I do for you . . . ) I find once the ice is broken, things can start to flow. It's the initial engagement that is still the hardest. (Now I do this when I have to make phone calls. I still hate them.)

    4. Stop avoiding inconsequential casual encounters and instead seek them out, as practice. Make a point to say hello to that person in church, or the grocery store clerk. You might actually find it easier when you drive the encounter, instead of just waiting for it to happen, sort of like you can't tickle your own foot. I'm the last person to promote small-talk, but getting comfortable with, "Hello, I haven't seen you in awhile, how are you, I have a new job, too bad it's raining, how do you like the new minister . . . " might help boost your confidence.

    5. Practice, practice, practice. Don't agonize over mistakes. If you make one, just apologize and fix it. Acknowledge you're new in the shop and still learning the ropes, at least while that is still true. But you can't learn to swim unless you are willing to get wet.

    Good luck!
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #5
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtledove View Post
    I'm a little bit on the lonely side since many friends are either gone or busy with work. I'm stuck with my pets 6 to 8 hours a day wishing I had somewhere to go or do with somebody I'm close to.
    Come to ventrilo.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    3. Develop short scripts if it will help. What will you say to a customer coming into the shop? (Hi! Welcome to the frame shop. What can I do for you . . . ) I find once the ice is broken, things can start to flow. It's the initial engagement that is still the hardest. (Now I do this when I have to make phone calls. I still hate them.)

    5. Practice, practice, practice. Don't agonize over mistakes. If you make one, just apologize and fix it. Acknowledge you're new in the shop and still learning the ropes, at least while that is still true. But you can't learn to swim unless you are willing to get wet.

    Good luck!
    I second these two (the others are also good, of course). I took a job in customer service where I had to learn to speak to customers all day long, and what's more, ask them to do things they don't even want to do. In order to cope with things initially, I had to make up a script in my head of things I would ask/say so I could get through the transaction. Eventually, the script became ingrained in my head, so now I can operate on two levels of a conversation at the same time (the business transaction and casual conversation at the same time). And seriously, sometimes all you have to do is say, "Really?" in response to a comment and that's all it takes for any random person to launch into whatever story they've been DYING to tell someone.

    And yes, definitely TRY not to beat yourself up too hard when you make a mistake. At least if you fix it, then you did more than what most people do.
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  7. #7
    . Blank's Avatar
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    While this may not be the advice you're looking for, I've found it to be helpful nonetheless:

    When you're worrying about a mistake you're likely to make and you get into a loop of paranoia and negativity, try to instead focus on what you can do better. If you make a mistake, don't think "Oh shit, I'm going to hear about this from X," think "Okay, I've made a mistake. How can I learn from this and what can I do better to avoid a similar mistake in the future?"

    Also, try not to think about the future too much. The way to get through some things it to focus on it one day at a time.

    (This is to supplement the advice given above; not supplant it.)
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Turtledove's Avatar
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    Thankyou all for the advice. Unfortunately, I haven't heard back from them Saturday. Maybe I didn't get the job. I feel worried...I should call the store, shouldn't I?
    Save Thundercats 2011 petition. Because we do what we can. HO!!!:
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  9. #9
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Absolutely. Hope for the best, but also consider what you will say if you don't get the job, or if there is something unexpected like they want to interview you again. This, too, is a learning experience.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #10
    Senior Member EvidenceOfRedemption's Avatar
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    I think what you need is a job that holds deep personal interest for you so that you have a wide spectrum of emotions to draw upon to make up for your yet-to-develop social skills. Even more than that, you need a profession where you work under a mentor, perhaps some type of apprenticeship... this will relieve you of a lot of the pressure which tends to lead you to fail.

    Here's a comprehensive list of occupations with apprenticeships. Do understand that apprenticeship occupations also tend to be trade work (plumber, electrician, mechanic, etc) but the list is quite long and you can use it to inspire your search for something that you'll find satisfying.

    http://www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensin...ionlisting.pdf

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