The Meek Shall....Well, get overlooked

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've never been a show-off. I was never the kid in class with her hand up. I was the one cowering in the back, knowing the answer, but praying the teacher wouldn't call on me. Yes, I aced all of my tests, but there were always those classes in which "participation" was part of the grade, pulling down my gpa. Instead of "A's," in those classes, I got "B+'s." All because I am (as I've mentioned before) painfully shy. I think it stems from a severe lack of confidence, but on the other hand, I have confidence in my intelligence. I know that I know what I am talking about, but there's always that paranoia that maybe, just maybe, I'm wrong...then I'll end up making a mistake. I hate making mistakes. I guess I'm a perfectionist in that sense. At work, I go over every detail meticulously. I'm not one of those people who will, when checking numbers, skip some of them, even if I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are correct.

Part of not showing off means that I am not, and have never been, an ass-kisser. I despise people who kiss ass to get ahead. I let my work speak for itself. This has worked fairly well for me thus far. My direct supervisor always knows how hard I work. They know that when they need a report, I won't stop until it's finished. In fact, this morning, I was working on month-end/quarter-end, I had to pee. I held it for about 2 hours while I finished my reports.

That being said, the merits of my work haven't been speaking to those who don't rely on me. I don't think my boss' boss (our regional...let's call him Ben, since he sounds exactly like Ben Stein- only with less emotion) thinks that I know what I'm doing. When I was helping in Alexandria last week, the other girl that is helping that hotel was there with me and on the phone with Ben. After she got off the phone, she said that Ben wanted her to take the lead there. WHAAA??? Now, I am definitely not bashing her, since she seems to know her shit as well as I do, but being that she is so much more vocal and speaks up during conference calls, everyone thinks that she is more capable of doing the job. And since I am so quiet, I come off as an idiot.

So now I have to work on my confidence. I have to figure out how to speak up, even if I'm terrified of being wrong. And, unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to kiss a little more ass.

13 comments:

allan 10/02/2006 08:07:00 PM  

Try drinking more...it will build your confidence, just stay away from wine :)

Sweet 10/02/2006 08:26:00 PM  

You already know you do a good job, so there's some confidence right there. Nothing wrong with being a little assertive. You can do it!

The Husband 10/02/2006 09:23:00 PM  

i am right there with you. i'm not the type that brags or boasts about myself. like you said, i prefer to let my work do the talking for me. unless of course i run into a situation like yours where someone is getting an advantage.

also, how could anyone be less emotional then ben stein?!?!?

anyway, i hope it works out for you! always remember, there is nothing wrong with being shy/introverted!!!

nicole 10/02/2006 09:58:00 PM  

I totally know where you're coming from. There were always those people around me who were naturally gregarious and charismatic which made it inevitable that I would fade into the background.

I started pushing myself to become more confident and vocal years ago and I'm STILL not there yet. Some people are just born with it. The rest of us just take a litte bit longer. :)

JoJo 10/02/2006 11:07:00 PM  

Ash, don't hide your intelligence aand competence. It has very little with kissing ass and a lot to do with kicking ass.

I've ruffled quite a few feathers by refusing to kiss cellulitic ass but my superiors still know I'm the go to person in a crisis.

You can do it!

Tara 10/03/2006 09:47:00 AM  

I'm actually the same way. My fear is that I'm going to make a fool of myself, and I also don't like the attention turned to me when I do speak up. I have forced myself to do it, though, during meetings and such, and I feel my face burning up. But there's also a feeling of accomplishment.

You could try going to some seminars where they teach you how to be more assertive...I went to a few of those, and one of them helpmed me deal with angry customers better than I used to.

minijonb 10/03/2006 10:41:00 AM  

i love the fact that you call ben after Ben Stein!

you are so confident and straightforward when you're here in cyberspace... i think you'll find it easier than you think to transfer some of that into your work life.

i wouldn't know from first hand expereince, but lots of people i've known say great things about the Dale Carnegie training and Toastmasters meetings. it sounds cheezy and all... but they work.

slloww 10/03/2006 01:16:00 PM  

Don't confuse being more assertive with ass kissing....one shows confidence and the other shows weakness....years ago when I had the same problem, I made a concerted effort to change...I found it was easier at first to look for opportunities to talk one on one with higher ups, even if it was on the phone (maybe especially on the phone since that's where I had issues)....once you discover that the bolt of lightening won't hit you, you'll do better in group settings....good luck

team gingerbread 10/03/2006 05:22:00 PM  

When you figure it out, let me know.

I have an irrational fear of being wrong, which leads me to keep quiet in some situations, which blows

Avin 10/04/2006 08:21:00 AM  

I am having the same issue here. I just got promoted to a position where I am going to have to be more outgoing. I am so used to hanging back and taking it all in, that I dont know how to stand up and be counted without coming off like a raving bitch.

Eric 10/04/2006 01:28:00 PM  

I am also somewhat shy and not very good at brown nosing. Fortunately for me I get all the brownie points I need by kicking ass on the company softball team and getting drunk at every office happy hour. My boss loves me for it, I think he has different priorities than most bosses.

KassyK 10/04/2006 07:57:00 PM  

I don't think you should kiss ass but definately try to be more assertive. Believe or not, I can be shy too (yea yea) and I understand the meticulous work-checking as well...I think if you can get your voice out there and some of your shyness overcome--you can do amazing things.

Sorry Ben is such a jackass.

Sex & Moxie 10/05/2006 01:28:00 PM  

Speaking out, to some, is an indication of confidence and strength and, by association, strong leadership.

Leadership requires being able to motivate people and communicate directions effectively. That's why those jobs go to people who are more vocal.

If you look on Craigslist there are some great classes that help peopel with public speaking. Maybe check out Toastmasters?

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