Q. Hey I was on your blog looking for work advice because I was considered for a second project and the program went to someone else. My boss said I wasn’t ready. A while ago she told me I do not have traditional marketing experience (brand development, MBA, etc.) and I couldn’t disagree. During the earlier conversation, I commented about my co-worker (who eventually got the job) saying, “I don’t know how she does it.” This person seems totally stressed out, works too hard and is stretched too thin. I think I dodged a bullet but I have this awful feeling that I left the perception that I’m not a go-getter. Honestly, I have an eight-year-old daughter and I’m just exhausted—taking on one more thing, I think I would go insane.
1. YOU ABSOLUTELY DID THE RIGHT THING!!! This sounds like a burn out work place and you set boundaries. Had you not done so, YOU would be the person stretched too thin. That you already feel “ready to go insane” proves that you should not take on extra responsibilities right now. You are at a place in life when you want to go home and spend time with your daughter. They grow up too fast—it’s good to pull back sometimes to protect yourself and your family.
2. You can turn this to your advantage by going back to that new boss and saying what you said to me . . . that you hope the decision was not made because they perceive you are less than 100% enthusiastic (you LOVE this job, etc., etc.) and you hope you will be considered for another opportunity. This way, you go on record as being a team player, easy to work with, dedicated—and perhaps trigger a minor guilt trip so that next time they will at least give you a chance.
3. Net result: you get to be a model employee. You can use this opportunity to tell the new boss that you are impressed with the way she handled this decision and respect her judgment. Bosses want to be liked and don’t often hear much positive feedback, which they need as much as the rest of us. Best of all—you don’t take on more work. Brilliant!
Don’t second-guess yourself. The only reason you feel bad is because of a standard that is unrealistic and unhealthy. Congratulate yourself for recognizing your limitations and resisting the pressures of our ambition-driven culture. Good for you—and your daughter!