One of the reasons that I am sort of looking for jobs but not actually is because I am afraid. The main source for my fear is: what would happen if I had an internship repeat? Would I relapse into depression and essentially do nothing at work? Could I function with the continual reminder of my internship when a similar situation would happen?
As many of you know, my experience on my internship wasn’t the best. I had a personality conflict with my supervisor that I thought was entirely my fault, I didn’t really get the training I needed so I had no idea what I was doing and wasn’t comfortable with what I did know, all the change in my life left me sleepless and eventually everything became too overwhelming and depression hit. Part of the time I couldn’t work, I didn’t know how or I didn’t want to. This obviously affected the amount and quality of work that I did. Compared to the other interns, I felt like such a failure and ashamed of the paltry things I did work on.
Since I view my internship as a failure, it’s really difficult to speak positively about it to my friends and family, let alone someone in a job interview. This in itself plants a lot of doubt – if I was such a delinquent in my internship, how could I be any better at Company Z?
A weird and neat thing is that there has been a similar situation that parallels my fears and doubts about jobs: in my last photography course, Scenic and Wildlife Photography.
I really enjoy taking pictures of animals, macro-esque shots and closeups of nature, but taking photos of landscapes in the way that our instructor wanted them really stressed me out. I felt really overwhelmed and unsure of how to take a good landscape photo in my instructor’s eyes, as even though we were given a sheet telling us how to get everything is focus for various focal lengths. It probably doesn’t help that when we showed our initial landscape photos, when I showed the photo of Mount Assiniboine the instructor commented: “Since there is no foreground, it’s like the photo someone’s clueless uncle would take and cut everyone off at the knees.” To be honest, I was a bit crushed as I thought it was a really nice photo and that my photography skills would be better than someone’s clueless uncle. (I know taking criticism to heart is another issue I need to work on!)
As part of the course we had to create a slideshow that told a story. I went out to the mountains one day, only to have it end up snowing, which means poor visibility = can’t see the mountains = no great mountain shots. Then, when Mr. Bean and I went out to Canmore for his Christmas party, I tried to take more photos, but it ended up snowing again. So, trying to make lemonade out of the lemons I had been given, I made my slideshow on “Snow in the Mountains.” I thought it was pretty nice – I timed the music to how intense the snow was falling and had a few really nice close up shots. I was getting really anxious as mine was looking like it was the last to be played and so many of my classmates had amazing panoramas and other shots. After mine was played, what did the instructor comment on? How my slideshow was a good example of how you can’t use weather as an excuse not to go out taking photos. I’m not sure why, but this really discouraged me. Everyone else got comments about their favourite and good shots except for me!
After finishing the course, my desire to do photography was pretty low. I felt that all my photos were terrible, especially compared to the amazing ones that some people in my class took. This attitude continued for a while as when I would actually take photos, none of them were anything special. I just felt so discouraged and thought about how I didn’t know whether I could actually continue on with this photography thing.
Last Thursday night as we were gathering before being sent out to take photos, I was getting really nervous. What will I take photos of so that they’ll be different from others? What if none of my photos turn out? What if … this? What if that? I didn’t believe that I could do it at all let alone well. So, in my state, I went to the farthest place that I could see that none of my classmate were around. A bit of a coward’s move, but when I’m doubting myself, the last thing I want to be is around other people lest they clue in on my insecurities.
Of course, unsurprisingly, after I started taking photos and really looking around, I was having too much fun to think about how I couldn’t possibly take any good photos. I even got so distracted that poor Mr. Bean waited for me for over 15 minutes past the time we had arranged to get me at. When I got home, I looked at my photos and felt like I really had accomplished something and was proud of my work.
I still have fears for the uncertainty of what I will do with photography in my future, but I do feel that I am becoming a better photographer and there is hope for me yet.
I feel like I’m still in the discouraged “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do this” phase in regards to my job search. Unfortunately, a simple photo session won’t help to assuage many of my fears and doubts regarding working as an engineer. I know that I am working on this and similar issues in counselling, but I still feel that I have a long way to go.
Anyways, if you made it this far, I want to give you a gold star and my sincere gratitude for hearing me out. Thank you!
How do you deal with self doubt?