Professional Development

How to Overcome Insecurity in the Workplace

Written by Peter Jones

Workplace insecurity is a thing—even for people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves “insecure.” Particularly for women, feeling less than on the job is a constant struggle—and usually, the feelings aren’t even warranted.

Help yourself diagnose the most common workplace insecurities and figure out how you can overcome them. You’ll be much more productive and fulfilled if you do.

1. Lack of Talent

Okay, so right away you can probably write this off. You got hired for this job, didn’t you? So you can’t possibly be as underqualified or untalented as you think. Take a step back and stop comparing yourself and your work to that of your peers. Remember that your skill set and experience is unique and might bring something slightly different to the table than those of your coworkers—even if those might seem more impressive from where you’re sitting. And if you’re still feeling like you could know and do more… learn a new skill or get a new qualification in an online course.

2. Lack of Advancement

You’re watching people get promoted all around you and you’re worried that you’re not advancing as fast as others. Don’t let the envy or resentment pull you down. Focus on your work. Sit down with your boss and have a chat about what you need to do to grow and start moving forward. Get clear on your expectations and then figure out how to exceed them!

3. Lack of Money

You’re not supposed to talk about money in the office environment, but chances are you’ve been observant enough to know (ballpark) what the people around you are making. If this makes you feel inadequate, remember to make the focus on you: what could you be doing to qualify for a raise? Talk to your boss. Look around for other jobs, especially if you feel you’re not being rewarded for your skillset and work level.

4. Lack of Popularity

If you feel your social skills aren’t quite up to par, start stepping up. Ask how you can be of help to coworkers. Go the extra mile. They will remember when the tables are turned and you need help. Plus, you can use their gratitude to build rapport and a better, warmer relationship.

If you’re really stuck, there are lots of resources out there for improving your public speaking and social skills. Make use of them! And if you feel invisible on the job, start looking for ways to make yourself stand out a bit more. Take on high profile projects, come early, stay late, etc. A few calculated risks can put you in a much better position to be noticed and then valued.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes and everyone is afraid of getting fired—at least at some point. Show up on time, do your job well, present yourself personably and professionally, and you should be in good stead. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to solicit constructive feedback. Ask questions. Find allies. Trust your gut instincts.

But more than anything: do your job and do it well. Go above and beyond. Rise above. There’s no better way to combat your insecurity than to achieve beyond even your own expectations. Just remember to take a proper moment to celebrate those achievements every time they occur.

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About the author

Peter Jones

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