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How Do I Avoid Performance Anxiety at Work?

Thinking of positives can lessen work anxiety.
Deep breathing may help reduce performance anxiety.
Maintaining a healthy perspective of life and work can help an individual avoid performance anxiety while at work.
Talking to a close friend or colleague can help ease your anxiety.
Performance anxiety often contributes to insomnia.
Performance anxiety might affect people who have to give presentations at work.
It is important not to let work cloud over the satisfaction of friends and family.
If talking to friends and family isn't enough, talking to a therapist may help alleviate performance anxiety at work.
If you are not sure that you are doing your job correctly, it could cause a lot of workplace stress.
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  • Originally Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Revised By: C. Wilborn
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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The term performance anxiety is used to describe the fear of performing, and is closely related to stage fright. In work situations, performance anxiety is linked to the very intense stress felt about the possibility of not doing the job adequately or successfully. While at times it might seem difficult to do so, there are ways you can avoid performance anxiety at work. Most importantly, you should try to maintain perspective when it comes to your job; while it might be a very important part of your life, it is not your life. Consider how you can approach work tasks and make them more manageable. Talking to others about your anxieties can also often help.

Maintain Perspective

Maintaining a healthy perspective on your work and life is probably the best way to avoid performance anxiety at work. No matter how important your job is to you, keep in mind all of the other things that play a big role in your life, such as family, friends, and hobbies. Do not allow your job to ruin the satisfaction you get out of the many different aspects of your life. Jotting down successes in a journal can also help you keep perspective, and see that you are more successful than you realize. This may help you build confidence when stress about work performance hits.

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Ask for Help

If you aren't sure if you're doing your job correctly, it can cause a lot of workplace stress. In most cases, asking your boss to clarify his or her directions may be helpful, and indicate that you're eager to do a good job. If the amount of work you are expected to complete is overwhelming, you may be able to ask for help. Many employers expect you to handle the job you're given, but others might simply not realize how much work you're trying to juggle. If you cannot shift any of your responsibilities, try breaking each large task into smaller, more manageable parts that feel less daunting.

Lighten the Load

If you are struggling to deal with stress at work, discussing it with a good friend or a family member may help lighten the load. You are likely to experience greater performance anxiety if you isolate yourself and feel you are the only one to ever deal with a difficult work situation. Be cautious when discussing performance anxiety or other work-related stresses with a colleague, however, because it is possible that he or she could spread the information around or try to use it against you. Before you share your fears, make sure your colleague is a close friend you can trust.

Seek Professional Help

If talking with a supportive friend or family member is not enough, or if you feel that you are spending too much free time venting about your job, consider talking with a therapist. You can devote all of your therapy sessions to tackling work anxieties, while you probably should not spend all of your time with family and friends talking about work. Therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy and/or anti-anxiety medication to help alleviate your performance anxiety.

Your therapist will likely address the issues that might be contributing to your work performance anxiety. These often include perfectionism; feelings of inadequacy on the job; and negative self talk, such as "I'm such a screw-up." Your therapist might ask you to talk over real incidents of past failures in performance in order to help you gain perspective. He or she might teach you deep-breathing or meditation techniques to calm your nerves, and can help you avoid "all or nothing" thinking. Your therapist should also help you determine whether or not you are working in an environment that is unhealthy psychologically.

Pursue Activities Outside of Work

Sometimes, pursuing continued education opportunities related to your job can help you avoid performance anxiety at work. Gaining further expertise through courses, workshops, or retreats could boost your abilities and confidence. It also helps to have diversions outside of work that are rewarding; practicing hobbies, spending down time with family, or participating in volunteer work can all give you the feeling that work is not the central part of your life.

Consider a New Job

People vary considerably in the amount of stress they are able to handle. In some cases, performance anxiety is alleviated by looking into a change of careers or a change in employers. A salesperson might consider a job that emphasizes customer service rather than sales, for example, or an emergency room physician could be better suited to the less frenzied pace of general practice or teaching. Being honest with yourself about just how much stress you can take is important for people with performance anxiety.

It might not be possible to entirely avoid performance anxiety at work. Some people respond to any level of stress with greater anxiety. Stress reduction should be possible, though, by learning tools to help relax, reassess, and realistically view any job requiring "performance."

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anon334353
Post 81

I would urge anyone suffering anxiety at work to talk it out with a therapist. Go see your GP or doctor and explain how you feel.

I am anxiety prone, which I believe is down to a combination of genetics (how my brain is "wired") and an upbringing where my parents were not in a healthy relationship. I did well at school and university, but still suffered bouts of anxiety. I would worry that I would not understand the material and would procrastinate until the deadlines or exams were near and then knuckle down and do the work or read the books. Normally I would pull through but the underlying anxiety was still there, untreated and festering.

When I started working life, the performance anxiety kicked in. I was OK once I understood what I was doing or what they wanted, but those initial few months on the job used to worry me at times. I think I suffered "imposter syndrome" at times as my colleagues would often be smart and experienced and yet I would demean my worth.

One day I decided to leave my job of years where I had worked my way up to a senior level to join another company and role which was much better paid. I also wanted to leave because the boss there was a perfectionist and I used to worry about not understanding his demands or living up to expectations.

I knew the new role would be more responsibility, but thought I could handle it. Boy, was I wrong and I lasted six months. It really shattered my confidence and it's only a year later where I can say I have recovered and get over the mistake of leaving the previous job. However, if I had not, then I would always have wondered about not taking it.

On the plus side, I learned a lot about myself and what I can sustain in working life. It also spurred me to seek a therapist who gave me CBT materials.

They were very helpful and I make it a point to re-read them every month. I also kept a "thought diary" for the "automatic negative thoughts" and on reading that months later I can see that there was nothing to worry about.

One other thing that helped me was to study for certifications and do project work in my spare time. That really helped build confidence in my ability and I would urge anyone to do that in combination with reaching out to a therapist and trying CBT. Good luck to all, and above all do not despair!

anon330976
Post 80

I work in the Information Technology field and was laid off from my job of five years in August 2011. I took a temporary high stress job, and after eight weeks, I quit. Then I took another job for five months, but they merged and had layoffs, etc., so I started another job and six weeks in, I am still feeling anxiety.

It seems ever since I turned 40 last year the time to adjust to a new job is infinitely longer. I hope this is not a permanent thing. I am constantly stressed, etc.

anon328622
Post 79

Wow, all of these posts ring true for me. I just started a job last week working as a receptionist at a salon. I'm fresh out of cosmetology school and was looking forward to starting my first real job, and I had a rude awakening!

My first day. I was so overwhelmed I felt sick and shaky all day. By the time I got home, I just burst into tears because my nerves were shot. I thought it was just because it was my first day, but I'm halfway through my second week and have just as much anxiety and worry.

I feel like I have a lot of responsibility working the front desk and doing clients hair when we are backed up. I also have a fear of failing or messing up a client's haircut. I'm extremely rough on myself when it comes to succeeding at something. I'm starting to wonder if I chose the wrong profession or will it be like this wherever I work.

anon327172
Post 78

I am on the cusp of leaving a job that I started a month ago. In the last two years I have only worked about seven months at three different jobs. Performance anxiety is the problem and also the fact that I don't like being a techie. I have no passion for IT, but this is the only thing I know and I am getting out of date as time passes by. What is the solution? I need a workaround for this performance anxiety. We all come up with our stories but we are not offering a solution.

anon326790
Post 76

Thank you so much everyone for sharing your feelings and experiences. You have shed some light into my life and helped me put things into perspective. There really is hope for all of us.

anon324391
Post 75

@anon323296: I can understand how you feel as I am going through a similar situation. I just want to tell you that everyone is different and the unfortunate fact is that people don't recognize this fact.

If you don't feel that you can do well at this job, it doesn't mean that you are no good as a person, so don't let it lessen your self-worth. I always believe it is a matter of finding a job that suits you better.

Hang on to the fact that things can only get better and look forward to that day; it will come. Most important, never lose hope. I am feeling at my lowest point now but I know that day will come.

anon323296
Post 74

I would like to say it has helped me to read each of your posts. I guess it some ways it has, but I didn't really read any solutions.

I'm at the end of my rope and dangling by a thread. I'm not smart enough to do my job. People get upset with me for asking for help because I've called on them so often. I make mistake after mistake, etc. I've been in my position for over a year and still haven't learned how to do my job.

My husband sort of understands, but his hands are tied as we are in dire financial state and neither of us can afford to be unemployed. I had a nervous breakdown about six years ago and feel I'm headed for worse things now. I've totally lost hope. Now I'm just working up my courage to end the misery.

anon315970
Post 73

Thanks for the thread. My experience for 25 years has been like these too. The longest period without these feelings has only been a few months. Some bosses make it worse, but it is inside me. My family are supportive but lose patience. I really wish there was a solution. It does make me have awful thoughts at times, too.

anon307000
Post 72

I too have all the same feelings. I believe we are all a product of our youth, meaning that we become the adult which we were directed to be as we grew up.

I was neglected both physically and emotionally, and I believe this has a lot to do with my anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. I wonder how many others feel this way?

Anyone feeling suicidal? I often do also, but I would ask you sincerely to try to contact me as a friend. I care about you and how you feel, because I am there. You have a friend in me if you allow it. Please everyone remember that A person's Best is all they can give, and that is all that is necessary in life. I would rather live homeless than to give in to unreasonable expectations of employers or anyone else. Take care of yourself first!

Vivo11
Post 71

I am 51 and relate to a lot of these posts. I have always had a rough life with jobs and anxiety, with worrying constantly and feeling deep dread. I know at times my entire vacations or weekends are focused on just feeling dread and worry and a dark cloud hovering over me as I wonder what will be expected of me in new work week or how I will be getting into trouble or reprimanded or such.

I wish I could just accept that what will be will be and not put myself through this. Is there a highly recommended medication that can just maybe make me not give a crap so at least I am not all keyed up and sad, with no energy or desire to do anything but sit around and worry?

anon291748
Post 70

I'm 54 and a seasoned professional who has been in very stressful situations and after a layoff, have been spinning my wheels at low-end terrible jobs (avoid small family businesses!). I would like to reassure the younger folks here that this is not the economic reality we had in the 60's through the 90's. Professional management techniques have been obliterated. Positive Theory Y management really worked and employees were treated with dignity. Correspondingly, their performance and loyalty increased.

Now this nation has returned to pre-World War II management styles where people are just disposable units of overhead cost. The youth of today have every reason to be depressed and/or angry. You are being abused by the system and anyone who has been a manager knows it. All I can say is just try your best and remember to be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up about a societal situation you cannot change. If Mr. Covey were alive he would say "Amen"!

You have no reason to be ashamed if you are performing your best and no one is professional enough to appreciate it and help you accomplish greater things at work. That was my job as a manager: to encourage my employees to develop and achieve, to reward their successes and help them overcome failure and to make them so happy about themselves that they want to be at work more than at home! It can be done, but it takes too much energy and modern managers are lazy. It also takes genuine care, like a teacher or coach.

I hope things change for your generation. You deserve better, and some of us want to see you enjoy life rather than posting your woes on some blog site.

anon290015
Post 68

I feel the same as most here, but with a slight twist. For starters, I believe I’m younger than most here -- only 24. I’ve been fired two times in a row in the past three years, both for unjust reasons (both because the bosses were tyrants). I swore I’d never work in this town again. I’m just now wrapping up six months as a temp to hire at a job I got out of desperation after being out of work for two years. My fiance and I were in a tough spot and we needed the money. It was a rough couple of first weeks because of my anxiety, but then I began to feel better about as time went on, even after it became clear that the assignment wasn’t going to be ending for me in particular any time soon. It makes me feel trapped by obligation as I really don’t like it in this town and I want to leave as soon as I can, but I need the work history and I would hate to be a quitter for the umpteenth time in my life.

I get along with the people I work with (five others and four of them are related) and they’re all introverted like I am, so we keep to ourselves, but are pleasant when we end up working together so it’s not so terrible at all and I feel at ease as far as that goes. Well, after talking about it for two months, the owner has finally decided to hand me an official application to become an actual employee for his company and I’m losing it now. Looking at the paper and having to list my past work history is really bringing me down and making me into a mess. I don’t like looking back and thinking about how the tyrants fired me for contrived “performance issues,” especially since it’s really slow at my job currently, and for two out of the four hours I’m scheduled to work during the day, there isn’t much to do during my “down time” so I read the news. And it makes me feel like a lazy bum and I worry that I’m going to get fired for that, but flitting around adjusting bottles of white-out doesn’t seem like much of a solution to not looking all that busy.

Also, I work on phones (which used to be my primary source of fear, but I’ve gotten better about it) and I strain my voice pitching it a few octaves higher than it really is to make sure that I don’t offend the person on the other end of the line and have them chew me out or get really angry. I have a naturally deadpan inflection in my voice that gets misinterpreted as condescension. Then I get upset at myself for sounding like a timid little girl because I’m actually very Type-A (not in a good way) and enjoy being a leader, but instead I have to be subservient because people expect that from me as a customer service representative.

I don’t like having to defer to people, but if I’m assertive (truly assertive, not forceful), it comes across as aggression, so I’m always second guessing myself and beating myself up over saying something with the wrong inflection. I wear my glasses all the time to hide my eyes so I don’t have to look people in the face and have them get upset at my expression because I just look like this and can’t help it. I’ve never had a job longer than six months, though. I always end up quitting because of anxiety or getting fired. There are going to be new people coming in soon for the busy season (holidays) and I’m freaking out about what kind of personalities I might encounter and clash with.

It doesn’t help that I did the math and that even when I go back to full time, I’ll barely be making $1,000 a month. Why am I killing myself inside for peanuts?

I guess the real crux of the issue is the shame I feel about being told I’m incompetent. I’m afraid they’re right and my rate of pay shows it. I couldn’t live on my own if I wanted to. I’m completely dependent on my fiance for everything. I just feel stupid.

anon289228
Post 67

I am a physical therapist and sometimes I am sent to different facilities to do coverage, most of which are not my "turf". I work with kids perfectly, but when I am sent to work with the elderly and adults, I become a total mess. I did not go to work for four weeks and called them as an unpaid work days, thinking to myself that being anxious and stressed is not worth the money. I am so freaked out that I can't sleep. I eat and poop a lot, and I am so scared I will mess up. I am always in fear of being criticized and here I am right now seeking for comfort for the words of other people because I am working in an elder care facility tomorrow. I am so scared of asking, being annoying, and maybe even causing a patient to fall. This is just not my field and I could not do anything about it. I could not afford another day unpaid. I feel like I am drowning into some sinkhole.

I am scared that people will not be nice to me, will not offer their help, and I will look like a retarded mess -- someone who is incompetent. I wish someone would just understand that I am fearful because this is not my field. It's like sending a heart surgeon to deliver a baby. Yes, he must know and have studied how to deliver a baby, but hell this is just hell. I can't wait for the next two days to be over.

nervousmet
Post 66

I'm so glad it isn't just me. After getting fired from a job where I was surrounded by bullies, I sought help and overcame the anxiety. I found a full time job at my old company a few years ago, and started working with a highly critical control freak. It's not quite the right fit, and I have been in deep communication with my manager about it. She recognizes my efforts and values me for what I'm good at.

I was coping until this Monday, when control freak sent a nasty IM about me to me by accident. All the anxiety has come back and frankly, I just melted down in anxiety this week. The manager was on vacation, so I couldn't talk to her about it, which made it worse. Right now I'm so terrified of losing my job I can't stomach the thought of Monday coming. I'm so angry that pipsqueak wrecked my carefully found confidence but I can't help it.

I'm so glad I'm not alone, but wish we all didn't have to suffer through this.

anon282652
Post 65

Wow I am so glad to find out that I am not alone. My anxiety is so bad that it causes me to forget who I am and that I am a worthy person of having fun.

I get up early and stay up late worrying about my job and what they think of me. When I do go on vacation, I cannot even enjoy my family because I worry about what mistakes they are going to find when I get back.

My supervisor is bullying and harassing me in many ways. I have been in my current job 12 years. I feel like I should be promoted to another job but it does not happen. I do not have enough experience, etc. I think the bottom line is they just don't care for my personality.

My personality has changed over the last five years. I get so sick in the morning that I cannot even function. It is all I can do to get myself ready for work. I need to pursue other employment but it is difficult to find another job at 47 years old.

anon277061
Post 64

Anxiety can become your demon.

anon269688
Post 63

I understand what everyone here is saying. It's been the same thing for me.

I just started a new job that seemed to be a perfect fit. It was, at first, but then my performance dropped drastically. I made a major mistake and did some very stupid things. My colleagues have lost all trust in me. I think some of them are expecting me to resign, but I need this job. It's so difficult to face them every day. I'm just waiting for them to tell me to leave.

I'm not being taught my job skills properly, and to top it off, I know that my supervisor does not like me one bit. She has been telling everyone that I'm useless, incompetent and a bad hire. From day one she has put me down, and it has really knocked my confidence.

The mistake I made gave her the necessary edge to really bite down on me. I really need a way out.

anon252138
Post 60

Glad I found this site. I am working at a job that is not in my profession because I needed something with health insurance. There is constantly yelling and screaming in the small office and I know the manager did not want another person.

I made a mistake on Friday that I knew was bad and although it did not cost the company money, I offered to resign. I live in fear of losing this job and I think that is why I have begun to make more mistakes than I did when I first started a few months go. We have lost almost everything due to an economic downturn and I am frequently suicidal.

anon246845
Post 59

Negative feedback tells the learner what he or she did wrong, so they won't make the same mistake again.

anon246509
Post 58

Thank you to all who posted. I am in high end sales (multi million dollar deals, long cycle), C suite level, with 16 years in the biz, top performer and a new job I've had for nine months. The pressure is on, and I've had no sales to date, but close calls.

My employers are starting to rethink their hiring decision. I'm beating myself up daily. I was on anti-depressants and did not do well. It was my own little private hell. Good thing I have a loving wife. I've got all the mind crap going on about losing my job, home, etc. I have to learn somehow at 60 years of age that one must live in the moment and forget about tomorrow, next week, next month. Thank you all.

outofwork
Post 57

It helps reading these posts, if only to realise there are people so much worse off than me. I've just walked out of a job after seven weeks and although my work history is sound and I haven't left jobs before, I can identify with the feelings of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, the dread in the stomach, the feelings of being inadequate, slow to learn and feeling guilty!

I blame my employer, not me though, and although this has knocked my confidence terribly and some days I feel anxious about even applying for other jobs, it's not going to beat me. I know I am a hard worker who strives to produce good results and I have good skills. I wasn't given adequate training or support and left to constantly bother other people to show me how to do things which, when they were excessively busy, they resented. I felt the resentment personally (having a sensitive and caring nature) and none of them knew I hadn't been trained properly or shown anything, so I just began to feel stupid and inadequate.

The workload was huge and constant and I couldn't clear it in the time frames because I wasn't given the training or tools to do it. I just did my best under the circumstances. I'm feeling pretty low despite not feeling it was my fault, but the organisation acknowledged they had done a bad job in not supporting or training me properly. However, I can't go back after all I've said and what I believe people are thinking about me and now that I have spoken out to the manager about some individuals' treatment of me. I wasn't referred to the Employment Assistance Programme or offered a support person in my meeting to resolve these issues, either.

You may have performance anxiety, but don't beat yourself up. Employers and workplaces have a lot to answer for as well! Some are downright bad at training, some have nasty people working in them, some don't recognise or even discuss with us our learning styles or needs, and some of us are in the wrong type of work for the stress tolerance levels we have. Anxiety provoking experiences build, and triggers set us off again time after time in the same situation.

Do get professional help but don't blame it all on yourself. Workplaces can be hellish places and they have a lot to answer for. You are all worthy of support, respect and understanding and don't beat yourself up. You only have one life as far as we know, so enjoy it!

anon244090
Post 56

To everyone, and nurses especially, I have been in the nursing profession for seven almost eight years. I started out in the Navy with the responsibility of a practical nurse, but without the license. Then when I transitioned to the civilian life I challenged the Board of California Vocation Nurses, which permitted me to take the PN-NCLEX. To my surprise, I passed and my first job has been home health, which has been very anxiety provoking, but I can tell you that when I first started doing nursing in the Navy I was anxiety-ridden.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense because you are responsible for the health of patients, but as you become more experienced you will be able to put things in perspective, but if you run from the anxiety it will never subside. Instead, you must treat it as though it is a normal response to a stressful situation and realize that even the most confident people do not start off that way and often feel differently inside than how they appear on the outside.

Realize that you are meant to be where you are and believe it or not if you do your best and do not kill anyone, you will keep your license. With that being said, you will also make mistakes and come in contact with personalities that make you feel inadequate, but that is a part of the journey. God bless each and every one of you.

anon243827
Post 55

Wow, I'm in the same position. My fear of failure is going to be my demise. Although I have been successful in my life so far, I am anxious all the damn time!

ITfear
Post 54

I never knew this existed. Maybe we all need a 12 step program! I am an Information Technology Professional and I have been on the bleeding edge of a project. We just launched but all through out the project I had a very difficult person I was working with. I shouldn't have let it get to me but its not in me to be a jerk like this person is.

To this day, I have empathy to a fault and still find the good in this difficult person! Anyway, I have had someone recruiting me for over a month with a 15k salary increase with bonuses but I really liked my current job. Wish I would have found this sooner. I could stay if I wanted but I already pulled the trigger on my resignation and I would feel like an idiot staying. Now that I know a lot of people are like this it will help in the future.

anon242528
Post 53

I feel exactly the same as most of you.

trueglobe
Post 52

I thought I was just weird but reading everyone's post's makes me feel slightly better that I am not alone.

I have worked in financial sales all my working life, but the last five years have been a living hell due to what I now know is performance anxiety. I left my job three years ago due to the anxiety, but made an excuse that I was looking for a career change to cover up what was really going on in my head.

I have since tried to do temping work through agencies but can't keep a job longer than a week because I keep thinking I'm under performing and not picking-up the systems quick enough. The agencies don't ring now and due to the recession there are fewer jobs around.

I now live back home with my parents as I have lost all my friends and feel like I'm imprisoned with no money and parents having to feed me.

My girlfriend of 9 years has stood by me but she doesn't really understand when I tell her the symptoms but now I can tell her thanks to you guys. I hope 2012 is a new start for me and I can now try and get a grip and seek medical help if nothing changes. Good luck everyone.

anon237294
Post 51

Thank you all for posting this because I thought I was the only one, but all of you described how I feel. I see a therapist and it helps but I feel an urge to change jobs to see if it gets better.

I am an outstanding manager and do a great job, as I have seen in my awards, evaluations, etc., but cannot convince myself and feel I will get fired or someone will make fun of my performance that she got this promotion and we made a bad decision to promote her. I wish I could find a solution.

anon235800
Post 49

It's wonderful to be able to feel some connection to others with this problem and feel I am not alone.

I am bright but can't seem to focus on getting tasks done and/or learn a new job in the time expected. I consistently last about two years at a job.

I interview well and come across quite competent in my interactions with people. However, it takes me a long time to get up to speed and learn the process of a new job. And even after I get up to speed and learn the process, I start getting signs that I am not moving fast enough compared to my coworkers. I know it's me because this happens at different jobs and companies. I am capable of doing things very quickly when I focus, faster than others, but most of the time, I can't seem to get things done at the very least at an average speed. At some point, my manager will try to provide an incentive for me to get a project done, or start asking me to list what I've done on a weekly basis, or micromanage me. I feel anxious at the end of almost every work day because I didn't get a lot done and then panic when my manager starts some measure.

It's starting again now. My manager has asked me to provide a list of completed tasks every week. Something that did help me was listening to a book called “The Four Agreements” about a year ago. I have it on audio and used to listen to it when driving to work sometimes. I am starting to feel the anxiety of losing this job, which I do not want to lose. I see the pattern starting with my boss asking for the list of weekly accomplishments. This is why I did a search and found this site. And with the "support" I feel here, I will go listen to “The Four Agreements” and remember to "do the best I can do *today*" as the book outlines, so I can manage day to day. I suspect it's a matter of practice. I am really ready to dedicate myself to a solution. Jobs like mine are hard to find and I'm tired of being embarrassed about switching jobs while my friends continue to better positions and career growth.

I don't care about career growth. I just want to do a good job and get paid. More than anything, I want to feel good at the end of each work day. And I enjoy doing good work; I just need to figure out how to be more motivated and work faster. This also happens in my personal life, where I take forever to finish a project. Good luck to everyone and consider reading that book.

anon227314
Post 47

I'm a consultant in medical technology. In this industry, it's referred to as "subject matter expert". I'm very knowledgeable, talented, personable and capable -- and severely hindered by the anxiety that I'm not truly an "expert" in anything! I put extreme pressure on myself to perform at a high level. I'm critical of my mistakes whether anyone else knows about them or not, but I'm very tolerant of others' mistakes. I don't treat myself as kindly as I treat my colleagues.

I have PTSD from a previous manipulative boss and have trust issues that don't have anything to do with my current employer. I punish myself by thinking that I should be "over" the previous bad experience even though I know it left scars.

At the same time that I'm anxious, I feel guilt. Guilt over not producing as well as I think I should, guilt over not knowing all I think I should.

I have no rational reason to feel these feelings. I get positive feedback from my employer and co-workers. Inside I feel like a fraud and a fake.

But not all the time! A great deal of the time I'm competent, capable and satisfied with my performance. But when something triggers this rush of anxiety, I come very close to panic, even if I'm working alone and no one knows that I have to research an answer. And how ridiculous I feel even reading that last line I typed: the "horror" of not knowing every single esoteric fact and having to research something. I mean, is that unrealistic or what? No one knows that I had to look something up before answering, all they know is that I gave them the right answer or at least pointed them in the right direction. The end result is good, but I'm cold and flushed and jittery with a flippy stomach, racing heart and dread weighing me down. And sometimes it takes 24-plus hours to shake that feeling.

My boss hasn't given me any reason to dread his emails, yet sometimes I do. He's not going to deliver "bad news" in an email, so why do I fear this? He's a stand up, considerate, caring professional, not a jerk. Color me irrational, especially today.

anon186429
Post 45

Well, we all have the same performance anxiety that robs us of a lot of enjoyment. I know people who love their jobs and simply do the best they can and are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, be slow but strive to be accurate and then leave the job at quitting time. We can have this quality of work as well if we get enough support. I believe perf anxiety is a serious condition and can be dealt with with assistance from a psychologists, self help, exercise, medicine, as well as spiritual help. Thank you all for posting. We are not alone.

anon181713
Post 44

As I reflect on the deep rooted cause of my work related anxiety, I am positive that it stems from a collection of events in my life.

If bringing unresolved anxieties and fears to a profession such as nursing, one must have extreme resilience and faith to achieve in this field. I was not prepared. I have had three positions in two years of being an RN. The main reason that I resign is because of my own inner demon that likes to compare my performance with everyone, telling me that I cannot learn all of these overwhelming duties within this period of time, what does my supervisor think of me? I hide mistakes I made for fear of judgement, gossiping co-workers, not "fitting in," being too gentle and nice and having everyone tread their paws all over me, feeling belittled by other staff challenging my skills or knowledge, etc., etc. These thoughts haunted me, and still do.

However, on this journey of healing, I am learning about the path of alleviation of suffering through Gnosis. Our external circumstances are usually such because we feed it with our thoughts.

We obsess over this physical, illusionary life so much that we forget that we are conscious, loving reflections of an inner God. Through meditation, retrospective exercises, daily self reflection, prayer, vitamins, change of diet, art, beautiful music, and surrounding myself around things that make me feel good, I am slowly discovering the keys that will unlock the door to a freedom that will allow me to escape this suffering.

anon156223
Post 43

I feel exactly the same as most of you. I am a nurse, a good nurse, but for some reason, I get terribly anxious about being responsible for people on my own.

I work in the community and recently could not do a weekend as it would mean working on my own. I do not want to give my career up and I am not sure where all this anxiety stems from but one day, it was just there.

I know I am not mad and my manager is impressed with my performance. Certain things cause me to have this anxiety at work -- not everything -- and then I start looking for a new job, get it, settle in and when the anxiety starts the whole process starts again, I leave etc etc.

It really gets me down and I do not really want to have medication for it. Any advice?

anon153718
Post 42

I relate to each and every post and I thank God for this site and people who aren't afraid to share this misunderstood condition.

I recently walked to HR in tears, turned in my badge, answered exit interview questions to quit my front desk position in Radiology, which I earned through months of volunteer work. I wanted to work for this company for the past few years and now, I am devastated that I allowed co-worker induced anxiety to cause me quit yet another job after only two months.

From the start, I expressed that the work atmosphere and duties wouldn't be a good fit, however, I allowed the supervisor who manages volunteers to convince me that it would get my foot in the door. But I had my doubts. The first warning sign was the interview. I was asked to leave the office and sit in a waiting room every time the manager answered the phone, text on his cell phone, replied to emails, and with each knock on the door.

The second warning: as the new hire, only minority and the least educated, my errors were escalated and reprimanded in the presence of patients and other staff. The third warning: In my first week of training, I was informed that I was hired to replace the lady that was training me and she had no clue about her pending termination. Too many other warnings to list.

Performance anxiety causes one to feel freakish, crazy, stressed, hopeless and alone. However, to make matters worse, I self-medicated with alcohol, energy drinks, fatty comfort foods, supplements, tylenol or pepto-bismol in order to make it through the day at a job that makes me sick.

I worked in an extremely busy department for a company that requires staff to smile, greet and offer assistance to each person they come in contact with on the job. This was hard because I felt this ball of emotions inside.

Although I took tons of notes and shadowed staff, the amount of information was overwhelming. To make matters worse, I didn't have a desk, so I was unable to get the hands-on training that I needed or receive that hands-on training.

One of the two ladies training me neglected her duties by watching her favorite shows on the lobby's television and the other lady's father was a doctor there and she stressed out about everything. She made these frustrating sound effects, talked about how all of a sudden she wanted to quit, negative comments under her breath: "I am so tired of all these mistakes being made," "I am really starting to hate this job," and "I am tired of feeling stressed out."

I asked her one day why she hated me and she never answered. I gave this job 100 percent, but I allowed her to attitude, comments, and body language stress me out, so I tried to do too much too fast and the end results were mistakes.

I have been researching natural supplements for improving memory, calmness, and stress to provide some relief since I am planning to relocate to find another job. God bless. --eve

anon153400
Post 41

I'm so glad I found this site.

I am 27 and have a job most people would kill for. However, a woman 15 years older than me, who was jealous of me, bullied me for six months really badly. I told my boss, after I broke down one day, and he told me not to do anything or say anything and that he would handle it.

In the end, the woman who was bullying me waited til I went on holiday and put in a harassment complaint about me and quit her job. I came back from holiday with my MD threatening to fire me, but asking me to quit instead. My boss wouldn't help me. No one could help me. I had to beg to keep my job.

Three months later I'd won the employee of the month award, and got back in the 'good books' with the MD and my career was back on track. But every single time anyone at work is ever in the slightest unhappy with me, I start trembling and feel like I'm going to have a panic attack because of the hurt, embarrassment, humiliation and betrayal of that original situation.

I am constantly fearful of that ever happening again, and it's paralyzing as I can't just be myself or relax.

I hate my MD for being so superficial in her job that she didn't know what was going on. I hate that woman that bullied me and I hope karma takes her down to the level she deserves.

And I really hope that one day I can get my confidence back again - because I really, really don't mean badly by anyone.

anon152050
Post 40

I have the same experience. I just moved to a new country and because of the new system, culture, etc., I feel like I'm totally lost.

I'm well experienced in my profession, I always get hired with the management position but after three days of work, I quit because I fear that I am not capable of handling the responsibilities. It was too overwhelming for me, having been able to work for 14 years in the same position made me wonder why i feel this way. I lost my self confidence and self esteem. I feel blank, i don't remember anything, i don't feel knowledgeable enough. I used to know everything, I even became a trainer in my profession. I feel so stupid right now.

It's my third day now at another new job, and I felt happy at first because of the position and the compensation package and of course, the great opportunity of working in a great company.

However, negative thoughts and feelings surrounds me at work, I feel helpless and stupid. I make mistakes, and I walk in circles and don't know what to do.

One day I had a hard time breathing when my boss was talking to me. I felt i could be having a heart attack.

I can't focus. My boss introduces me to a lot of dignitaries but I can't remember their names. I became very forgetful and I don't know how to do my job anymore. I keep on praying at work that God will help me and transform me and bring back my energy and confidence, The old me. The one who was once talented and smart.

anon143526
Post 39

I'm 26, and I've been unemployed for five years. I've only ever had four jobs, and those were not for very long. I've always been self-conscious, unmotivated and a screw-head. Every day, week, month, and year that passed since my last job has brought the inevitable job-interview question: "why have you been out of work for so long?"

What do you say to that? I'm lazy? Depressed?

Eventually I just stopped looking for fear of having to answer that question. A long time ago I planned to off myself, but that became a hassle as I'm too unmotivated to even commit suicide. So I'm trapped; too lazy to kill myself, too depressed to live.

I pissed away the years which are necessary for gaining job experience and I've become a burden on my family. I've never discussed my anxiety and depression with anyone, so my family thinks I'm just lazy, which I may just be confusing for depression and anxiety. I don't have health insurance so I can't afford meds and I haven't smoked weed in a long, long time which means I have no way to counteract the bad feelings.

I don't think a website like this will help, but good luck to all of those who are struggling. I'll just try to wing it. I'll psyche myself into going out tomorrow to look for the dreaded J-O-B.

anon143013
Post 38

I relate to what I read here. I'm 60 years old working a job I can't do and hate, and fear going to work. But who is going to hire me? I have to force myself ever today and I never know when I will lose this job. I've been looking for another years for over three years and I'm lucky if I get an interview

anon142729
Post 37

I am so happy i found this site. I'm also glad to hear I'm not alone. Sometimes i feel like something is seriously wrong with me for feeling such strong anxiety about my job.

I've been a nurse for a little over a year. Part of my anxiety stems back to negative comments and encounters with people close to me and while in nursing school. Some mean-spirited things were done and said to me, and there were people in my life who should have been supportive but instead acted as though they didn't want to see me succeed. I was already struggling with my decision to be a nurse, and I just allowed their opinions to hurt my confidence and self-esteem even more.

Since graduation, I have either quit job after job, or been fired from several due to "performance anxiety." It has cost me living a better life, fulfilling my dreams, my confidence, and countless tears. It's like I'm afraid to fail and prove everyone's negative thoughts about me correct. It is frustrating to know that i could be capable of much more deep down inside, but i am afraid just to let myself take that leap like all the other grad nurses have to do.

They don't know what kind of day they're going to have, if they can handle every situation that comes their way, yet they return and perform at their best every day. I wish i felt this type of confidence but i often don't. People are stunned when they learn of my extensive education background and hear that I easily land job-after-job, in very well respected places, even after my bad work track record.

It's like employers have saw so much more in me than I've seen in myself. I want to live up to that image that made them want to hire me in the first place. I recently started an internship, in which i had to beat out a lot of other applicants, and now i feel like a fish out of water all over again, fighting to feel adequate, be accepted and liked at the work place. Just hope i can make it this time. Sorry to rant on. God bless everyone who struggles with this demon called anxiety. I know just how painful it is, too.

anon131166
Post 36

I am happy to have stumbled onto this support forum for anxiety on the job. I have been having issues with work anxiety for years which has resulted in me quitting job after job in fear of being fired!

I have been unemployed for almost a year, looking for work that is low stress is almost none existing. I tried one job in retail which required heavy lifting, and no sitting at all. I lasted three days and then quit! I should have asked more questions I guess during the initial interview I suppose. Now, I am once again looking for work.

I feel overwhelmed just reading over the job requirements if it seems too much responsibility and job expectations. I also know without a doubt that I suffer from a mild learning disability. Not easy when going through the learning curve of any new job. I find this learning process very stressful and then I freak out that I am not "getting it" fast enough to please my employer.

My self esteem and confidence has taken a nose dive and I find it scary looking for a job that I would be well suited for!

I tried to think of many creative ways to work from home, being my own boss and making a difference in our world. I am tired of dealing with all the "fake" people that you get stuck working with. The "office gossips" -- mostly all women -- make me sick to my stomach and I just have zero patience in trying to understand that this is a fact of life in our work environment and can't be avoided.

I will try to find my way in all of this. The answer is there, we just need to look outside the box and see hope in closer that we think! Good luck to all who are suffering or have suffered and have found their way! Never let anyone make you feel stupid or that you are "slow". We are all unique and have different learning styles. Hang in there!

anon130995
Post 35

i thought was alone in this. honestly i felt so weird and alone. I quit two jobs already in the past four months. one job i was at for three years.

I think this all started in elementary school i felt anxiety and usually cried because of it. It went away for a bit and came back recently. I don't cry but sometimes i hold it. What made me quit my job that i worked for three years was that i had a lot of anxiety before work. i was just worried if the day would go bad or not. I was anxious when i talked to customers and worried if they were going to be disrespectful.

And my last job i just quit because i was nervous that i would mess up and get yelled at or hated.

I try to keep my mind off work or anything that could happen now. Its all mind games and we just can't let minds play these games. I am 21 years old and I'm learning a lot about life. Life is going to be beautiful, terrible, and beautiful again. It won't come in those exact stages but will be mixed. Some days will be great, and some will be terrible.

The point is we should not let ourselves have this take over our lives. I learned that i will fail many times and i will succeed as well. But those failures make us stronger and wiser. Don't we all want this? Yes we do. As a final thought, we only live once, so let's not let this dominate our lives.

anon130963
Post 34

I am very glad to have found this page. I too have been struggling to figure out "what is wrong with me" in my short five year professional career.

I have been in and out of five companies, some on my terms and some forced. The stress of constantly feeling I am without job security has left me with what I believe to be severe work related performance anxiety.

In my current job I get paid very well for fun work. I have been here eight months or so, and when I started I really felt part of the team and that my work mattered.

Lately, the projects I have been receiving seem elementary and I feel that I am just a seat warmer. Once this began I started feeling incredibly stressed, to the point where I began to lash out. My boss caught wind of one of my tantrums and I was very sternly reprimanded.

Since that day, I come in each morning with the feeling it will be my last. This happened at a few other positions where my work ethic just absolutely degraded due to the stress and anxiety I felt. Basically, each day I felt worse and worse, which caused worse and worse work. It's like a terrible cycle I get in.

With my current position, I am determined to stop this cycle but I live in constant fear that it's too late. I need to talk to someone but I don't know how.

anon129110
Post 33

This seems to be exactly what I have, and I know how difficult it is. I have had this issue of anxiety for about 5 years now, and it is getting to the point where I refuse to continue fighting it.

It all started during my sophomore year in college. I was just sitting in class and all of a sudden a rush came over me and I felt like I was going to pass out and collapse. I was always worried about how much sleep I would get, and then how poorly I would perform the next day while on no sleep.

I almost dropped out my senior year, but fought through it.

Then I started law school. This lasted a week. I just could not take the teaching method and the amount of work. My anxiety said no.

About seven months ago now I started a job in finance, which was my undergrad degree. Every day on the job is a battle. The worst is during meetings where I constantly think "Oh no I am about to pass out, what will everyone think?" and when someone is training me I can't listen and therefore can't pick it up. I cannot maintain eye contact. I have to leave my seat every 30 minutes just to "escape", whether I go to the bathroom or just for a walk, I find it necessary.

Even when I do that, I feel very faint and have to hold onto the walls to avoid falling over.

It has come to the point of being unbearable. I finally had to take off work two days last month, and after another miserable month, I had to take off today.

My sleep is almost non-existent lately. I was doing OK with it during my first six months but ever since I needed to take off last month I have redeveloped my insomnia. Only slept two hours or so last night, which is how it was in college. I feel as though I have no choice but to quit tomorrow. The pain is too much to bear.

What makes it worse is that I know if I did not have this anxiety condition, I could easily do my job. My friends, family and loved ones do not understand this disease and I am so thankful that I found this site where people have this as severely as I do and understand how much effort it takes to simply get through a minute of the day.

anon128614
Post 32

I am 47 year old woman and I have fought with anxiety off and on most of life but I am strong and have always been able to work through it.

In recent years my anxiety has been well under control until just recently when I started a new position. My new position is with the same employer of six years but I am finding it overwhelming.

It's only my second week but I feel like I am barely keeping up. I am scared I may have bitten off more then I can chew. I am going to give it another couple of weeks but it the "light" doesn't come on soon I may have to reconsider my situation.

I keep telling myself that I have worked with this same employer for six years and up till now have had glowing reports so I can do this but I am not sure. I find I am still not remembering everything and I have noticed that whenever one of my new co-workers starts firing questions at me I start to go blank and then I feel pretty low.

I am so glad I came across this site it is very helpful to know you are not alone and that just because you may learn a little slower then others does not mean you are not intelligent. I am trying to practice my positive self talk but in the meantime it's good to know I am not alone.

ddb
Post 31

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling the same way. My self esteem has gone on a downward spiral ever since i started on my first job a little more than six months ago. my bosses kept me on after the first six months of probation, but they didn't make me a regular either because they said i was too careless, and i was slow in catching onto the concepts and knowledge needed for the job.

i always feel like i ask too many questions, and make too many mistakes. i also feel as if I'm bringing the whole team down. my bosses don't help because they keep meeting me for performance reviews, and confirming my worst fears - that I'm not stepping up to what the job requires. every day I'm at work, i feel overwhelmed, overworked, panicked, inadequate, slow, guilty.

It's terrible feeling this way every day. whenever i encounter something new, i panic and i make a lot of mistakes. it's as if i can't do anything right. it's gotten to the point that I'm just waiting for them to fire me.

anon120462
Post 30

I have been a nurse for five years now. I had terrible performance anxiety when I first started out. This stemmed from a negative experience I had with condescending classmates in nursing school. I hated work I quit jobs, I failed to advance. I decided to face my demons. I got out of bed daily went to work anxious until my anxiety gradually started to disappear. And because of the bad economy I have had no choice but to stick it out.

I am to the point of thinking of advancing and have started to work on my resume which is not so great, but I do want better pay and benefits as i am totally selling myself short right now.

Now that I'm planning to change jobs am getting a little anxious again and just staying positive that I cud do it. My advice everyone just stick it out. Don't run. I will slowly desensitize myself and reduce my anxiety.

anon112261
Post 29

I feel better that I have read everyone's story. I now know that I too have performance anxiety. I am 51 years old. I quit jobs in 1 month if i don't learn all that is need to know. i have been on meds for anxiety for years but i still suffer.

I know I'm a smart person and I should be a professional. The problem is I could never excel in school and now i still can't hold down a job. It's very depressing. I feel so inadequate. It's a horrible feeling. I need to work for financial reasons and I can't even hold down a PT job. What are you supposed to do?

anon107530
Post 28

I am so happy I found this site. I thought and still think there is something terribly wrong with me. I suffer from anxiety and depression and seem to not be able to hold down a stable job.

Any job I hold that requires me to handle too much responsibility, I begin to freak out. My anxiety becomes so bad that I have a hard time listening to my supervisors while being trained, I become sick at my stomach before entering work, I become depressed because I feel like I'm going to fail at my job.

I know I am a smart person but it seems like my anxiety takes over my life. I don't have money to seek professional help, and my friends and family don't understand me when I try to explain my condition to them.

I really feel all alone and at times suicidal. I'm 24 years old and fear I will never be able to hold down a stable job because of my anxiety. I want to have a long lasting career. I just graduated college last December and I have already quit three jobs in the last year because of my anxiety.

I'd rather be jobless than to be seen as the joke or the failure of the company I work for. It always seems like I stick out like a sore thumb to my supervisors and employees because I'm constantly not grasping concepts at my work. I'm always asking for assistance because my anxiety won't allow me to comprehend my work. I really need help! any suggestions?

anon105725
Post 27

I would be happy to live like God intended us to - live on a piece of land that is ours, no rent to pay, grow our own vegetables, etc., and have life simple like it was meant to be! But, i realise the reality of work life does give me that dread feeling. It creeps me out. It’s like jobs give me this dark cloud over my head or like it feels like it has trapped me or has power over me -- like the freedom is gone and I’m a slave to another human who has control over my wealth. That is what i hate, plus other things, like i believe i may have a mild learning disability, apparently diagnosed when i was 9 - auditory processing problem? that’s when it is hard to take in information and understand it in the way it is meant to be understood.

I find I’m like that ‘train’ that works its way up the hill very slowly, but once it gets to the peak it is fine and speeds up. I hate the whole learning process of a new job because i don’t think i always learn quickly enough and i feel very panicky when it is noticed i don’t ‘understand’ something. The whole ‘slow learner’ thing is apparently a sin in the working world. I just fear the work environment because of the lack of compassion in dealing with the people above you in your job.

I cannot think or learn properly when i have a worker getting frustrated at me clearly by the tone of their voice because i did not ‘get’ it the first time. But i have had enough of nasty people telling me i’m not good enough and i’ve had enough of quitting because of other colleagues being bullies. The jobs i have quit have mainly been because of nasty catty women or because i freaked out that i ‘hit a wall’ and couldn’t understand something properly and found i couldn’t overcome something in my job.

Now i started this telemarketing job for the money, really until i can find something better. If we don’t get enough customers over the phone to make appointments during a week it could mean no job. I hate that pressure of always worrying that if i can’t convince this human being to consider business over the phone that it’s apparently my fault. I feel very angry about this, that they treat us like their little slaves who try to dangle a carrot for a potential buying customer just so they can add more money to their big fat money tree.

I noticed though, i feel I’m not willing to let any rude people step over me in the workplace. Remember they have no right to be impatient, no right to bully you or belittle you. If they think they have the right to treat you like crap then you have the right to stand up for yourself and say they have no right to treat you like crap. You should not be fired for sticking up for yourself. Usually if you show that you will not be a doormat they wont treat you like one.

Sadly, human beings are not the nicest creatures. Being nice doesn’t mean you should be a doormat. There are so many work factors that creep me out. Feels like i’m working in hell. But i’m trying to always, always remember that i’m only doing this job until a better job comes along and that thought keeps me going. It’s a job to make ends meet.

The employer is using us and we are using them. We just have to be brave and put ourselves in God’s power. We can overcome these dark, scary fears of work. We all have different reasons for having work cripple the light inside of us, that happiness that makes us feel warm and safe.

Whether it’s a learning disability that may even seem almost not recognisable that a colleague just ‘writes’ you off as being dumb, whether it’s a nasty bully colleague or boss, or yes the fear of not performing. All those reasons affect me. I’m not the quickest learner and I’ve just decided, i will do my best and not be sorry for it. Ask for strength from God and know you deserve respect.

Work to live. Your job is to benefit you, not the employer. Find a way to make it benefit you. Not all bosses are worthy of our respect. Anyway, i have to work tomorrow, and i’m sick of feeling that if i can’t get an appointment - they act weird towards me and if i get an appointment, my supervisors love me. Really pisses me off. I hate these sales jobs. they are treating us like little trained eagles that fly out to get their meal and if we come back empty handed we get punished? ha!

Remember, they are at fault, not you. Have pride that you are a good person and that you have good work ethics. We want a job for happiness not for making money at the expense of other human being’s happiness. It takes time, takes time to know how to let all this work crap be ‘water off a duck’s back’. I went to bed the other night thinking how work was scaring me ‘ i said to myself out loud ‘I’m scared’ and i acknowledge it then i just ignored it. I pray to God to for help, to give me strength and to not let ‘work’ over take my soul, my mind and my body like some impostor creature. Remember the sun shines every day, the birds still chirp.

anon104296
Post 26

I literally woke up this morning before my alarm went off on my phone because of anxiety.

My stomach was bothering me because I fear any challenges I might face at work. I find my mind racing with negative thoughts that I cannot calm my nerves down from. I am so grateful and saddened that I am not alone in this battle with anxiety.

Sadly, I feel that the anxiety takes over my life and I have forgotten the things I used to love to do. I am in a highly stressful field where I work families in crisis. It stinks because there is pressure to get everything done and done well.

Well, maybe I add pressure to myself with the done well part. I have found that counseling has helped some, but I still wake up on days like this and toss and turn for that last half hour of sleep I need to be lucid.

I pray things get better. Good luck everyone.

anon93956
Post 25

I guess i must also have performance anxiety and i also thought i was alone as I've never met anyone who had any kind of similar stories! I always feel alone in this so I've kept it fairly to myself i guess for the most part. Other times I've tried speaking out to family or friends about it, but they didn't seem to get it and i always just ended up feeling pressured by them too.

I have anxiety in the mornings before going to work. I never want to get out of bed. I have quit so many jobs due to this sort of thing and recently started a decent job that i wanted to turn into a career, and am again thinking i just can't handle it!

I have my confident moments at work, then other moments where i think what the heck am i doing here. I get scared, and even though i know i can be driven, i just want to run away and leave it all behind.

anon91778
Post 24

The funny thing is, I'm such an extroverted person. socially, i am confident, love to be centre of attention and cracking jokes. i have a job where i have to attend a lot of meetings and come up with creative ideas - and i have loads i want to say in these meetings, but all i do is clam up. My heart starts to palpitate and i end up turning bright red! it's like i have a fear of going red, which triggers the anxiety.

I'll just be sitting there in a meeting - no pressure whatsoever, and i am as red as a tomato! And i can just sense everyone looking at me like "what the hell is wrong with her"! sometimes I'm ok and then there are times i know i have a meeting with important people - and for two hours before the meeting I'll have this awful anxious feeling in my stomach and my heart is racing!

None of my family or friends would ever imagine me to be like this. I went to a psychologist and after two sessions she said i was fine - i just have performance related anxiety - haha, oh really?

Any tips from fellow people who overthink things?

anon90405
Post 23

I am contemplating quitting a job I started two weeks ago, because it makes me physically sick when I think about going.

When I do manage to go to work, I am so on edge, I find it hard to communicate with others, and am so scared that I am going to mess up.

I know that my employer is happy with my performance, but I can't get rid of the anxiety I feel. My heart pounds so hard I think its going to jump out of my chest.

No job is worth being physically ill over, is it?

I wish I could stop this feeling because I know that I'm a smart person who is capable of a lot, but my anxiety constantly prevents me from a fulfilling life.

anon87305
Post 22

i am working in a retail store, which i quite enjoy, although i can't stop thinking that i am going to have an panic attack at work.

i also worry that if i feel panicky and need to go home i can't, and this is running my life and every day i am worried before work and even the whole of the weekend. i really hate feeling like this. please help.

anon87144
Post 21

I'm so happy to have found this site! I know exactly how you all feel!

I started a new job two months ago and I'm already feeling anxious each morning before going to work. Initially, everything seemed fine and I didn't feel this way at all, but as I'm given more responsibilities I seem to succumb to pressure and feel as though I'm not competent enough to handle the work I'm given.

Sometimes I'm asked to work at the reception desk which I completely loathe, but I'm afraid to tell my boss that I don't enjoy working there for fear of being fired.

I wish it were easier to be one's own boss, but that's idealistic thinking. I hope that one day we can all conquer this perpetual fear and no longer have to dread going to work. I know it's not something we can just snap out of tomorrow; it will take time to overcome.

anon83357
Post 20

It's great to hear so many people are experiencing the same anxiety that I am.

I am working in a high stress work environment in a printing company. I was a production manager and i felt directly responsible for every job that went wrong.

Recently i moved positions into a sales role and now I feel very inadequate. No matter how hard I try I cannot satisfy my own goals, although I am getting great feedback from both my customers and my bosses. I feel I'm not good enough and this is resulting in health problems for me (insomnia, arthritis, stomach pains).

I tried reading The Secret and the power of positive thinking, but to be honest, they don't relieve the anxiety; they nearly make matters worse. I've tried everything from EPA, exercise, diet, prayer, giving up smoking, etc. but nothing seems to work! Maybe it's just the way I'm made, I don't think I'm cut out for the pressure of modern life, but I'll keep working hard and hope this phase of my life passes. Please god.

anon80868
Post 19

I was fired three times within the last eight years. Despite that I got into an ivy league school and graduated thinking I can get a real job.

Four years later I am still working retail, because I can't seem to let go of my firings. I get such bad performance anxiety I can't enjoy life as much or let myself get out there to get that meaningful job.

The company I work for knows me as one who worries too much. This is just a retail job. I want to be able to get beyond my worries.

Life is too short, and I worry every single day, and am to the point of bawling in the stockroom if I get any kind of constructive criticism. I am afraid I am not good for anything. I need help.

anon80716
Post 18

Man, I am not alone. I am 33 in a career that is not hard, however it doesn't go much beyond what I do. I could sit here and soak up this mediocre pay for another 15 years or until the doors shut, but I have grown so tired of the same routine and co-workers.

About four years ago I went through a tough divorce and was able to stay positive and keep my "oh well" attitude. I continued to enjoy my kids, and found an amazing woman and remarried a couple years later.

About a year ago, something happened and I don't know what. I simply awoke with an awful fear and thought, do I really want to be doing what I do for the rest of my life? If I get laid off, where could I go, my job isn't abundant in my area and I could be faced with an hour long drive. Not to mention, I am tired of being stationary behind a computer all day every day.

I met an old friend who through his military funds was able to not work and return to school and became a teacher, and life for him seems great so I looked into it. Reality soon struck. I don't know if I can afford to do that with two kids at home, spend a year, spend $20,000, student teach for nothing for three months, then pray I find a job?

Who can do that when all the responsibility financially is on my shoulders? My wife works and has a good job, but if I am not working, we lose a lot.

I feel ashamed that I am 33 and as clueless now as I was at 18. It's gotten to the point that all I can do is talk about my job and finding another career, as well as contemplating teaching like I have for over a year now.

It has completely consumed me and my wife is not happy about it. I don't feel depressed, only extreme pressure regarding my career. Actually, I don't want a career -- I want a job. I want to punch in and out for 40 hours a week (preferably 4-10's!) and go home to my kids.

Seems simple right?

anon73842
Post 16

I struggle incessantly with job performance anxiety. I am in the nursing profession and have been doing this for more than 12 years. I have been in my current job for five years now.

My previous job was high stress and expectation. I felt inadequate and untrained. The area of medicine I was working was completely unique to me. I made mistakes along the way and suffered terrible repercussions for them, even the seemingly minor mistakes were blown out of proportion.

My boss was impatient and mean and talked about me behind my back. I remember going home in tears most days, until I finally walked off the job. I had one of those straw that broke the camel's back experiences that lead to me quitting.

I went through a terrible recovery period in which I was filled with severe self doubt. Even today in my current job, I live in daily fear of repeating that experience. I have a demanding and fast paced job where I am given much responsibility.

I am grateful for my job and feel I do well. I just fear making mistakes and winding up where I was. I also feel like the dummy of the organization since I work side by side with a outgoing and bright individual who always seems to come up with all the great ideas.

Daily I feel pressure to perform well and a failure if I screw up in any way shape or form. I live with this constant fear that I would be the first to go if layoffs ever happen.

Is there hope for me? I can relate to everyone who posted at this website. I am glad not to be alone in this.

anon73610
Post 15

i thought i was the only one. i have a job that most people would never find stressful, most days, but i seem to stress over everything.

I'm always on edge and i constantly think about work when I'm not even at work. i stress about doing something wrong. i have such a serious anxiety about giving the customer the wrong amount of money/change and i recently changed jobs because i thought it was just that job that made me miserable.

I'm now finding out its just me! i don't know what to do. I've sorta tried to talk to my mom but i don't think she understands. i can't live like this!

anon61950
Post 14

My story sounds like the nursing story below. I've had a computer programming career for eight years but have had more than 10 jobs, most of which I quit or were just temporary contract jobs. My personal work expiration date is usually six months or less because of my job performance anxiety.

I quit one job after only two days, and it was my highest paying job ever. Sometimes I think that being paid too much money could be making me feel pressured and unworthy, as well.

Shortly after starting a new job, I feel like they expect too much from me, or at least I imagine it that way. Being a perfectionist, these are probably just the expectations I place on myself to overachieve.

Eventually I become overwhelmed by those expectations, and knowing that I cannot achieve them, that is when my body shuts down. Sometimes I get obsessed and work overtime to compensate or I give up and quit.

When I hit this wall, my mind gets so worked up that I feel like the world will come crashing down if I don’t perform! It is not a patient--it is just a computer--not life or death!

I know that in reality my employers really have much lower expectations and usually prefer lower quality work as long as it gets done. But, my irrational thoughts block me from allowing myself to chill out and take work a little less seriously.

It has progressively gotten worse and is now to the point that I have serious insomnia. I have barely had a full night of sleep over the last year (during which I've had three different jobs). At night, my mind keeps replaying negative thoughts: dread, fear and worry. Sometimes my heart is pounding so hard and I have trouble breathing. Then, in the mornings, I cry and whine and resist getting ready for work because I can't face another day.

The lack of sleep combined with anxiety end up interfering with my work, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I know I am highly skilled, smart and talented with my work. Yet, I feel inadequate, paranoid and fear being let go on a daily basis.

I used to have a life, hobbies, outside interests. But, over time I have become obsessed with work and how terrible I feel toward it. It is all I talk about and think about. My husband and family are getting concerned about me. I worry that there is something wrong with me. What will happen to me if I cannot get a grip and hold down the next job (I'm currently unemployed). I fear that I will just go crazy again and quit. I am even considering moving back home with my parents (at age 30) and curling up into a ball of shame. I just can't seem to snap myself out of it.

I have thought about changing careers. Something with less drama, corporate politics, insane client demands, impossible deadlines, fierce competition, threats of layoffs, keeping up with technology, writing meaningless computer code. Maybe something like administrative assistant or teacher. But, all careers can be stressful and demanding. Anytime I get serious about switching, I realize that my attitude will follow me. Whether I was sweeping floors or mailing envelopes, wouldn't I still feel this imaginary pressure to perform my job well?

anon60176
Post 13

Thank God it's not just me.

I am a litigation attorney. I experience dread and fear everyday to the point of being paralyzed at work, especially in recent months. I don't like what I do, which may compound it, but my fear and dread permeate every other moment of my life.

I cannot keep up and it's not because I am stupid, it's that odd combination of boredom, fear and worthlessness I get when I think of my job. I hate letting people down and screwing things up because of this.

I know a career change must take place, but I want it to be on my own terms.

God bless all of you who are suffering like this. I know how you feel. We can recover together, I know it.

Peace and love - AnonAtty

anon58736
Post 12

I recently graduated from a Culinary Arts program during which I became quite nervous about my abilities because I had no prior work experience, while most of my classmates had been working in kitchens for several years prior.

I felt inadequate and like a failure when I would score less on exams as I had always been a good student in high school.

Post graduation I had a couple of jobs all of which where I felt like my lack of experience was suited which ended up being poor jobs placement where I was abused and belittled. Now I'm almost terrified of working in an establishment where my training would actually be of use. I don't know what to do.

anon57144
Post 11

I have a learning disability and worked in a coffee house for the past year and a half. I must tell you that every day has been a hell for me since I started this job. My boss gave me very little training when I started and my co-workers really don't understand why I'm so slow.

The anxiety was horrible. I'm 33 years old and could not even hold down this job. What else could I do? Things got better for me when I got right with my higher power and came to realize that it won't be the end of the world if this job does not work out.

Today is my last day there and tomorrow I will start my new job, which seems like it's going to be a lot less stressful. Just remember everyone: you're not alone. Sometimes it takes giving our everyday struggles to a higher power of our choice.

Things changed for me when I stopped trying to control everything.

anon52623
Post 10

I can't say for sure that I've got performance anxiety but I have been fired from jobs numerous times and as I look at it, I can see that I am constantly very anxious at the job. As soon as I get back in the car to go home though, I can feel my body relax and I am "me" again, until the next day back at work. Ahat am I so nervous about? I wish I knew. I can handle the work (teacher), it's not that I don't fully comprehend my job duties. it's something else. I know that even if I was working part time at Burger King I would have this anxiety. it's a feeling of lurking danger somewhere - that I'm not safe. Damn!

anon48839
Post 9

I can totally relate to dawnan's experience. My anxiety seems to hinder my ability to learn things quickly. My anxiety jumps when I'm not understanding something right away, which just seems to make things worse. It makes me feel I'm stupid sometimes, even though I know that I am not. I had the same feelings of not being fully trained in my job and also have a fear of failure. I recognize now that it is my anxiety that is limiting my life. I really do wish there was a magic pill as one person posted, but alas it appears there is no quick fix. We must also struggle to overcome this demon. I wish you all the best in your struggles with this. God bless us all.

anon48226
Post 8

i also experience overwhelming flushes of anxiety. i work in customer service, and my job is to cater for the needs of gamblers. At times i am comfortable but the moment i am asked a question i can't answer, the anxiety takes over, and once i experience the anxiety, i can't calm down. Each day is like a constant anxiety attack hoping i can answer all queries concerned i may fail to answer all correctly.

anon48068
Post 7

Wow, I am not alone. I am a trial lawyer. I do pretty well at my job. Almost never lose a trial. But I get so worked up over one. I struggle to maintain control. The only way I can describe it is "dread." Every time I have a trial, I get sick to my stomach for weeks before. I do have high expectations from my employer which does not help. Sometimes, it takes me a minute or two to recover from a flooding feeling of doom. I literally cannot think. I am just stunned. Fortunately this does not happen to me during trial. Anyway, if someone had a magic pill, I would take it. I am working through Cognitive therapy techniques. I relate so much to those on this board. I understand exactly how it feels.

anon45263
Post 6

I, like Dawnan, took a very stressful job and had a terrible experience with it. I took a sales job and had sunch insurmountable fear, anxiety and panic that I quit after only three weeks. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. Now I just got another job in a much less stressful more collaborative environment. I am starting this week and have been having a lot of fear, anxiety and worry that it will happen again and I won't be able to hold down a job. I am so afraid to be a failure.

anon40626
Post 5

I have been a nurse for 8 years and have not been able to hold down a nursing job for more than a year. I have had over 10 jobs in my profession, hoping the next one would be less anxiety provoking. most jobs I start and as soon as orientation is over and I am on my own and have responsibility I get anxiety then I quit and get depressed. I am so afraid I am going to make a mistake and hurt someone, I am so afraid my boss will yell at me, I have poor self esteem. this anxiety is taking over my life and I can't even hold down a job. my most recent job was last week and I quit after one day. that morning my feelings of anxiety came on and I just couldn't go to work. it is so overwhelming. now I am unemployed and feel like I have no purpose in life. I love helping people but just can't be responsible for them. I am looking for a nursing desk job so I won't have patients to take care of, but no luck so far. I will be starting couseling again this week, so hopefully it will help. I don't know if I should just quit nursing and get a job that won't cause me anxiety. I am not sure. wish me luck.

anon39240
Post 4

I am experiencing heavy anxiety, waking up in the morning hours or cannot get to sleep at night because I am worried about my job performance. I feel like I need to have feedback all the time, however, I don't need feedback all the time. I keep remembering all the bad things and find it hard to focus on the positive. I feel nitpicked at work and am not sure if that is a perception or reality. The anxiety is making me nervous to the point I cannot communicate at work properly. I do not like this. Thanks for the article and now I know I am not the only one.

Vivo11
Post 3

I am so glad I finally found a support group or just be able to talk and air as I have had this problem for so many yrs. It gets to where I hate to even change jobs as it just takes me 'forever' to sink in the information and I expect myself to be able to learn everything about the new job in like a week or I am feeling overwhelmed and a failure and guilty for not knowing things..even to the point where I am afraid to ask questions. If I think I might have missed some of the training and I am asking repeat questions. I find myself worrying over the weekend over things I might have done wrong or made someone mad about in reference to my responsibilities...or if they are going to fire me any day. My husband gets so mad at me about this all, but I can't help it. In past jobs things happened and it seemed it took me "longer" to catch on and seems I was always in trouble for missing pieces of my job.

Does anyone feel like this too?

anon25681
Post 2

I also have a bad case of this anxiety. I'm in a sales position that I have wanted since I graduated from school many years ago, but I'm experiencing intense fear of being inadequate and failing. My performance reviews are great, and so are my sales numbers, but I attribute it to luck. This has been the worst year of my life. I am currently in therapy and plan to start meds. If that doesn't work, then I'll need to consider a job change. Most joy in my life is gone b/c of this condition, and I have had enough of missing out on happiness. No one should have to live like this.

dawnan
Post 1

I have this performance anxiety very bad. About a month ago I quit a job I really hated in the banking business. It was sooo stressful, I felt that I wasn't fully trained and my boss constantly was harassing me. I lasted 4 months but it was the worst 4 months of my life. Now I have started another job and I have such anxiety. Its not nearly as complicated of a job as the other, but I have such a fear of failure or maybe there is something wrong with me. Its taking me longer to catch on and I think this has a lot to do with my anxiety.

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