I love my job but I feel horribly out of my depth. How do I keep my head above water?

Dear Aunty B,

Our company has just been through a major restructure with thousands of retrenchments.

At first I felt I was one of the lucky ones because I kept my job. But now we are still expected to do the same high quality work with the same professionalism but with far fewer people.

I can cope with that even though it means I am working so much harder than I ever was. My problem is that I am now in a position that I don’t feel qualified to do. I feel really out of my depth and am worried about stuffing up.

I feel really proud of myself for getting here and some days I actually love it. But the stress is killing me and I am not sure I can continue.

Any ideas as I would love to stay on,



Dear Any ideas,

Good on you for looking at the future and seeing yourself in it. Now you have my admiration, because I don’t think I have ever felt really qualified to do any job in my life except maybe waitressing.

I have always felt completely out of my comfort zone, at least for the past seven years and often before that. And when I was in my comfort zone? How boring was that! And who doesn’t worry about stuffing up! Who feels like they are operating within their depth? Here are some tips for coping better.

Work out exactly which functions are stressing you. Analyse why. Then look around. Someone might be able to take on that part of the job. Or you can delegate it out. Or you can get special advice on how to do it from someone else in the company. Or you could receive some training on how to do it better.

Work out which functions you love. Keep those and then hive off unpleasant functions to your staff.

Make sure you are properly delegating. Do the sleep test: If you are awake at night worried about things your staff should be worried about while they sleep like babies, then you are not delegating properly.

Talk and read about similar situations outside your company. Get together with smart business people (mentors are great) and ask them how they do similar things. Read case studies on successful companies – and read why companies get into trouble.

Make a plan for yourself. It includes two things: areas you need to learn about to improve your skills and make your work life better; and how you get from this stage to the next. And, yep, that means moving outside your comfort zone again. And you know what? The more you move outside it, the easier it gets.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

Email your questions, problems and issues to auntyb@smartcompany.com.au right now!


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