Problem at work

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi. I have been suffering frome GAD and depression two years ago. I have been working as a librarian since last April in Nantes, France. I am originally from Quebec. So I got hired in March and moved in at the end of April. Last Thursday, the head librarian complained to me, in a clear and consistant manner the following : Your presence do not bring anything to me and to the librarian team. You lack rigourness. You are not the professional I am looking for. I don’t want you to work for us anymore. I replied almost nothing but asked her to give me precise examples of what I did wrong. She replied that I missed the boat on 2 operations that are common to library work.

Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the Head librarian and the HR manager. I thought that I could say the following and I feel the need to validate it since this situation is overwhelming for me. You are right. I lack rigourness (disarming) I am an absentminded person and this affects my work. I acknowledge the fact that this part of me makes you believe that I am untrustworthy. You feel dissatisfied by my work and the situation. (empathy). You mentioned that I missed the boat on 2 things ( paraphrasing what she said ). I also gave presentation to students and according to me it went well, what to you think ? (inquiry) I feel put down and diappointed to have moved so far with no result at the end. I know that this meeting will probably not change the fact that she wants to fire me since she was very clear about it. What do you thing I should say ? Is what I wrote above appropriate? Thanks a lot

A. Even if what she is saying about you is true (which may be debatable), the answer that you are ready to give reaffirms what she already believes about you. You do not want to highlight your potential shortcomings. Even if you made a mistake, in her judgment, you want to let her know that you are willing to do what is necessary to correct your mistakes. Express to her that you have the potential to be a great librarian.

You can say something like this: “I really enjoy my work here at the library and I am happy to be here. I recognize that I am fortunate for this opportunity. I understand that you have been unsatisfied with my performance in several specific situations. I appreciate you taking the time to point out these mistakes to me so that I may immediately work to remedy them. I feel that I can make the changes that you have suggested. And if I struggle, would you be willing to assist/direct me on how to do a better job because I am truly eager to learn?”

During your meeting, you want to convey the message that you are dedicated to your job and that are willing to work to improve your performance. What you have to say may not stop her from firing you (she may have already made up her mind) but do what you can to represent yourself as someone who is grateful, respectful and deserving of a second chance. Lastly, if it is your GAD and depression that is causing you to have problems at work, I strongly suggest that you seek help for these issues. I hope that you can save your job.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Sep 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). Problem at work. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/09/10/problem-at-work/