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Being me is exhausting sometimes.

By Bolletje · Jul 15, 2017 · ·
  1. Time for another update! I'm nearing the end of this internship, and nearing the end of my time as a student. This fall, I'll have my medical license. I can't wait for the moment I finally get to call myself a doctor. Things are looking up, I'm getting great performance reviews and I get tons of compliments on my knowledge and work ethos. So why am I not happy? Because Someone said Something.

    I told the head of the department how much I love working here, and how much I'd love to stay. I told him I'm planning on applying for a job the next time there's a vacancy and I wanted to know how to maximize my chances of being hired. It was a fruitful conversation. However, at the end of the conversation, he gave me a hint that I should think about giving a presentation on a subject of my choice to the department before I leave, to make myself more memorable. It's good advice. However, the only take-home message my brain decided on is this:

    You're not memorable

    Isn't it ridiculous how we can get tons of praise heaped on ourselves, but the minute someone says something that could possibly be construed as criticism, that's the only thing we focus on? I had this conversation a few days ago, and the comment festered in the back of my mind, until I had a mini breakdown yesterday. I cried because sometimes, I feel like no matter how good I am at my job, that is what it boils down to. I could be the smartest person in the room, but I'm too quiet, so I'm overlooked. It doesn't matter that I've been around these people 50 hours a week for the past three months, doesn't matter that my supervisors think I should be hired on the spot, apparently I need to make more waves so I won't be forgotten. I feel like in the end they'll probably hire someone less qualified, just because that person is better at socializing. Sometimes I'm surprised at how bitter I've become, over the years.

    And of course that's the point where I start blaming myself for not being more outgoing. I resent myself for all those lunch breaks where I sat at the table quietly because I didn't know when to enter the conversation or what to say. I feel ashamed for being too poor to go out for drinks or dinner with my coworkers when they invite me in an effort to include me. I resent myself for not being able to keep a conversation going with more than two people present. I really wish it didn't take me a few months to be able to relax around new people. And so on, and so on. It's funny how that little comment, which was only meant as helpful advice, sent me spiraling out of control and exposed my deepest insecurities, which I thought were well-buried but which were apparently lurking just under the surface.

    The good thing about generally being in a good place, mental health-wise, is that I can bounce back quickly now. I realize I'm dragging myself down in a spiral of negative thoughts and I have the tools to stop spiraling and snap out of it. I had a good cathartic cry, my boyfriend ruffled my hair and called me an idiot, and I sniffled and called him names. All is well again. Will I ever get rid of my nagging self-doubt? Highly unlikely. Will I ever be a social butterfly? Not unless I can drink on the job (which, no, not planning to :p ). I'm just hoping that, once I've secured a job and things quiet down, I can be a little more secure about myself too. And remember just how memorable I am.

    About Author

    Dr Bolletje MD (not my real name), 33-year old (my real age though). I'm a potato chip enthusiast, amateur writer, avid dancer, cat lady, music fanatic and plant kween.


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  1. Barbara2017Z
    Maybe that doc gives that suggestion to ALL the interns..? Anyway-"social butterfly" isn't always better. some people are memorable for being thoughtful, considerate, smart, generous, and kind. Some people like good listeners better than talkers. Good luck being a doctor. you'll do great!
      Bolletje, Maelstrom and Kirsty like this.
  2. Ambi
    I'm the same way! I am hyper-sensitive towards any kind of constructive critique (or just plain critique), I think it is from all of the effort and struggle I have put forth so far, then still getting that critique that then reminds me of some insecurity I have, something that is hard for me which I cannot change or get control of. I think it has far more to do what is going on internally within me than what the speaker was even trying to address!

    BUT.....I think this guy was being really helpful! Maybe this guy was just being observant that you are really valuable there, but not the most social. That's okay though, since you know your stuff - so your opportunity to shine *instead* would be through the presentation - perhaps he senses that that is the way you can be more memorable, rather than going the social route.

    Welll, everything I've stated here is probably really obvious, but I just had to say it anyway! yes, it sucks that we have these weaknesses (the social part), but the good thing is we also have these added strengths (the presentation part). Perhaps he sensed that you might be able to really speak and engage with people better if you were talking about something you were interested in - then they could remember you for your expertise and usefulness for the team rather than just another drinking buddy.

    I think it makes perfect sense you would have a cry about it - you are stretching yourself out there very far - it's got to be an emotionally challenging experience! :)
      Maelstrom and Bolletje like this.
    1. Bolletje
      I agree, it was good advice without any malicious intent. My self-doubt is the enemy here.
      Maelstrom and David1970 like this.
  3. Kirsty
    Oh sweetie, you think the same as me. I relate to everything you've said. I'm not bitter, but gotten better by realising everyone is somewhat selfish and that we as aspies are perceived to be not good enough to society. I've learned that no matter how hard I perform at work they try to bring me down. Even after being offered a promotion in future, I won't take it because I know that people will not appreciate my efforts anyway. I think they only said this because they believe I can do it, but it doesn't mean that I should or want to. I just want to tell you that you're enough. We all are, and you don't have to make yourself more memorable to appear better. You are memorable in your own way and if people don't accept that, they're not worth trying to please.
      Bolletje and Maelstrom like this.
  4. Maelstrom
    I think he just wanted to help you maximize your chances of getting the job...maybe you are over thinking it?... @Bolletje ...just go ahead and give it a try! :)
      Bolletje likes this.
    1. Bolletje
      Yeah I have a tendency of massively overthinking, I'm absolutely sure the man was just being helpful.
      Maelstrom likes this.
  5. Katleya
    But wait... if he said you could do the presentation to make yourself more memorable, doesn't that mean that you're memorable already?
      Maelstrom likes this.
    1. Bolletje
      Hah, fair point!
    2. Katleya
      The perks of being a nit-picker: the life story of Katleya. Glad it was of use!
      Bolletje likes this.