Conquering The Public Fear
Posted on April 18, 2012
I’ve been at this current job for about 6 months now. 6 months ago, I was laid off from a job that I held for 6 years. It was a comfortable position. I knew the company and its processes well, I am acquainted with most of the people. I think my customers love me and I feel my team respects me. There were bittersweet moments in that job of course but overall, the pros of being in that position outweighed the cons. I would be too lazy to move to a new job at a new company and disrupt that equilibrium.
Or so I thought.
But it wasn’t really for me to decide, is it? A declining market share played its hand and overnight, I was thrust with a retrenchment package and left out there in the throes of job seekers, a predicament that left me clueless and scared because I had been out of touch for the last 6 years. And I wasn’t the only one. There were 140 of us with similar skill sets and competition is stiff. I fervently tried to look for jobs, revamped my resume at least three times in two weeks in the hope that some recruiter would take a second look at it.
I thought about looking for a different kind of job or one that would be different from what I had done all these years but the truth is … I couldn’t afford the luxury of browsing and contemplating my options. They were too limited and I had precious few to waste.
I only received one formal interview. Sure, I had calls but most of the calls came from recruitment agencies trying to field you into a category or they came from insurance companies. I was getting discouraged but I guessed I was lucky. I was a last minute contender for this job and I made it into the “Top Three”. Eventually I landed with the job. I am safe once again. Even luckier was the fact that this current job allows me to venture into a new job scope altogether even though the job title is the same. It threw me off my comfort zone and I was plainly going to be uncomfortable but I am not going down without a fight. Everything I didn’t know how to do, I still told them that I would do it and I could do it. Fast forward 6 months later, I am still not adept but I have broken many new grounds and made a few personal firsts.
I can’t do sales, I told everyone. But everyone in our organization sells, I was told. So I did, make my first sales-intended call to a prospect.
I can’t deal with difficult customers who already had a preconceived notion of how things are not going to turn around for them, I feel. But I did and had a face to face meeting with them. Now our relationship is cordial and if I work harder, I could change their opinion for the better.
I can’t network with strangers, it’s just not me, I mused. I still can’t do it but I am taking baby steps by thrusting my namecards into willing hands.
I can’t speak to a public audience. I would quiver and die. I did, of course, quiver but I survived and many people encouraged me and told me that I did a good job. That was a milestone. I felt that with more practice, I would be less nervous about the situation and in time to come, I could take it into stride.
I organized my first self-run event and I spoke to an audience of 50 for about 30 minutes. I am not ready to pat myself on the back and say “Well done!” but I acknowledged that the first foray is important and if you have move forth too recently, conquering an uncomfortable situation, you are not alone and let’s do it again together.