Agony Aunt: I cannot speak up. I am very bad at initiating a conversation

Matter of confidence

I feel very under-confident at work. Even though I have a good answer or a legit doubt I cannot speak up. I am very bad at initiating a conversation and I fumble when people come up to me, even if it is for small talk. I am afraid I have been labelled as the office weirdo. I feel very bad for myself and even after several tries I just cannot come out of my comfort zone. I think this is affecting my chances of getting promoted too because I am not good at presentations. How can I suddenly transform myself?

Firstly, the idea to suddenly transform yourself could possibly be hindering the gradual progress that you could be making towards the said transformation. Attending a couple of sessions with a professional who can help you identify the trigger points for your anxiety could be a good start as you can also develop mechanism to help deal with the triggers. Learning communication skills could help make substantial amount of change in how you interact with others. Taking baby steps by moving out of your comfort zone gradually also helps immensely in building up a coping mechanism against difficult life situations.

Victim of humiliation

I do not get along with my head. She is always throwing attitude, humiliating me and condemning my work. I have taken this to the authorities but they have not been very helpful. She has not improved one bit and is passing mean comments on me and my work at every opportunity she gets. Everyone else in the office can see that I am working hard and doing a good job. I just have to work here for 7 more weeks, but I feel very de-motivated and unhappy going to work. I feel I can take suffering for these few weeks to get my certificate, I don’t know if it is worth it.

We all have our threshold levels that determine how much stress we can handle in a given situation. You are nearing the end of that threshold level which is leading to so many thoughts about the job. Respect is an important element at any organisation and if you are realising that you have to compromise respect for the certificate, look into the pros and cons. Also, assertively confronting your head and making her aware of your feelings is also necessary. As this will help you look at the situation wherein you are taking necessary actions towards helping yourself.

Brimming with boredom

I work in a stock market analysis firm since 2015. For the last few months I am experiencing boredom at work as the market is very slow and the work is on an overall slump. I am unable to get myself to reach work every day as all I do is browse through phone or surf internet. I feel my potential is under-utilised and my motivation to even finish day to day tasks s lowering rapidly. What can I do?

Your work is displaying certain reality here which is probably why boredom is setting in followed up by the lack of enthusiasm towards work. Since you are feeling that work isn’t allowing you to utilise your capacity to the fullest, you can probably look for alternatives that would have better prospects and better work. Also, it is important to realise that if the market is experiencing slump there could probably be an overall similar trend in the market. You can always utilise the time in learning new skills that could help in your work advancement, once the situation changes.

An artist’s agony

Mumbai has been my home for the last three years as I shifted here to become an actor. I have a background in theatre and was quite confident in my skill. Lately, I have been feeling quite under confident as I have been unemployed for the past few months and the struggle is now getting to me. I acted in a web series and received good fame but that’s where it ended. I am not sure what more to do here.

The profession that you are in has its own set of challenges which at times might get difficult to handle. I believe you are going through that difficult phase of waiting around for your next job. Uncertainty of projects is a reality of the acting profession. If you are passionate about acting and would want to continue this, then understand each career has its own ups and downs. Finding a new project would be difficult and frustrating at the same time but in your line of profession there hardly seems to be an alternative. You are probably doing everything your capacity at the moment and because of the uncertainty, it could be leading to doubting your efforts.

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