[Warning: this post is going to be a whine. I am blogging this because it's too long for Facebook and I want a reminder of the first part of the post. I am disabling comments because, while reassurance is always lovely, I need to figure out how to fix this problem for myself.]
I've been working on resumes and cover letters. Yesterday, I gave up on trying to figure out what to say about myself (how does one say nice things about oneself? enquiring minds want to know) and reviewed my LinkedIn recommendations for ideas.
Those were pretty good and included phrases like "Pat is an absolute delight! I would hire her again in a heartbeat," "Patricia distinguished herself, combining stolid (sic) performance with an eye for process improvements and well-timed suggestions for enhancing efficiency of the smallest office duties through large scale project conclusions," "You can count on Patricia for an excellent job well done no matter what is thrown at her, and always done on time and within budget,” "Her intelligent, effective contributions would be a boon to any organization, and I recommend her very highly," and so on.
Part of this is the nature of LinkedIn. People only get good reviews -- they only ask recommendations from people they know will say nice things, and only disclose those that say how wonderful they are. Still, I think mine are pretty good, and they were obtained from people who would refuse to write a review rather than lie. I did not have to hide a single recommendation.
Edited to add: A friend of mine emailed me to say that she has some ambiguous recommendations to weed out jobs she's pretty sure she'll hate. One of them says that she would make a perfect second wife.
I used some of them in my cover letter, and in the process got to feeling pretty upbeat. I'm not half-bad at things. I'm smart. I work hard. I problem solve. I am a "team player" who can work with just about anyone.* I write well. With that wind in my sails, I was able to urge the company I was writing to to hire me for a job which is well within my capabilities; according to the Rocket Scientist, beneath me (then again, he's really biased).
Today, I had to turn my attention to other things. And my brain revolted.
It spent all day reliving moments that I really screwed up. What I had done that hurt other people. How my own stupidity had hurt me. How I had made choices which, while they seemed like the best option at the time, left me with an uncertain future. How I had not looked long-term enough when making life decisions. How I had failed to live up to expectations. How I had lost people through my own idiocy. It's almost as though I am incapable of feeling good about myself for any length of time without outside assistance.
I hate feeling this way. Maybe I should just reread the recommendations every day. Of course, while that will reassure me as to my worth as an employee, it doesn't say all that much about me as a human being, other than I play well with others.
Insecurities 'r' us.
*That's pretty much true: at PAL I was known for working with the most difficult members with tact and grace. Of course, the knowledge that quickly percolated through the cabal of the most crazy members that I was a Stanford-trained attorney (I didn't mention the "haven't practiced in many, many years" bit to them) probably didn't hurt my reputation. Once they found that out, they were actively nice to me while they could be snarling dogs to everyone else.