I have a fear of rejection.
I am definitely a people pleaser. I want to make sure people have a good opinion of me, therefore I will do what the majority says, even if it’s against my instincts, or against company policy. I often want to go with the flow, not against the grain.
That has definitely hurt my career. I didn’t have a backbone. I didn’t stand up for myself, and sometimes I was drowning in work. I would rather have people like me than ask for help. Sometimes, I would stay 2-3 hours past closing just to catch up, so the next crew wouldn’t have a hard time. I would take on more overtime shifts, even though my body would be SCREAMING for rest, to look like I’m a team player. I have followed bad managers and technicians, because I thought they were wiser and more experienced; sometimes I went against company policy because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
What became of my decisions? If I didn’t rest, I made more mistakes, potentially killing the patients. If I went against company policy, I would be thrown under the bus and punished, because it was ME that knowingly went against company policy, despite everyone else doing it. If I stayed late to help the next crew, I was never appreciated for my hard work; sometimes I was criticized for taking too long to do my work. I was called during my time off because the supervisor or technicians just assumed that I would come in and work, despite my personal plans. In every situation, I didn’t advance in my career, and I sacrificed a lot of time and effort to colleagues and employers that just didn’t care what I did for them.
I would like to say that I grew a pair and started to stand up for myself, but the truth is, I am still very much a people pleaser. My fear of rejection is still real, and it does affect my pharmacy career, as well as personal relationships. I wish I had a better game plan on how to stand up for myself, without making anyone mad, but in all honesty, that is just not possible. I know I will go crazy if I try to please everybody; in my mind, I do know this, but I still try to please everybody. There are times that I still stay late to help either the current staff so they can get out earlier, or to help whoever I am covering for. I have taken on more projects that my area managers have given me that are outside my generic job description. I keep telling myself that I am passionate about the projects, and I’m not sacrificing a lot of my personal time and effort; plus, I will gain some valuable skills that eventually will help me in the future, both personally and professionally. I do buy lunches and treats for the technicians that I work with, as it is not easy to work with a coverage pharmacist. I tell them it’s to thank them for their hard work, but in reality, I do it so they will like me more.
I have learned a few tricks, though. I have learned NOT to go against company policy, just because “we’ve always done it this way.” The potential risk, especially to the patient, is just not worth it. I have also learned to listen to my instincts. If someone tells me to do something that just feels wrong, no matter if it is a manager, or a technician who has been there a really long time, I will not do it. Yes, I do get in trouble initially, but more often than not, my instinct was right. When in doubt, I have learned to ask someone I trust for a second opinion before making a choice. No one is weak by asking for help.
I still have a very real fear of rejection. I have started to take the steps to manage it. I hope that eventually, this fear will stop killing my career and other life endeavors.