Hello. All my life I feel as if I’ve always been behind in some regard. In school, I struggled immensely with keeping up my grades and staying on top of school work. In high school and middle school, I had more of an excuse because I was working through very bad anxiety, depression and OCD. However in elementary school I couldn’t have been happier. I come from a very loving family who would do anything for me and I feel like I’m letting them down all the time. Last winter I got my first Job working at a gas station and It was actually not too bad. I managed the till pretty well along with most of the other tasks that were assigned to me but I was slow with certain tasks that involved basic maths (though I’ve since improved dramatically thanks to my math courses I’ve been taking). However after a couple of months I messed up and got fired. I accidentally put oil into someone’s power steering fluid. It was bad enough I got fired, but to make matters worse it was so embarrassing. I was the only person in the history of the COMPANY to do that. Well anyway, time went on and I focused on school but I decided to try again, this time I got a job at Mcdonalds and this is where I realized I need help. I was struggling to keep up with everything! It was a very chaotic environment yet everyone knew what to do and how to do it, but for me I was lost 70% of the time. I quit after the third shift primarily because the girl I like worked there and she kept watching me make a fool of myself. My parents said that getting fired from a fast food place wasn’t that bad and some people struggle to work in those conditions but I just feel stupid. Even after training I was confused which lead me to feel panicked and anxious. I really value education and intelligence but it’s hard to when I’m so dumb. I want to get my Degree in Computer Science and I think I can do it but maybe that’s me being too optimistic. I want to be a capable asset to a company but how? Thank you to whomever reads and replies. (age 20, Canada)
First of all, stop thinking of and referring to yourself as dumb! We all have different strengths and weaknesses and part of our ability to succeed is finding the environment which matches our skills. Even though your mistake at the first job was costly, it was still just a mistake and we all make them. And not everyone is cut out to work at a fast paced environment such as McDonald’s. I’m sure you would have eventually mastered the tasks and become more comfortable if you had stuck with it, especially without the extra pressure of trying to learn in front of someone you liked.
I think you need to just keep trying and building life experience. Mistakes can lead to wisdom and competence, and ultimately to confidence. However, since you have always struggled in school, I would recommend meeting with a psychologist trained in intelligence testing and cognitive processing issues for an evaluation. It might also be helpful to take aptitude tests and career assessments so that you feel more comfortable pursuing your career goals. Depending on the results, you can then decide if you need a tutor, a career coach, biofeedback or some other type of service that will help you feel more successful.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts