The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female public servant in my 20s who feels my abilities are not good enough to work in the department to which I’ve been assigned. It’s also tough to get along with some colleagues there. I feel stressed out every day.
I’m not good at my work compared to my colleagues and I often make mistakes. I try to be extra careful, but eventually I make another. I’m miserable.
The department head always uses abusive language to order me around. When I made a mistake one time, I was told, “A young and carefree girl like you probably can’t figure this out.” A colleague in another department also has sarcastic comments about my mistakes at work. Whenever I’m at work, I’m always on pins and needles wondering when the next barrage of verbal abuse will happen.
I can’t be optimistic about all this no matter how hard I try. I really want to run away from my profession and the relationships at my workplace. I’ve even considered leaving my occupation altogether. But my husband, also a public servant, told me I should persevere, saying the hardships shouldn’t last too long.
He makes some sense, as public servants are often transferred. However, I’m so stressed out that I’ve lost weight. What should I do?
J, Hyogo Prefecture
Dear Ms. J:
You feel you’re in a tough spot because your work is hard and your relationship with your boss is contentious. But let me tell you something: I think you’re being too hard on yourself.
You passed the test to work as a public servant, meaning you must be capable enough to perform the duties of your profession.
You feel miserable about making mistakes, but everybody makes mistakes.
Your letter doesn’t sound to me like you’ve made serious errors, so I feel you’ve unnecessarily thought too much that you somehow lack the know-how to perform your duties. Don’t bind yourself to your own misperception. Have more confidence in yourself.
Also, the way in which your boss has given you instructions and this person’s behavior toward you can be categorized as power harassment or sexual harassment. I suggest you go to a consultation office in the personnel department of your workplace, or seek advice from an outside organization on how to resolve this issue.
Never consider leaving your occupation altogether. Instead, you should focus on cooperating with supportive colleagues to constructively improve your work environment.
To reiterate: Try to stop taking things to heart and give yourself a break. Also, try to find ways to relax and steadily complete one task at a time. Doing that will help you get feel more comfortable in your workplace and duties.
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer